Waterford

The Waterford Distillery was created in 2015 by converting a former Guinness Brewery in Waterford, in the very south of Ireland. The distillery's founder Mark Reynier was formerly the mastermind behind the rebuilding of Islay Distillery Bruichladdich. The former Wine merchant approaches Whisky (spelled without an 'e', even if they come frome Ireland) production in a similar way to Wine production: He wants to capture the terroir, i.e. the origin-specific character of the grain, with his Whiskies.

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Information about the Distillery
31 Bottles
Ireland
-7.117563 52.332073
Active
8 t
2015
Mark Reynier
1,000,000 l
https://waterforddistillery.ie/
Average tasting notes Tasting notes
Calculated from 233 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Sweet:
Herbs:
Sweet:
Fruit:
Herbs:
Malt:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Malt:
Fruit:
Hay:
Hay:
Sherry:
Pear:
Pear:
Honey:
Heather:
Honey:
Heather:
Cake:
Zitrus:
Nuts:
Spices:
Almonds:
Almonds:
Cake:
Zitrus:
Peat Smoke:
Barley:
Barley:
Grape:
Grape:
Plum:
Berries:
Berries:
Plum:
Clove:
Floral:
Herb:
Vanilla:
Floral:
Caramel:
Sherry:
Vanilla:
Grass:
Grass:
Herb:
Maritime Notes:
Maritime Notes:
Peat Smoke:
Apple:
Apple:
Clove:
Orange:
Caramel:
Orange:
Pepper:
Seaweed:
Seaweed:
Banana:
Banana:
Mint:
Dark Chocolate:
Dark Chocolate:
Dried Fruit:
Mint:
Dried Fruit:
Lemon Peel:
Salt:
Coffee:
Spices:
Lemon Peel:
Coffee:
Salt:
Raisin:
Raisin:
Grapefruit:
Oak:
Oak:
Grapefruit:
Pepper:
Wheat:
Alcohol:
Cherry:
Cherry:
Wheat:
Leather:
Leather:
Alcohol:
Green Apple:
Green Apple:
Bonfire Smoke:
Bonfire Smoke:
Rye:
Lemon:
Fig:
Nuts:
Fig:
Lemon:
Rye:
Black Currant:
Nutmeg:
Walnut:
Iodine:
Black Currant:
Walnut:
Oil:
Nutmeg:
Peach:
Iodine:
Oil:
Peach:
Tasting
Spices:
Fruit:
Sweet:
Spices:
Sweet:
Pepper:
Zitrus:
Clove:
Pepper:
Clove:
Zitrus:
Fruit:
Chocolate:
Malt:
Chocolate:
Malt:
Grapefruit:
Grapefruit:
Cherry:
Herbs:
Cherry:
Herbs:
Honey:
Honey:
Peat Smoke:
Herb:
Apple:
Herb:
Apple:
Caramel:
Caramel:
Banana:
Banana:
Lemon Peel:
Lemon:
Cake:
Sherry:
Cake:
Nuts:
Dark Chocolate:
Pear:
Dark Chocolate:
Pear:
Bonfire Smoke:
Bonfire Smoke:
Sherry:
Orange:
Heather:
Orange:
Heather:
Lemon:
Chili:
Lemon Peel:
Oak:
Oak:
Anis:
Peat Smoke:
Maritime Notes:
Maritime Notes:
Ginger:
Ginger:
Plum:
Vanilla:
Chili:
Nuts:
Plum:
Vanilla:
Wheat:
Peach:
Wheat:
Grass:
Grass:
Peach:
Melon:
Almonds:
Cinnamon:
Oil:
Seaweed:
Oil:
Salt:
Seaweed:
Cinnamon:
Almonds:
Melon:
Salt:
Nutmeg:
Nutmeg:
Barley:
Barley:
Hay:
Rye:
Floral:
Alcohol:
Hay:
Green Apple:
Floral:
Alcohol:
Green Apple:
Rye:
Coffee:
Dried Fruit:
Berries:
Strawberry:
Strawberry:
Coffee:
Dried Fruit:
Berries:
Grape:
Mint:
Grape:
Tobacco:
Medicinal Smoke:
Iodine:
Date:
Medicinal Smoke:
Iodine:
Mint:
Fig:
Fig:
Date:
Tobacco:
Finish
Spices:
Spices:
Sweet:
Sweet:
Oak:
Oak:
Malt:
Malt:
Fruit:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Pepper:
Pepper:
Fruit:
Zitrus:
Zitrus:
Peat Smoke:
Sherry:
Nuts:
Herbs:
Clove:
Clove:
Peat Smoke:
Oil:
Oil:
Herbs:
Heather:
Heather:
Sherry:
Vanilla:
Dried Fruit:
Dried Fruit:
Vanilla:
Apple:
Salt:
Salt:
Maritime Notes:
Apple:
Herb:
Maritime Notes:
Herb:
Alcohol:
Alcohol:
Berries:
Caramel:
Barley:
Peach:
Pear:
Caramel:
Berries:
Barley:
Pear:
Peach:
Nuts:
Chili:
Tobacco:
Cake:
Cherry:
Almonds:
Chili:
Banana:
Cake:
Cherry:
Mint:
Ginger:
Coffee:
Ginger:
Coffee:
Orange:
Raisin:
Banana:
Orange:
Raisin:
Dark Chocolate:
Dark Chocolate:
Tobacco:
Green Apple:
Green Apple:
Mint:
Almonds:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

The philosophy at Waterford is to taste the origin of the raw grain in its finished Single Malts. For each bottling of the so called 'Single Farm Origins', the distillery uses only barley grown on a single farm. To achieve this, they work with 97 Irish farms that grow 19 different types of barley, and some of which are organic and some biodynamic. The 'distilled' harvest of the individual farms is bottled in small batches. Mark Reynier chose Ireland as location deliberately, since the Green Isle is known for its high-quality barley. With the grain the distillery produces over 40 different raw spirits. These are bottled and released in different editions after maturation. The distillery released the first two bottlings, Ballykilcavan 1.1 and Bannow Island 1.1, with barley from the respective farms of the same name, in 2020.

In addition to the Single Farm Origins, Waterford also produces a Cuvée in which 25 of these Origins are combined with each other.

Mark Reynier's distillery is not only treading old paths with the Single Farm principle. The choice of barley is also traditional, such as in the Arcadian Series bottling, which uses organic, biodynamic, heritage and peated barley.

The fact that Waterford does things a little differently than other Irish distilleries - for example, they use double instead of triple distillation - is also reflected in the spelling of their Whiskies. They revert to the old spelling without the 'e'. Another reason for this could be that they do not add sugar caramel (E150a) and therefore also omit the 'e' in the spelling of the spirits as an allusion.

The Production

Waterford uses groundwater filtered through volcanic rock to produce their Whisky. The water is pumped via three different wells on the distillery site. The distillery's output is around one million litres per year, but the distillery plant is designed to produce up to three million litres on two stills.

The Pot Stills

Initially, Waterford distilled on old stills from Allied Distillers. The pot stills were made by the still manufacturer Blair's for the Inverleven distillery back in 1968. However, Inverleven was never in operation, so the stills are still usable despite their age. After Inverleven was dismantled in 1991, the stills were temporarily stored at Bruichladdich for years and then installed at the Irish Waterford distillery in 2015.

In July 2021, the old stills were finally replaced by new ones. The shape of the steam-fired pot stills is straight with wide necks, and they have neither constrictions nor reflux balls. The Lyne arm slopes very slightly downwards. All these factors lead to little reflux, so that the flavour components in the alcohol do not separate so easily. As a result, the spicy and intense tones in the Whisky come out better. In order to still get a milder taste, Waterford runs the stills a little slower. Although the stills are shaped the same, the wash still, with 19,000 litres capacity, is slightly larger than the spirit still, with 11,000 litres.

The Maltings

The Whisky makers at Waterford are very transparent about the origin of their barley: they use 19 different types of barley, which are grown on 97 Irish farms - including six organic farms - and then harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately. This is how Waterford captures the taste, or rather the 'terroir', of different regions.

The harvested grain is brought by the farmers to Waterford's "cathedral". Here there are 28 separable compartments in which the grain from the different farms can be dried separately. This also allows for accurate traceability of the barley. Since production has been increased in the meantime, another "chapel" has been added and about 35 harvests can be accommodated. These do not always come from the same farms, although there are some that are already major suppliers. In total, Waterford has already sourced the grain from 107 different farms.

For Reynier, the founder of the distillery, the taste of the Whisky is not about the type of barley. Rather, its terroir is important, i.e. the totality of natural factors such as soil and climate that gives character to the Whisky. The distillery does not have its own malting floor but works together with the Irish malting house 'Minch Malt'. There, the non-smoky malt is produced separately for each batch.

The Mashing

The so-called 'Hydromill' grinds the grain under water, so the grinding is directly combined with the mashing: The disc mill is grinding the grain under water into fine grist, which already hydrates the starch and avoids oxidation. The Waterford Mash Tun comprises 8.5 tonnes of mash.

Fermenting

Waterford has four steel washbacks with a capacity of 100,000 litres. Per harvest from one farm, the washbacks are filled with 80,000 litres of mash and different types of yeast. Due to the size of the washbacks, it takes about 50 hours to remove the wash, which means that the fermentation time ranges between 120 and 170 hours. The result is a wash with 9-10% of alcohol strength.

Maturation

The Waterford distillery combines Whisky from a wide variety of cask types: Half of the casks are first-fill bourbon casks, the other half are distributed between fresh oak casks, French Wine casks and vin doux naturel sweet wine casks. Around 180 barrels are filled with New Make Spirit per batch (or barley harvest from a farm). In total, Waterford fills about 7,000 casks with Whisky every year.

For storage, the distillery has six warehouses filled with about 40,000 barrels and 3 more ready for new barrels.

The History

The Waterford site was originally a Guinness brewery built by Diageo in 2004. Mark Reynier bought the premises in 2014 and converted it into the Waterford distillery within a year. Reynier had previously revived the Islay distillery Bruichladdich in 2002, together with independent bottler Murray McDavid. When the distillery was to be taken over by Rémy Cointreau in 2012, Reynier voted against the adoption and left the company when the takeover was nevertheless announced. Mark Reynier is a former wine merchant who takes a similar approach to making Whiskey as he does to making Wine. He attaches importance to terroir and Wine cask maturation - as, by the way, Bruichladdich already did. After the shake-up the first spirit was flowing through the stills by 2016. The first two editions with barley from the two Irish farms Ballykilcavan and Bannow Island were released by Waterford in 2020.

The Visitor Centre

Waterford does not have a visitor centre, but you can make an appointment online to visit the distillery and book a 'Terroir Tour'. In addition to our distillery video above, you can also get a glimpse of the distillery on the Waterford website: Three webcams show what is going on in the still house, the warehouse and the outside of the distillery.

Visitor information

Waterford Distillery
Grattan Quay
Waterford City
Tel: +353 (0)51-303508
Email: info@remove-this.waterforddistillery.ie 

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