We know we’ve got a lot of Penderyn fans amongst our members, so it with great excitement we announce the AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE – the aptly named (and beautifully packaged) Penderyn ‘The Headliner’.
Every so often – about once a year – Penderyn release a new addition to their ‘Icons of Wales’ series. The ‘Icons’ are special, limited edition Penderyn expressions – each one celebrating a person, milestone or event from Welsh history with international significance. Previous editions of ‘the Icons’ celebrate such diverse ‘Welsh-ness’ as Poetry (Dylan Thomas), incredible Rugby trys, even the American Declaration of Independence (due to the number of Welsh ties in the signatories).
Last year we were able to secure the only Australian allocation of the Penderyn ‘Rhiannon’ and this year, we’ve followed up with the 9th in the ‘Icons of Wales’ series – The Headliner. This whisky celebrates the only Welsh British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George (1863-1945). Lloyd George was a social reformer, became a symbol of the national reawakening of Wales, and created more headlines than any other 20th century statesman.
However, David Lloyd George’s most defining and famous legacy (for us whisky lovers, at least!) is that he his considered the saviour of the modern UK whisky industry. Which is even more remarkable in that he was an avowed teetotaller!
In 1915, responding to the ‘Shell Crisis’ facing Britain in the second year of WW1 (where it was expending ammunition much quicker than it was producing it) Lloyd George stated “Drink is doing more damage in the war than all the German submarines put together.” By this he meant that the amount of public drunkenness and drinking was significantly impacting the manufacturing efficiency of the UK as a whole.
And so, in 1915, in his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he rolled the ‘The Immature Spirits (Restriction) Act 1915’ into law. This act legislated for the first time that the alcohol must be matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years and one day. Lloyd George had hoped this act would shut the UK whisky industry down forever by eliminating it’s ability to sell young – or even un-aged spirit, which many producers had no qualms about doing to turn a fast quid.
The Act certainly worked at first, with many of the 130 operating distilleries in Scotland closing down shortly after it’s introduction. But there were also enough distilleries that had been focussing on quality and thus could trade through the act (ie. did have matured whisky in stock). Unfortunately for Lloyd George, rather quickly the reputation of ‘Scotch’ as a premium product (specifically because it was all aged in wood for at least 3 years) grew around the world and it wasn’t too long before many of those distilleries that had closed down, were purchased and opened again by investors and corporations with pockets deep enough to fund the ‘lean years’ as the new spirit matures.
Nose: Lovely summer stone fruits – cherries, plumbs and peaches with a hint of tart pineapple. But there’s more than just fruit here – jube lollies, floral jasmine wafts and a hint of petrichor there as well.
Palate: Crispy clean mouthfeel, with just a hint of pepper. The sweet notes on the nose don’t really carry through here as promised – it’s quite a dry affair actually. There is sweetness at first, don’t get me wrong – but it’s soon overtaken by sharp, crunchy fruit notes (think granny smith apple) backed with mild tannin-astringency.
Finish: Lovely fruitiness with a sugar-gum sweetness comes through at the end but is given some pleasant edges by the white pepper notes. Crisp and clean spirit with a nice tartness that just begs to go around again as your noseing the next one.
Penderyn started distilling in 2000, have won over 100 International Gold awards, and now exports to over 50 countries. We are delighted that Penderyn The Headliner is going to Australia for the members of The Single Malt Whisky Club!
The 9th in Penderyn’s Icons of Wales Edition whiskies celebrates the only Welsh Prime Minister, David Lloyd George (1863-1945), who was a social reformer and accidentally established the premium whisky industry when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1915. His opinion was that illicit alcohol was doing more damage than the enemy in WW1, and introduced the ‘three years and one day’ rule for casking. Lloyd George’s act did have its desired effect at first – of more than 130 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in 1914, only a handful made it through to the end of the war. But as the reputation of the new, mature whiskies gradually spread, the industry enjoyed a revival in the inter-war years; in spite of prohibition in the US. Lloyd George also became a symbol of the national reawakening of Wales, and created more headlines than any other 20th century statesman.
This 700mL bottle has an ABV of 46% and is matured in Jamaican Rum & Ruby Port Casks.
Nose: Red berries, strawberries and cream; a hint of cranberries, light oak and vanilla. Nutmeg and cinnamon spice.
Palate: Rich sweet flavours of dried fruits, salted caramel, floral honey and a spicy kick of black pepper with a tannin dryness.
Finish: Sweetness, fading into a dry-yet-fruity finish.
Penderyn produce award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits at their distillery on the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK.
Distilling in Wales was a lost art, but in the late 1990s, in a Hirwaun pub in the Welsh valleys, Alun Evans the landlord and a group of friends chatted about establishing the first whisky distillery in Wales in over a century. They dreamt of creating a whisky as pure and precious as Welsh gold, represented today by Penderyn’s ‘gold seam’.
The village of Penderyn was chosen because of the site’s own supply of fresh natural spring water, and the fact that the Alun had a wine warehouse in the village.
A unique copper single-pot still designed by Dr David Faraday, a relative of the great 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday, was installed in 2000, which produces a spirit at an industry high of 92%, meaning Penderyn’s whiskies are light, fruity and flavoursome.
This business seemed a curiosity – a Welsh whisky? – but when the Scottish whisky expert, Dr Jim Swan, became our Master Distiller, things got serious. Dr Swan got involved because he said the still created a world class spirit. He said we should finish in Madeira casks, so this became our house style. This quickly advanced to sherry casks, peated casks, port casks, and a number of other casks used for finishing. Nigel Short invested in the business, bringing Stephen Davies in as CEO, and the distinguished drinks designer Glenn Tutssel also became involved, who created the brand design.
On St David’s Day 2004 Penderyn whisky was launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. An expansion in 2013/14 included a replica of the Faraday Still, and two lantern stills being installed.
With investment, inspiration, hard work, attention to detail, the finest barley, expert female distillers and the best American oak bourbon casks, Penderyn Whisky has quickly gained a worldwide reputation for its range of whiskies, winning over 100 Double Gold/Gold/Masters awards en route. Today Penderyn is now very much part of the world whisky conversation, and is available in over 50 countries, including key markets in France, Germany, USA and China. Indeed only around 7/8 countries were distilling whisky in 2000, and now most countries do, so Penderyn really was a pioneer in the world whisky industry.
Penderyn is a privately owned company, with over 60 shareholders. As a result of the company’s progress, a new distillery opened in Llandudno North Wales in May 2021, and a further distillery is planned for Swansea, in South Wales, in the summer of 2023.
From Wales to the world…