Penderyn Legend Whisky

Penderyn are the first new Welsh distillers in a century.
They have a unique still designed by a descendent of Michael Faraday, and the spirit is matured in a mixture of bourbon & Madeira casks.

“Legend” is their entry-level whisky, and usually around £30.
Morrisons had it on offer for £24, so I gave it a whirl.
I wanted to like it, I tried to like it, but I couldn’t.

The first problem is the packaging.
Penderyn Legend Box BottlePenderyn 2 BottleThe box and label are bright red.
Very bright red.
Completely different to the widely-admired packaging they used to have,
This works particularly badly on the bottle, where it clashes with the pale spirit.

There is lots of text on the box, but not much of it is useful.
Penderyn Box BollocksOn the front there’s some writing about the Welsh Dragon and 5th century kings – nothing about what’s the actual whisky is like.
The back, meanwhile, has some info about Norman & Saxon kings.
No, wait, there on the side, below some info about how it’s made, are some tasting notes!
Why don’t they want to talk about flavour?

AncNocI’ve included a bottle of Lagavulin in the picture above to show how it should be done.
The packaging is discreet, classy, and the front of the box has a description of the whisky.

And here on the left is anCnoc’s label – isn’t that very smart? (The whisky is good too – I hadn’t heard of anCnoc but saw it on offer for £25 and it has been a great buy.)

I do like the long neck on the Penderyn bottle, but otherwise their new design has gone backwards in leaps and bounds.

In the glass, the spirit is very pale.Penderyn GlassI stick my nose in.
The tasting notes say “aromas of fresh apples and citrus fruit, with cream fudge and sultana raisins”.
I can just smell “APPLES! APPLES!”
It smells of a good Calvados, with a hint of sweetness. Toffee apple?

Taking a first sip, the notes say “Incredibly smooth”.
It isn’t.
Fiery, like a cheap Calvados. Definitely not Lagavulin smooth.
You can really taste the alcohol up front.
I look at the bottle for an age statement, but find none. I don’t think this has been in the barrel long enough.
Over the next few weeks it softens a little, but it’s still the rougher end of whisky.

It’s pleasantly thick & viscous, and tastes much less of apples.
A little creamy, a touch of vanilla, a bit sweet.  Spicy and hot.
Not complex,
It leaves a taste of spicy fruit cake (is there such a thing) in the mouth, and the heat of the alcohol. Not wholly pleasant.

I didn’t enjoy it.
Lidl does an excellent Abrachan blend of bourbon & sherry casked whisky for £18 that dances all over this.
Good nose let down by dull palate and rough taste.
I know some of their more expensive whiskies (eg £200 rare portwood) are well-reviewed, but this is an over-priced entry-level drink.

I still had a lot left, so I decided to try it in cocktails.

Iechyd Da
(from Penderyn website)

50ml Penderyn Madeira
(I used my Legend)
Bar Spoon Welsh Honey
(teaspoon of Morrisons honey – “Bar Spoon” indeed!)
10ml Blood Orange Juiice (got that!)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
(I used the Angostora ones I had)

Sweet and tasty, the blood orange and honey go well together.
The taste of whisky comes through, but not strongly.
Penderyn Iechyd DaAnother rattle in the cupboard, and I came up with …

The Ladies’ Old Fashioned     (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be bourbon, but hey)

A squirt of agave syrup
2 slices of blood orange
2 Maraschino Cherries
60ml Penderyn Legend

“Muddle” the orange & 1 cherry in your glass, then fish out and eat the skin bits.
Add the spirit, then the ice, then the second cherry.

This one let the taste of the whisky through more – the booze is more in the foreground than the Iechyd Da.
It was good, but is just a good, simple recipe?


Penderyn Website

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