Whiskey Reviews: Waterford Whiskey Single Farm Origin Series

Editor’s Note: This whiskies were provided to us as review samples by Waterford. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy links towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Previously, we have reviewed Waterford Distillery’s Organic: Gaia 1.1 from their Arcadian Series. Waterford Distillery is the brainchild of Mark Reynier, former Bruichladdich CEO. The focus at Waterford Distillery is terroir. So much so, the end goal is to have terroir be accepted as a tasting category like it is in the wine industry. Testing out this theory, Waterford has launched a Single Farm Origin Series to show how different areas affect raw material, and thus impact the flavor of whisky. 

The Single Farm Origin Series from Waterford Distillery is currently composed of a number of whiskeys all made from the same strain of Irina barley grown in different areas around Ireland. This is where the magic of terroir, or tēireoir on Waterford’s labels, takes place. For instance, the Dunbell Edition 1.1 barley grows east of the River Nore in County Kilkenny. Meanwhile,  the Dunmore Edition 1.1 barley grows in County Laois. Finally, the Rathclogh Edition 1.1 barley grows in Kilkenny.

For the Rathclogh Edition 1.1, Richard Raftice’s farm is on low-lying, quick-drying, glacier meltwater gravel soils. Rath Clogh is Irish for Stone Fort. John Tynan’s barley for the Dunmore Edition 1.1 grows on a westerly-facing, lowland farm near a medieval fort. Dūn Mōr means Big Fort. In regards to the Dunbell Edition 1.1, Ned Murphy’s farm is located on deep loamy soils derived from glacial drift comprised of limestone, sandstone, and shale. Dūn Bile translates to Fire Fort. 

All three of the Waterford Single Farm Origin Series whiskeys I’m reviewing here are very similar in color, except if you look closely at the Dunbell Edition 1.1 it is a tinge darker. It is curious that the cask compositions are different from one another since casks impart flavor along with the grain. Overall, they are light gold. Waterford doesn’t finish their whiskey, nor do they add colouring or additives. 

The aromas are significantly different from one another. The Dunbell has a denser, maltier quality to it, whereas the Dunmore and the Rathclogh are lighter, fruitier, and more floral. The Dunmore shows off orange segment, but the fruit on the Rathclogh is primarily lemon. The lightest on the nose is the Rathclogh, and kind of gives off sweet bubble gum.

On the palate, they all have varying degrees of maltiness. The mouthfeel for the whiskeys are soft, but they have a kick at 50% ABV. I recommend dropping them down a notch with a drop of water. The flavor profiles are subtly different from one another. For example, the Rathclogh has a touch of a sour mash note, whereas the Dunmore has a bit of espresso and honey, and the Dunbell has a hint of salinity. 

For a detailed description of each, take a look below. If you decide to purchase the Single Farm Origin Series to compare for yourself, remember to pop in your tēireoir code for full traceability and transparency. One thing is for sure, none of them taste the same or like anything you’ve tasted before. 

Waterford USA

One of the Waterford whiskeys set for US delivery (image via Glass Revolution Imports)

Tasting Notes: Waterford Whiskey Dunbell Edition 1.1

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. An Irish single malt whiskey made with Irina barley harvested in 2015 and distilled in 2016. The cask composition breaks down as follows: 33% first-fill American oak, 22% virgin American oak, 26% premium French oak, and 19% Vin Doux Naturel. 6,000 bottles of Batch V23849 were produced. 750ml $95.

Appearance: Old gold

Nose: The whisky seems heavy from the pure malt of the grain. There is a certain nutty note to it that reminds me of pecan pie. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied. It has a kick of spice similar to rye. There is a faint amount of cocoa.  It is hardly sweet, but what I do find is raw honey. It has some citrus zest, but the main fruit I get with it is apricot. However, what is surprising is the crisp salinity that underlies the dram and lingers on the finish.

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Waterford Whiskey Dunmore Edition 1.1

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. An Irish single malt whiskey made with Irina barley harvested in 2015 and distilled in 2016. The cask composition breaks down as follows: 33% first-fill American oak, 18% virgin American oak, 25% premium French oak, and 24% Vin Doux Naturel. 13,000 bottles of Batch V23739 were produced. 750ml $95.

Appearance: Pale gold

Nose: Orange and malt mingle like Blue Moon without the hops. There is some subtle cinnamon and nutmeg. Overall, it smells earthy like damp ground. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is light and velvety. Wildflower honey is subtle with hay and grass. Additionally, espresso grounds add a small amount of bitterness. Orange segment mixes with a spice and tobacco smoke. Black pepper and oak linger on the finish. 

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Waterford Whiskey Rathclogh Edition 1.1

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. An Irish single malt whiskey made with Irina barley harvested in 2015 and distilled in 2016. The cask composition breaks down as follows: 31% first-fill American oak, 19% virgin American oak, 25% premium French oak, and 25% Vin Doux Naturel. 13,000 bottles of Batch V23639 were produced. 750ml $95.

Appearance: Pale gold

Nose: Bringing the glass to my nose, pink bubblegum comes to mind. With my nose in the glass, the smell of pine tree needles stands out. The whisky is light and fruity. Meanwhile, lemon peel and lemon oil brighten up the dram. It is malty like porridge or frosted mini wheats. I also sense a bit of a sour mash, like a banana that hasn’t fully ripened and is still green. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is creamy soft. The lemon remains bright on the tongue, but it is instantly followed up by a touch of coffee bean and earthiness. White cane sugar sweetens the dram. Lastly, the finish oozes with pipe tobacco. 

Score: 4/5


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