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Are you curious about the origins of Whisky's natural flavour?

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Are you legally old enough
(and sufficiently curious)
to enjoy terroir-driven whisky?

In our pioneering quest to unearth whisky’s most natural flavours, we now present to drinkers resurrected lost flavours from a bygone era.

Part of our Arcadian Farm Origin range, which explores real rarity and the flavours derived from the old ways, our first Heritage bottling is made from a game-changing variety called Hunter.

Named after pioneering plant breeder Dr Herbert Hunter, it was introduced in 1959, and was for two decades lauded for its distinctive flavour. Modern distillers, obliged to use the yield-enhancing varieties, have been deprived of heritage flavours – flavours that evolved more naturally over centuries in harmony with Ireland’s terroirs.

We have ventured back in time to rediscover Irish varieties, the natural flavours. We are introducing these rare, game-changing barleys to a new era of single malt connoisseurs.

FROM 50 GRAMS TO 50 BARRELS

Working alongside partners Minch Malt, and the Department of Agriculture, our Heritage distillations are a labour of love. Hunter had to be propagated from a 50 gram bag of seeds and upscaled over several years before there was enough to distil. Just 50 barrels were distilled from the first harvest.

Heritage barley is almost three times as expensive as modern varieties. This is not something to take lightly. Our 3 other different heritage varieties include: Goldthorpe (1900), Old Irish and Spratt-Archer.

Heritage-Hunter Product Image

MARK REYNIER,
WATERFORD DISTILLERY CEO,
EXPLAINS

“Our extensive terroir studies unearthed some surprises, one being that modern barley, propagated over the last 50 years, while bred for valid economic imperatives has been at the expense of flavour. There has been a 5-decade-long flavour moratorium. Remember: malt whisky is the most complexly flavoured spirit in the world precisely because of barley. Barley is the flavour of malt whisky. So it makes sense to us to find out what flavours have gone by the wayside – and indeed, if they are any good, let’s bring ‘em back!

“We’re intrigued. We wanted to know what whisky used to taste like. What were those original flavours of days gone by now lost to modern breeding programs? To do that, we have had to turn the clock back, to explore the various game-changer varieties of 1959, 1900 and even back to the Middle Ages when barley evolved with, and adapted to, Ireland’s fields and climates – its terroirs.

“Sure, these Heritage yields are significantly reduced both off the field and in the still house, the cereal more affected by wind and rain – you have to be a bit mad to do it – yet the excitement of looking back to experience long lost flavours was too much to resist.

“These ‘new’ – yet old – flavours give a remarkable insight into what whisky would have really tasted like back in the day. We‘re going back to barley’s future, using the best of modern technology to identify specific historic flavours By crossing with more economically viable modern plants, we’ll see if we can produce a sort of Barley Greatest Flavour Hits.”

EDITORIAL