Whisky- Penderyn– Aur Cymru
Type- Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Non Chill-Filtered, 46% ABV, no age statement, Madeira Barrel Finish, Bottle Code 11208
Appearance- the darker side of fino Sherry but leaning toward the light. Very clean with thin tears.
Aroma- What a gift from the Welsh! A strong presence of raisin and malt are first to bless the senses. Interwoven in the mixture are lovely spices which all but heighten the sweet flavors wanting to break through. As I take more time with this the raisin defies nature and regresses into lush fat green grapes. The vine then relaxes allowing sweet caramel/toffee to wrap itself around dried fruits and vanilla with an ever-so-slight hint of fig and at the very reaches cherry. Delicate and light, this is a gentle whisky that has just enough bite with the higher alcohol content to make one approach with a friendly caution.
Taste- Gentle spikes and tingles are first to great me which are attributed to the ABV. Giving my mouth a moment to adjust I take another drink and welcome the flavors. In the mouth this is a semi-dry whisky with lovely notes of grape and wood. The vanilla plays well with those and helps me experience a light and creamy mouth feel. While the wine flavors do not dominate they do make it a little harder to find the malted barley, but give it a little effort and those nice bread flavors are there. As I explore I am happy to find the caramel/toffee again but to a slightly lesser degree. I take my time with this and warm it in my hand. As it opens up even more I am happy to find some red apple and vanilla (again) making a play for attention.
With Water- Water helps the Sherry relax taking a step back giving way to some missing spices. Salt fleetingly makes an appearance and I am barely touched by some citrus. Nature returns to normal with the lush green grapes drying again and returning to raisins. The mouth feel becomes a bit more creamy.
Finish- Wine, grapes, and wood! They really make an impression on me and are the first to show their faces. As it sits and fills my palate Madeira casks fully express themselves. Intense and medium long the finish is laced with vanilla and quickly disappearing semi-tart red apples. The longer it sits I am reminded of some of the Sherry flavors experienced after eating a really good Chicken Marsala and I am satisfied!
As stated on their box “Aru Cymru” is “Welsh Gold” and do they have it right. A well-balanced and enjoyable drink, the masters at Penderyn have successfully married the grape and the grain in this whisky. I am happy to find all of the fruit mixed with barely and really enjoyed having the wine flavors play such a complimentary role. What I am not happy about is the limited availability! There are three expression of this whisky and while I lived in New York I was only able to find one and most have not heard of it in Virginia. Yes, on-line is the option for my current local, but knowing the distillery’s small production I am not hopeful seeing it soon in my local market any time soon. This is one to get and if you are able to find it, you wont be disappointed!