The thing about terroir is you have to try at least 2 bottles made the same way with the only variable being where the barley was grown.
This posed a little problem.
Feeling like an eegit for forking out 70 yo-yos for a bottle of young malt – gotta admire the marketing capabilities of Waterford Distillery – I’d no intentions of buying another.
Step forward a fellow whiskey fan who had the alternative offering!
An exchange was duly arranged – as an aside, if you want to swap samples from my 60+ list of opened bottles, drop me a message.
Then I learned of another problem.
Bannow Island & Ballykilcavan are aged in different cask!
I checked the codes!
Both had ex-bourbon & French casks – but only Bannow had virgin oak – which may account for the extreme dryness I experienced.
Kind of negates the whole terroir experiment – which is a big part of the sell!
Ah well – I got my chance to sample Ballykilcavan.
Is it any different?
In a word – yes!
The absence of virgin oak allows more of those rich & juicy notes from the French oak & ex-bourbon casks to come through.
It’s a more balanced & accessible malt with some of that aggressive youth tempered.
I’d still say it’s a work in progress however.
At the moment, Ballykilcavan would be my favourite, but how they develop in the next few years could all change with those cask influences working off that youthful exuberance & raw edges.
As for the terroir?
That will have to wait for another day.