Welsh Whisky, is it any good?

Penderyn, the only whisky distillery in Wales, only opened its doors in 2000. Before that the Welsh had dabbled, lets say, in  whisky production but their heritage for making fire-water is no where near as substantive as their Celtic cousins in Scotland or Ireland. So is Welsh whisky really any good or a pale imitation of the ‘real’ thing?

In in 1705 the Williams family of Pembrokshire owned a distillery in Wales before emigrating to the USA where they went on to help found the Kentucky Whisky industry. It took a further 300 years for Penderyn to come along and open another still in Wales, but was the wait worth it?

I was given a small bottle of Penderyn Single Malt Madeira Whisky at the recent Insider Made in the UK awards dinner but waited until I got home to give it a whirl. I do like a whisky but tend to go for heavily peated Islay whisky’s like Laphroigh or Ardbeg. The Penderyn is obviously nothing like any of these brands but on first tasting it went down quite nicely.

Full bodied would be the clichéd but accurate way to describe it, absolutely crammed with flavour – oh, and lot of heat. The taste is of crisp ginger, very fruity and super creamy. The whisky is said to have a Madeira finish. I am not sure that I got those flavours at all but I did like it.

Would I buy a bottle? I have to be honest and say I would not. It is just not my style of whisky. That being said I is not just a novelty whisky, as you might expect. I would certainly rate it much higher than a large percentage of Scottish offerings. I would say try it and judge for yourself.

If you want to know more here is the Penderyn story:

– James


  1. This is my regular Friday evening tipple; 3 different flavours of Whisky.
    Or if you prefer, they also still their own Welsh Vodka and Gin; both very quaffable !
    Scotland can go independent !!
    [ If you’re anti Welsh what about good English Spirits from http://www.chasedistillery.co.uk/ ]

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