The third Irish farm we’re visiting this week is the Waterford Dunbell 1.1, see what I did there😉 Continuing through the USA single farm releases of Waterford we hit on Dunbell which takes its name from a medieval fort in the area named An Dún Mór (the big fort). Information I learned from both the back of the bottle and the insanely informative website.
The whiskey is definitely young, but their website is cutting edge and I have to give them massive props for the level of transparency and information on the site. This is a new standard in transparency and information and I’d love to see every brand adopt some form of this. Everything is put out in the open for the consumer to access and the level of which you care is entirely up to you. I truly hope this sets a new precedence and catches on.
Waterford Dunbell 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, 17 D
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Origin: Dunbell Farm
Dry malt, minerality, dried orchard fruit, buttercream frosting, olde candy shoppe and tropical fruit candy. Tad lemony
Butyric and plasticy with a raw malty note and a burnt metallic note layered with some stale banana chips and nuts and just a bit off…
Medium -> Metallic, nutty, spice and stale dried cocoa.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Not fully balanced, medium-full body and a dry feel.
Waterford Dunbell 1.1 – Overall
Aroma is a touch butyric as it opens and some light waxy notes arise along with some toffee along with an off note that’s part metallic, part fishy – kinda like a tin of sardines, but without the salt or oil; Palate has a malty core with sweet and fruity notes pulling through, but that weird off note morphs here to be a bit more metallic and burnt with the fish note dying down and becoming almost dusty; Finish is dominated by that sharp metallic and almost-fishy note.
Hands down this is my least favorite of the Waterford releases and it stands out from the others like a sore thumb. Though the question remains: is that because of the grain and the spirit it produced or is that because of the barrel choices? There are literally, at least, 37 factors at play here so who’s to say?
Waterford Dunbell 1.1 – Final Thoughts and Score
While this one definitely sticks out it has a lot of similarities to the other 3, which shows a common thread tying them all together which I would describe as a fruity buttercream frosting note that seems to be the distillery character. Which is massively important to think about under the auspices of the terroir conversation and to keep in your mind how much of what you’re tasting is distillery-driven vs grain-driven vs oak-driven.
Getting back to the whiskey, I, unfortunately, have to say that this is the least enjoyable of the 4 USA releases because it carries a lot of harshness and sharpness to it. The one, minor, saving grace is that as the Waterford Dunbell 1.1 opens a plethora of banana notes arrive and help add a bit of balance to the profile. And I truly mean plethora! Ranging from green to overripe to stale dried chips this dram covers it all.
*Disclosure: The sample/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 Dunbell 1.1 Review
While not conventionally tasty or aromatic is IS intensely interesting and it morphs and changes as it opens with notes getting more or less prominent over time. However the one note that stays constant is a metallic-fishy-burnt note that stays even and unfortunately present.