GSN Review: Waterford Peated: Ballybannon

Waterford Distillery, terroir-driven Irish whisky producer, has bottled the first modern Irish Peated whiskies in generations – Peated: Fenniscourt and Peated: Ballybannon, from barley grown on two distinct Single Farm Origins. The whiskies are two new expressions in Waterford Distillery’s Arcadian Farm Origins, which explore the old ways of farming and whisky.

The new single malt whiskies use both Irish peat and Irish-grown barley – the first distillery in generations to do so – as part of Waterford’s quest to unearth whisky’s most natural flavors and commitment to Irish-only ingredients.

This range – which include Ireland’s only Organic whisky known as Organic Gaia and the world’s first Biodynamic whisky known as Biodynamic Luna that reimagines the old ways of production in the pursuit of flavor intensity over yield imperatives.

The arrival of the new Irish peat bottlings, spearheaded by CEO Mark Reynier, has been in development since 2017, though kept a secret until this year. The approach included selecting two Single Farm Origin barleys – from distinctive terroirs – to see if the flavor profiles could stand up to the smokiness of peat.

In true Waterford Whisky style, the approach needed a radical approach to ensure its Irish provenance. Irish peat has been redundant in whisky production since the turn of the 20th century, which meant all knowledge of how to use Irish peat had passed out of memory. Therefore the project involved ambitious collaborators, as well as trial and error in sourcing the appropriate peat sources with the moisture levels appropriate for whisky production.

Waterford Distillery sourced small amounts of peat cut from Country Kildare, and worked alongside their established malting partner, Minch Malt. Because there was no infrastructure in Ireland capable of peating barley, Waterford Distillery needed to ship small amounts of Irish peat and Irish barley to Scotland, iconic home to peated malt whisky, for the kilning process to take place – before being shipped back to Waterford for distillation.

Providing drinkers with full product transparency and traceability is Waterford Whisky’s trademark. Through TEIREOIR CODE technology, available on each and every bottle, drinkers can follow how the barley was harvested, stored, malted, and distilled – guaranteeing the integrity of each Single Farm Origin.

Note: GSN was sent a bottle of Peated: Ballybannon for review

Peated: Ballybannon – Matured in a combination of 39% first-fill U.S. oak; 21% virgin U.S. oak; 21% Premium French oak; and 19% Vin Doux Naturel casks. Peating: 47 ppm. GSN’s Remarks: The nose is an evocative and intriguing mix of barley, smoke and a touch of fruit. Medium body, with a medium amount of peat. Contemplative and somewhat chewy, the effects are smoothed out with a splash of branch water or a large rock of ice. We are reminded of a gentle Speyside Scotch, but yet, the spirit is quite in the Irish mould. As with each Waterford release, we applaud their attention to detail and for bringing back the long lost Irish art of peated whiskey. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Waterford Whisky

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