Most of the attention Penderyn receives is due to its unique status as the first Welsh whisky to be distilled since the 1800s, but there are much more compelling reasons to give their flagship single malt a look. For starters, it’s distilled once via a custom-built Faraday still, which was designed expressly for the maker and functions like a combination pot and copper still. Afterward, it’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels before undergoing a finish in Madeira casks, in keeping with the STR method developed by the late Jim Swan.
Penderyn Madeira Finish has a rich nose with sultana raisins, dates, a touch of dry tobacco, and spearmint. It’s that spearmint note that sets off the experience at the palate, and that cool, fresh, flavor feels like the perfect complement to the whisky’s clean and gentle character. Taken together, the effect is something like the fresh feeling that comes after brushing one’s teeth.
While spearmint is the initial leader in the experience, it’s not alone. The early flavors also encompass green apple and honey, and the sweetness of the latter flavor rounds out to caramel at the center before tipping into light, creamy vanilla at the finish. There it’s joined by raisins and date juice, and coaxed along to a gentle conclusion that ends with a moderate but impressionable trickle of spice and shaved coconut as a final topper.
In being so crisp and clean, Penderyn strikes an immediate contrast to single malt scotch—and most other single malts—by the relative lightness of its experience. But although Penderyn Madeira Finish is light in body and flavor, it’s by no means lightweight. The subtle fruity, spearmint flavor is highly enjoyable, particularly when it crashes into creamy vanilla at the end.
— 46% ABV