GSN Review: Waterford Hearth Micro Cuvée Irish Whisky

Inspired by Bordeaux’s greatest chateaux, Waterford Distillery has applied the same methodology to create the ultimate in whisky flavor complexity, a genuine innovation for the spirits industry, called The Cuvée. 25 totally unique Waterford Single Farm Origin Whiskies, drawn from distinct terroirs of Southern Ireland, have been married together to create the ultimate layered, profound and compelling tasting experience.

Each Single Farm Origin – an individual Waterford Single Malt Whisky in its own right – is made exclusively from Irish-grown barley, harvested, malted and distilled separately for complete flavor integrity. While the distillery has revelled in such individuality, it is only when there is a fusion of individual terroirs that Waterford Whisky can fulfil its ambitions to create the ultimate single malt whisky. To create The Cuvée, Head Distiller Ned Gahan layered together 25 individually distilled Single Farm Origins, drawn from a combination of premium American and French oak barrels.

“Coming from a wine background I have always been intrigued by how the very greatest Bordeaux wines were made,” says Founder and CEO Mark Reynier. “Rather than generically bundling up their grapes into a single wine they went to the effort of making several individual wines instead, each one expressing a terroir-derived personality of its own. Only after months of maturation are these component wines assembled – each bringing its own flavour character – to make a single profound wine of greater complexity, the Grand Vin. Why not with whisky? This is the vision seven years in the making, the essence of the Waterford project. Here the whole is even more than simply the sum of its parts: the result is our vision of how to create the most complex and profound single malt possible.”

The Cuvée is a culmination of Waterford’s Single Farm Origin Whiskies, each one defined by its own Irish-grown barley, each one distinctly different – all of them Waterford single malts. Waterford Whisky takes flavor so seriously that it starts not just with selecting the right grain, but by prioritizing where that grain was grown and harvested in Ireland. Waterford uses only barley; which has been shown by scientists to contain nearly 100 major flavor compounds. Waterford partners with dozens of farmers to grow the barley for its whiskies. Each farm’s harvest is carefully monitored in the field and at the distillery, where it’s malted, mashed, fermented, distilled, and matured as a single product—no mingling with another farm’s harvest. Every stage of the process is optimized to bring out the natural characteristics of the grain. The distinct flavors in the new-make spirit, before it’s aged into whisky, show remarkable differences from farm to farm. 

Hearth was blended by Head Distiller Ned using whiskies from their coastal warehouse at Ballygarran.

GSN’s Remarks: A rich and malty entry that expresses sweetness and roundness on the palate. Warming, slightly spicy and exquisitely flavorful, this is an Irish whisky that captures a playful aspect of the emerald isle. Wood, grain, water and time all play a part in this expression. As the falvor journey goes forward, different notes come to light. A bit of baking spice, softly tannic oak, chewy barley, baked pear, apple tart, blackberry and even cream. This is a great spirit to pair with a rich dessert or a creamy forward cheese. We continue to be impressed with the Waterford releases. The capture the independent spirit of Ireland. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Waterford Whisky


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