I just have tried my very first Welsh whiskey. Before I get the actual review of Penderyn Celt let me put a little background in. In the UK, the temperance movement gained strength and in 1823 a law was passed that more or less banned small scale stills. The last Welsh distillery went out of business in 1910. That was not quite the end though as many Welsh emigrees took their trade elsewhere and brands such as Jack Daniel and Evan Williams have strong Welsh roots.
Forward now to the 1990s, a group of friends in a pub decided to retry the trade and started up a new distillery in the village of Penderyn. Penderyn is up in the valleys in south Wales and right in the south part of Brecon Beacons National Park.
Since then, a variety of new Welsh distilleries that are coming on line (by law it is a minimum of three years aging to be able to be called whiskey). Now Penderyn is has some distinctly interesting stills called Faraday stills. If the name strikes you, yes, they were designed by a chemical engineer from Surrey University named Dr. David Faraday and yes, he is a descendant of the famous man of electrical fame.
The still he designed as a simple explanation is almost like that one found in petrochemical industry in which one can fractionate the distillate. It is capable of producing 92% alcohol by volume the highest strength of any malt.
Now Penderyn Celt is one of just several different lines of whiskey that the distillery produces. What attracted me to it, besides the great big Draig Goch (Red Dragon) boldy emblazoned on the front is that this whiskey is aged is casks from Isley Scotland. If you have read my review of Ardbeg whiskey, the malt and casks are fired with peat which lends a smokey flavour to the whiskey. In Penderyn Celt this also adds a slight smokey flavour but to me not as intense. This whiskey is a nice light amber coloured whiskey which is aged for six years in bourbon barrels then finished for a year in the peated barrels.
To me on the nose, it reveals a very warm apple with just a hint of smoke about like you would get with bread that has been toasted just right. Perhaps a bit of honey and I would say almost a citrus also to it.
On the palate again very nice with a warm apple taste, with hints of citrus and then an after tase of the smoke which again is very light but distinct. To me the smoke and the citrus is a fine after finish.
In the end, definitely if one is not used to peated whiskey it is an excellent introduction without the heavier peated flavour of the Scottish whiskies. A fine addition and I look forward to trying more of the Penderyn range and some of the newer Welsh whiskies as well. This Draig Goch whiskey has some bite but overall is wonderful interesting whiskey.