Penderyn, the Welsh distillery famous for creating the first whisky made in Wales in a century, announced the release of a new single cask single malt whisky exclusively for the American market: the Penderyn 10 Year Old Ex-Ruby Port Single Cask (No. 178).

Filled into cask in 2011 and bottled in 2021, the whisky is aged two-and-a-half years in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon cask and then in a Ruby Port cask for a further seven-and-a-half years. The result is a complex nose of red fruits with citrus zest, oily hazelnuts, and dark chocolate, together with dates, figs, and plums. The finish is a fruity sweetness leading to an oaky dryness, with some dark chocolate and black coffee bitterness.

“We constantly explore maturations in new types of casks, and ex-ruby port barriques have been a permanent fixture of our wood arsenal for a long time.”
– Aista Jukneviciute, Penderyn’s Blender

Aista Jukneviciute - Blender

Aista Jukneviciute – Blender

Of this new release, she adds: “The deep extraction of fortified port wine flavors from the wood maturation results in a rich tapestry of dark fruit, chocolate, spices, and many other notes on the palate. Compared to other wood types, ex-port casks provide rich complexities that turn our single malts into something akin to a ‘flavor bomb.’”

If Penderyn sounds unfamiliar, it may have something to do with the fact that for much of the distillery’s existence, its lines were sold mostly within the borders of its native land: Wales. Penderyn is a Welsh success story, part of a larger cultural reawakening of a nation often overlooked as a part of the United Kingdom and whose ancient distilling traditions were wiped out in the 1890s thanks to a fire-and-brimstone temperance movement. Kicking off in the early 2000s, Penderyn seeks to reestablish whisky as an institution of Wales on par with those of Ireland and Scotland. To that end, the distillery has done admirably, receiving a Double Gold Medal for its Peated whisky and Gold Medals for its Portwood and Rich Oak whiskies in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, among other awards. It was only a matter of time before it made a splash outside Welsh borders, if for demand alone.

Penderyn Glass

Penderyn Glass

But being single-cask, only 231 bottles will ever be available. This really is a case of “get it while the gettin’s good.” Moreover, this is not a whisky to slam, shoot, or swig. A complex whisky, the Penderyn 10 Year Old Ex-Ruby Port Single Cask requires gentle and deep contemplation, allowing the drinker to gradually unpack its many levels of flavor and taste.

“Such single cask releases offer the drinker an opportunity to explore a range of complex nuances of flavors originating from the interaction between the newly distilled spirit and wood of exceptional quality.”
– Aista Jukneviciute, Penderyn’s Blender

With a little patience, she concludes, “one can savor the flavors that will develop over time through both careful evaluation of subsequent small sips but also as a result of the evaporation that will expose and bring to the forefront new aromas that may initially be obscured in the background.”