*Thanks to Sam Filmus and the good folks at Impex Beverages for the sample.
The English scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is renowned worldwide for his discoveries, advancements, and achievements in areas of chemistry and electromagnetism. Reading about his accomplishments makes it very clear to me that there is little chance that I’ll ever reach a suitable understanding of most of his accomplishments. Heady stuff to be sure. Faraday’s work was so important that Einstein reportedly had a picture of him on a wall next to Isaac Newton. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
I mention Michael Faraday because one of his relatives is a man named David Faraday who is a scientist and inventor in his own right. It was David Faraday that designed the unique pot and column combination still that Penderyn uses. This still immediately set Penderyn’s whisky apart from other British Isles single malts. The majority of Scotch single malt is distilled twice in pot stills, and its new make spirit leaves the stills generally around 65-70% alcohol. By comparison, Penderyn’s spirit is distilled once, cycling through the plates in the combination pot and column still until it reaches around 92%. That higher ABV means that more of the “dirtier” alcohols are refined and/or distilled out. Penderyn has distinguished itself by using this complex single distillation and producing a distinctively lighter, cleaner, yet still flavorful single malt whiskey.
The Penderyn Myth is part of their “Dragon” line which is characterized by lower ABV, less expensive whiskies as compared to their “Gold” lineup. The Myth is matured in ex-Buffalo Trace casks for approximately six years and is then finished for six to twelve months is a variety of ex-red wine casks. As with all Penderyns, the Myth is an unfiltered whisky and contains no artificial coloring.
The Nose: Fresh and bright, with fruit and new make notes. There’s pale, floral honey, poached pear, and juicy orange upfront, but behind that lurks a subtle, complex mix of fruit – sticky raisins, dried red fruits, and a hint of passionfruit. Further in the background, toasty cereal grain and candy-coated almonds lead to quiet oak notes, vanilla bean, and brûlée-d sugar.
The Palate: This follows the nose nicely – more honey, more citrus, and a more pronounced wine-y-ness. The raisin-y quality is back, as are dried cherries, caramelized sugar, and deeper tropical fruit notes. Sticky vanilla bean, malt syrup, almond toffee, and hints of fruitcake follow. The oak is sharp, with spice notes of hot cinnamon and candied ginger.
The Finish: Some winey fruit notes hang on, along with the youthful grippy oak, candied ginger, and allspice.
Thoughts: This quickly grew on me. At first, the lighter, youthful quality was not overly impressive, but as the glass opened up, so did those complex fruit and grain notes. I ended up really enjoying the balance of that lighter style with bourbon casks and the subtle overlay the wine casks imparted. In comparison to the Legend, I thought there was more depth and complexity here, certainly a more successful expression. Another example of the skillful whisky-making happening at Penderyn.
Penderyn Myth Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Wales, +/-2019
- Anthony, Dan. “Welsh Whisky = Gold (Faraday’s Law).” WIPO Magazine, WIPO, Feb. 2014, https://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2014/01/article_0007.html.
- “Michael Faraday.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Faraday.
- “Our Process, Pure Mineral Water and the Finest Bourbon Casks.” Penderyn, http://penderyn.wales/our-process/.
- “Scotch Whisky FAQs.” Scotch Whisky Association, https://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/discover/faqs/.
- “The Dragon Collection, Legend, Myth & Celt, Bottled at 41% Abv.” Penderyn, http://penderyn.wales/dragon/.