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Waterford Organic Cuvée Gaia




Whiskey Review: Waterford Organic Cuvée Gaia

Tasting Notes:

Four-year, seven-month-old Irish whiskey made from the organic Irish barley of six different Ireland farms; bottled at 50% ABV; priced at $89.99.
A well-rounded, gorgeous amber-golden color is in the glass for this whiskey, showcasing moderate legs and good viscosity.
The smell of this one is ethereal and earthy, offering aromatics of heather, apricot, orange candy, just-out-of-the-oven dinner rolls, and just a splash of spice.
Oh wow, wow, wow. This rocks the organic house. Very light and slightly oily, notes coming from here on the palate reflect its organics with baked bread, apricot, honey, clover, a slight bite of caramel and a backnote of earthy grains.
This closes down its performance on my palate in a subtly sweet way, lingering for a bit in a way I truly love.
Organic whiskey is a rare animal in the spirits world. The focus of specific terroir and select organic practices in the farms Waterford works with reflects strongly in the barley nature of this expression. It is easily a must-have to sip and contemplate.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. Per our editorial policies, this in no way influenced the outcome of this review. 

The Irish whiskey scene, like the American, is defined in part by a mix of traditional larger brands and a newer crop of craft-style outlets. One of these younger distilleries, Waterford Whisky, was founded by Scotch industry veteran Mark Reyneir, formerly of the forward-thinking Bruichladdich distillery. Exploration of terroir was a big concept at Bruichladdich, and it is something Reyneir brought with him to Waterford.

The Waterford focus on terroir takes it down to the granular, producing whiskeys exploring the barley of individual farms that partner with the whiskey maker to provide grains. As an expansion of this, the brand recently introduced a “cuvee” concept, which marries together matured whiskeys from these single-origin expressions into a “the whole – greater than simply the sum of its parts” idea.

“The natural progression of our unique terroir mission was to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Grand Vins of Bordeaux or the Grande Marques of Champagne, and that is to create our flagship cuvées,” said Reynier at the time of its release. “Our new creative Cuvée Concepts, where we layer together uniquely flavorsome Single Farm Origins, help us to great our most complex, expressive, and profound whiskies.”

Today’s Offering

Three Cuvée Concepts have been introduced to the United States to form the basis of this new core range. Each one is described as bringing “a new dynamic to the distillery’s trademark barley-forward profile.”

The one being reviewed here today is Waterford Organic Cuvée Gaia. This expression brings together Ireland’s only organic malting barley growers across multiple vintages, representing six organic farms and two harvests in total. Normally championed under Waterford’s Arcadian Farm Origin consideration, which focuses on “maverick growers whose inspirational ethos & way of life respects the land & the old ways in the pursuit of natural flavour over yield imperative,” what you have here is a four-year, seven-month-old Irish whiskey drawn from a mix of first fill U.S. (28%), virgin U.S. (25%), “premium” French (19%) and vin doux naturel (28%) casks.

Bottled at 50% ABV and free from artificial coloring and chill-filtration, Gaia is priced at $89.99.

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