Recently i and the Whisky Circus had the pleasure in sitting down with Head Distiller, Ned Gahan from The Waterford distillery over in Ireland..
This second part of the chat evolved into the hot topic of Terroir and does it exist and more importantly, can you actually taste the difference in the spirit they are producing..
As those who have followed the story so far will know i am still not convinced about the whole thing and more importantly, does it actually matter ?
I want a good whisky that i can sit down with and enjoy, do i need to know the field the barley came from, no not really but i admit i can understand why some people will find this of interest.. Next, if trying to prove Terroir exists then surely you need to remove all traces of previous distillations from previous farms and not mix some liquids into the next batch.. Is this not a contamination of some sort and shouldn’t this then be classed as some sort of Blended farm rather than be miss classified as a Single farm release.. After all if you add water to a cask strength whisky, is it still cask strength ? If you add some grain to a single malt is it still a single malt or a blend ?
Ned does try to convince me and i honestly do thank him for his time which i really did appreciate.. At the end of the day the important thing in all this is that i hope the Liquid tastes good and i cant wait to actually try it !!
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Really interesting interview Sorren and enjoyed the discussions below.
Will be interesting to try some of their whisky.
That will be the test for me and if its a positive experience my interest in the detail will naturally follow. I am a simple bloke!
Thanks for keeping the discussion around terroir going though, as I love the story behind it, giving a sense of place, but not convinced re any flavour differences as dont have access to enough comparative whiskies to come to my own conclusion. Difficult to buy wholly into the idea as a result.
Guess their first releases will be trying to show differences in flavour but as you pointed out too many variables. Proofs in the pudding as they say.
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But the process is not identical ! Its already been said that it can and does change slightly and that fermentation is not identical due to the 4 batches per farm can have between 100-130+ hours.. There are far too many variables in production.. And if you add some liquid from previous batches distilled slightly differently then of course it can alter taste just like taking a cut from different stages can alter things.. How about the fact that stored barley can deteriorate, does this not alter a possible taste factor ? nothing to do with the growing conditions and cannot be classed as terroir.. And its not just about if it alters the taste / aroma its about it cannot be a single farm if it has another farms low wines added !! to be true to the “SINGLE FARM” statement every batch should be totally separate.. No cross contamination..
Yes, it would be contaminated with another farm’s run, however if it shows a change in the taste and smell as a result (and all other variables are kept the same for both farm’s runs) then the only contributing factor can be the difference in where it was grown since this is the only thing that has changed. So, in proving if terrior exists it would not be relevant if some of one farm’s run contaminated another since it would not lead to a taste/smell change unless where the barley was grown mattered. It’s a standard scientific style experiment where you keep everything consistent and change only one variable and see if the results differ.
Not so.. if it is a single farm release then there should be no other farm’s liquid going into another’s.. Hence it has a cross contamination, this is and isn’t irrelevant to terroir.., it does however make the terminology defunct
Still to be decided but I hope so.. I’ll have to try it at some point to be able to comment further
Contamination would be irrelevant since if terroir does not exist and everything else is kept the same then you would be contaminating the same whisky with the same whisky and there would be no difference. If there is in fact any change in the taste and all other factors are controlled then it can be only one element causing this and you have your answer.
You pose some great questions, and again, there are no clear answers. Not really.
Well worth an hour of anyone’s time to watch it. People will probably need to come to their own conclusions…some other’s may just “buy into” what’s being said.
Either way, it’s a talking point.
Sometimes I’m a little terroirfied to give my opinion… but it’s interesting to see what both sides feel.
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The passion and commitment to this project will, I daresay, ultimately see this whisky turn out to be excellent – with or without the attendant terroir “sideshow” talking points🥕