Waterford Organic Gaia Edition 1.1

Single Malt — Ireland

4.25 out of 5 stars
Six things about Waterford: 1 - It’s not an Irish whisky, it’s a malt whisky made in Ireland. 2 - It’s made in Ireland because its owners believe the country has the best barley in the world. 3 - They are launching an insane number of different bottles in their first year of releases - dozens showcasing barleys from individual farms. 4 - For a barely legal whisky, it tastes remarkably and consistently good, based on my sampling of several European and US exclusives and this global release, not to mention two eminently drinkable varieties of new make. 5 - If you like the funky flavors of a good Springbank or a stinky cheese, you’ll enjoy the subtle barnyard aroma of many of the initial Waterford releases. 6 - Moreover, if you really want to sink your senses into the debate over whether barley, soil and all things “terroir” make a difference in whisky, then get yourself a selection of their single farm bottlings and compare the differences. Even the two new makes I tried were noticeably different. Of the ones I tried, my favorite of the European releases was the Ballykilcavan. It smells like a dairy farm: cream, barnyard, a hint of sulphur and soil. The palate is creamy and salty and the finish turns to sour fruit chews. The American single farm releases were slightly sweeter and for me were overshadowed by Gaia, a global release distilled from organic barley sourced from six farms rather than one. My tasting notes aren’t great, but the nose is lashings of custard, with a hint of barnyard to add complexity. The predominant flavor is creamy too, with a fizzy sherbet note. Regardless, I liked it enough to buy a bottle, which isn’t something I do often now. Whatever the method in their madness, Waterford is clearly onto something good.
  • Richard-ModernDrinking

    @PBMichiganWolverine Just poured the rest of that generous Ratheadon sample you sent me. I think they overdid the wine casks on that one — have you looked up the cask composition? It’s delicious but definitely leans more towards red berries and tannin flavors than the rest of the initial releases.

  • Richard-ModernDrinking

    @jonwilkinson7309 Yes, I had made the same assumption and wasn’t really paying attention to them as a result

  • ContemplativeFox

    Wow, it says the first year of farming was 2015 and it's already this good? One to keep an eye on for sure!

  • jonwilkinson7309

    Your first point is well taken - I can be guilty of lumping all whiskeys made in Ireland under the Irish Whiskey banner, even though "Irish Whiskey" denotes a whiskey type, and not the country of origin.

  • Richard-ModernDrinking

    @PBMichiganWolverine I’ll need to go back and check again as I still have some of your sample left.

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    I’ve only had the Ratheadon. How would you compare Ratheadon to Ballyclavan and Gaia ?