I've just come back from Ireland and we had amazing weather... for a change. We also got to visit a very special distillery: Waterford Distillery. This is high-tech, state of the art stuff with two beautiful stills from Islay at the heart of it. Very impressive. Haven't heard of it yet? I bet you've heard of Mark Reynier the former head of Bruichladdich though. You mightn't know them as they haven't released any whiskey to date but flippin hell have they been busy and trust me you will know them very soon. First off, the guys we met there were brilliant, so a big cheers to Eamonn and Padraig for taking such care and time out of their day for us. I don't really know how to start explaining what this distillery is up to because they are doing so much and are more or less resetting the Irish Whisky industry or maybe even bringing it back to its roots. We've all heard of the Irish Whiskey Renaissance but I think this might be the start of the Irish Whiskey Revolution (I know, it's a pity they're not from Cork, but nobody's perfect). Another thing you might not know are the names of Irish barley farmers but you will in a few years, believe me. While we were there we got to try 3 kinds of new make from three different farms and I can safely say it's the first time I've seen an example of terroir or micro climate in Irish whiskey. One of them was being distilled while we were there. All three tasted completely different. Completely different. They ranged from super farmyard tasting to almost being a whisky as we know it but without any maturation. There has been talk going around recently about introducing a new kind of un-aged whiskey category for Ireland, one where there is no minimum time in the barrel. When I first heard it I was sceptical. Then I tried the new make in Waterford: It's already good, very good in fact - imagine what a little time in a decent barrel would do? I tried something there that even 12 months in a good barrel would transform into something fabulous! Imagine if it were possible to already buy this, rather than waiting the arbitrary 3 years? Well that's just my 2 cents and I'm definitely not saying that Waterford are the ones trying to introduce this system, I'm just super excited to try the final product. If even 1 % of the attention to detail I saw makes it to the first bottling we're all in for a good show. One thing I can tell you is this: These guys know what they're doing, so form an orderly line and get ready for something special.
PS I'll be one of the first in that line by the way.
PPS: It's founded on the site of a historic brewery so we got to see that too! My dad came along too, I'm sure you can guess from the photos who he is.