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The next stage in our quest to unearth whisky's most natural flavours

We’re pleased to announce this October the release of Biodynamic: Luna – the world’s first whisky made from biodynamic barley. As part of our pioneering quest to unearth whisky’s most natural flavours, we have introduced the radical biodynamic farming philosophy, as lauded by many of the world’s legendary winemakers, to the conservative whisky industry. The bottling is the latest whisky in our Arcadian Series, which showcases the flavours produced by forgotten ways of farming and rare barley varieties.

Biodynamic Luna Edition 1.1

The world's first biodynamic whisky

For the Demeter-certified Biodynamic: Luna, three Irish growers – Trevor Harris, Alan Mooney and John McDonnell – stepped up to the challenge of applying unusual agricultural practices to growing barley.

They run their farms according to esoteric principles derived from a 1924 series of lectures by the Austrian polymath Rudolf Steiner. Steiner created a codified agricultural system for post-WW1 farmers, who were worried about the industrialisation of agriculture, the degradation of the land and the loss of millennia of farming know-how – bios meaning life, and dynamos energy. Having been adopted by many of the world’s greatest wine producers seeking the ultimate of pure and intense flavours, biodynamics today stands at the cutting edge of regenerative agriculture.

Some say it is an advanced form of “über-organic” farming, in which each farm is its own self-sustaining organism where elements including soil, crops, animals, people and the ‘spirit of place’ are all interconnected. For us, it is the ultimate expression of our terroir discoveries.

The approach includes an array of seemingly controversial practices such as burying manure-packed cow horns to ‘ferment’ underground; the creation of simple plant treatments and natural compost fertilisers to stimulate microbial activity; all following the natural rhythms of the lunar calendar. The purpose is to produce vibrant, chemical-free living soil. As barley makes malt whisky the most complex spirit in the world – the very source of its flavour – biodynamics will contribute to an even purer and more intense expression.

Indeed, to create the ultimate natural whisky.

 

Mark Reynier, Waterford Distillery CEO, explains: “During the 1980s in the vineyards of Burgundy and Alsace, following decades of agro-chemical excess and the race for yield over quality, I witnessed the renaissance of terroir and modern winemaking. Out of this, biodynamics blossomed – a new philosophy that at first seemed outlandish, but after tasting the results increasingly proved its worth.

“Biodynamics is, after all, merely a self-contained farming system, but one that consists of the culmination of 16,000 years of agricultural optimisation – trial and error, life and death – before the vicissitudes of industrialisation and intensification dumbed down individuality.

“During my career I’ve had the fortune to taste the world’s greatest wines, it’s no surprise to see the ever-increasing adoption of biodynamics in the search for intensity and purity of flavour. If for the grape, why not the grain?”

Further information

• Waterford Distillery is certified by Demeter, and follows a rigorous auditing regimen each year. Biodynamic: Luna is also certified by Demeter.

• The distillery has produced around 500 barrels of spirit made from local biodynamic barley, and annually incorporates biodynamics as part of its ongoing ambition to create the most flavoursome and natural expressions of whisky imaginable.

• A recent study by Professor Magali Delmas at UCLA analysed tasting scores given to more than 128,000 French wines from 1995 to 2015, discovering that biodynamic wines scored 11.8% higher compared to conventional or sustainable wines.

• Many of the world’s greatest winemakers follow biodynamic principles. Burgundian legends of Romanée Conti, Leroy, Leflaive, Trapet and Sauzet. Alsacians Zind Humbrecht, Faller, Ostertag, Kreydenweiss, Deiss, and Zusselin; And increasingly the mighty Bordeaux chateaux such as Latour, Lafite, Yquem, Climens, Pontet Canet, Angelus and Palmer.

EDITORIAL