Waterford Whisky Podcast

element: Spirit / DATE: 18/02/2021

We have been accused of many things, but being short of insightful content is not one of them.

When we say we bring the same intellectual drive, methodology and rigour as the great French winemakers to single malt whisky, what does that actually mean?

It means applying strict production criteria to Irish barley and whisky production. It means sourcing barley from individual Irish farms – some organic, some biodynamic. It means malting, fermenting, distilling and maturing those farm crops in complete isolation – from field to barrel. We showcase the barley flavours derived from individual Irish farms, terroir by terroir, in our Single Farm Origin series. But the ultimate goal is to one day use these individual terroirs to produce world’s most unique, complex and compelling whisky.

In this podcast series, the award-winning whisky communicator Barry Chandler has unfettered access to the Facilitator and our people, to break down each step of the production process from growing the barley to bottling the whisky so that you, the whisky connoisseur, can understand about where flavour is created – and in fact, what the possibilities are when a distillery chooses to obsessively explore that prime raw ingredient of single malt whisky: barley.

Subscribe on your preferred platform of choice, but we’ll also post each new episode below. 

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The Science of Whisky Terroir

 

EPISODE 8 – 13/04/21

 

In the final episode of our series we hear from the scientists and researchers who have spent the last two years investigating whether terroir can exist in whisky and we learn how the team at Waterford Distillery intends to build on their first whisky releases to achieve their goal of producing the most flavourful litre of alcohol ever created.

Does It Matter? Whisky Drinkers Weigh In

 

EPISODE 7 – 06/04/21

 

Does Waterford Distillery’s approach matter to whisky drinkers? What do those who buy the whisky think about terroir and the data it gives access to? Can there be too much information shared?

In this episode of Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky Podcast, we hear from those who drink the whisky to try to get a better understanding of what matters to them, what they like and dislike about the whisky and we’ll hear how whisky drinkers’ expectations of their whisky producers have changed over the past few years.

We’ll also hear from founder Mark Reynier about his hopes for how Waterford’s whisky is enjoyed. 

When Spirit Meets Wood

 

EPISODE 6 – 30/03/21

 

Can a whisky’s terroir survive maturation? Why is such a large percentage of Waterford Distillery’s budget committed to the purchase and storage of casks? How much of a whisky’s flavour come from its time in a cask? What happens the whisky as it matures?

In this episode of Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky podcast, we’re answering these questions and more as we examine the most time-consuming aspect of whisky making, maturation, in order to best understand how the spirit and wood interact with one another and collectively build upon each previous step of the whisky making process in the pursuit of the most flavourful litre of alcohol ever created.

THE CONCENTRATION OF FLAVOUR

 

EPISODE 5 – 23/03/21

 

When we think of whisky production, we’re quick to think of the brochure-friendly polished copper stills, stainless steel and piping, but what really happens at this stage? Can the flavour nuances of terroir survive what appears from the outside to be quite an industrial process?

In this episode of Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky podcast, we’re looking at the science behind distillation, the unique low and slow distilling approach favoured by Waterford Distillery and how distillation can preserve, concentrate and maximise each barley field’s unique flavour.

 

FROM MALT TO MASH

EPISODE 4 – 16/03/21

Our unique whisky-making approach is centered around capturing the unique flavours present in each of the grower’s fields of barley. Before distilling can concentrate the flavours, there are a few essential steps to help extract those flavours from the grain and preserve their terroir.

In this episode, we’ll follow the barley from the field to the maltster – and on to the brewing stage – with Grace O’Reilly, Waterford Distillery’s Agronomist and Neil Conway, Head Brewer.

 

 A FARM-FIRST APPROACH

EPISODE 3 – 09/03/21

A terroir-driven approach to whisky making begins with the land – the fields and farms that give us our barley. It’s in these fields that the growers and their families maximize the flavour-potential of their barley crop. Aided and advised by Grace O’Reilly, Ireland’s only distillery-employed agronomist, growers follow a different process to growing and harvesting.

In this episode we’ll meet growers who have farmed their land for generations, we’ll learn what it means to them to be part of our approach and we’ll follow barley’s journey from sowing to harvesting.

 

THE WAR ON TERROIR

EPISODE 2 – 02/03/21

Terroir – a word and approach more associated with wine-making than whisky-making – has had its critics and detractors since the first day Mark Reynier announced he was building a distillery on its very premise.

In this episode of Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky podcast, we hear from whisky industry experts and enthusiasts who paint a picture of a whisky industry that has followed a certain approach to whisky making for many years and how Waterford Distillery’s pursuit of a barley and a flavour-forward process has been met with raised eyebrows and criticism from whisky producers and consumers alike.

We’ll hear how early criticisms led to the establishment of a scientific study to determine conclusively whether terroir has a verifiable impact on whisky’s flavour and we’ll pose some of the criticisms leveled against this terror-driven approach to those inside the distillery.

THE GENESIS OF AN IDEA

EPISODE 1 – 23/02/21

Waterford Whisky has been years in the making. Before the establishment of the distillery and before terroir-driven spirit flowed from the stills on the banks of the River Suir, founder Mark Reynier spent a career in the wine and Scotch whisky world. Inspired by a different approach to the growing of vines and barley, Mark applied the insights gleaned in the years prior to his arrival in Waterford to the planning of a very different type of whisky distillery. 

In this first episode of Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky podcast, Mark Reynier opens up about the events that led him to Ireland’s South East and shares with host Barry Chandler how he set about building a new approach to whisky making from farm to bottle.

This episode takes us all the way back to the beginning – to the genesis of an idea and what it took to bring the idea of terroir-driven whisky to life. 

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