Whiskey number two in this line up is the Waterford Rathclogh 1.1. Like the Dunmore, all the grain in this whiskey is sourced from a single farm in Ireland. A farm of low lying land made of shallow gravel soil. Soil that’s quick-drying and created by deposits from ancient glacier meltwater which promotes early sowing, and early ripening, of the grain. How do I know this? The internet.
More specifically the Teireoir section of the Waterford website where you can enter the code on the back of the bottle and go down a rabbit hole of information. Everything you could ever want to know, and far far more, is there. Photos, stats, barrel breakdown percentages, barrel types, soil information, history, maps and even a clip of what the farm sounds like! To experience it for yourself go to the site and enter the code from the back of the bottle (F016E01-01). The review will be here when you get back… in an hour.
Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 – Details and Tasting Notes
Mash Bill: 100% Malted barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon, French Oak, Virgin Oak, ex-Wine (various)
Age: 3 Years, 11 M, 26 D
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Origin: Rathclogh Farm
Buttery malt, bubblegum tropical fruit, caramel, vanilla and olde candy shoppe and dried fruit.
Raw malt, toffee, spiced citrus, honied nuts, waxy fruit, green coffee and a light sugary pop.
Medium -> Cocoa, raw malt, dried fruit and nuts.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Good sense of balance, medium-full body and a waxy warm feel.
Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 – Overall
Aroma is a tad waxy and gets a touch citrusy as it opens, bringing along some earthy grain and overripe fruit notes that remind me of closing time at a farmer’s market in the summer; Palate is a little more confusing and I’m not totally sure about what’s going on under the malt, toffee, citrus and sweet and nutty note – there is this odd over-roasted-touch-metallic note that isn’t good… but it’s not terrible either; Finish fades nicely to a warm nutty note and is the best part for sure.
The combination of odd notes and the waxy citrusy pops make this my second favorite in the current US lineup. I’m a sucked for odd/interesting profiles that aren’t terrible.
Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 – Final Thoughts and Score
Initially, there is a heavy raw character that comes through, but that tames down a bit and moves to the middle. If there was a “terroir” fingerprint I’d point to it would be that note since it’s the main differentiator between this and the others. However, it’s not that the others don’t have it, it’s just that it’s heavier here. Though it’s possible that could also stem from the barrel choice. There are so many variables at play here, without the new make as a side-by-side it’s hard to actually say.
Ex-Bourbon, French Oak, Virgin Oak, ex-Wine casks, there are just too many sources of flavor to definitively say the difference is the spirit. If the true focus was surfacing the differences in spirit and grain origin then why not use just 3rd and 4th+ fill ex-bourbon barrels? The simple answer is the whiskey would be terrible and while it would better display the possible terroir, it wouldn’t be a product people would want to buy.
For a business, being profitable is a key component to existing and to do that they need to find a balance between a striking idea and a product people purchase. And that’s where we find ourselves in this moment with the Waterford Rathclogh 1.1. Sitting between an idealistic concept and a profitable product.
*Disclosure: The bottle for this Irish Whiskey review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Waterford Rathclogh 1.1 Review
There are some odd notes here that work to make a truly interesting whiskey. Age could do some interesting things to this and I’m excited to see exactly what those things are.