Review: Waterford Heritage Hunter

It’s Wednesday, the week is cut in a half and it’s time for reviewing another sample. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a box filled to the brim with samples. And today I decided to pick one of those for my review. At first when I opened the box, I was a bit befuddled by what the numbers on the bottles meant. Which is how I learned that you can enter those numbers into Whiskybase and get the whisky it belongs to. Which is an awesome system, as it means you have way less to write down on the label itself! While looking the numbers written on this bottle up, this sample turned out to be the Waterford Heritage Hunter. A dram I’m very much looking forward to, as I’ve heard many great things about it.

First off, it’s a dram with an incredibly cool story behind it. The Hunter Barley was named after plant breeder Dr. Herbert Hunter. And the Dr. just happens to share the same first name as the friend that provided me with this dram! The strain of barley was noted for its distinctive flavour before it vanished from the Irish fields in the late 70’s. From a 50-gram sample at the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine the barley was grown cycle by cycle, until there was enough grain for distilling this batch of Waterford Heritage Hunter.

Tasting Notes: Waterford Heritage Hunter 1.1
Stats:

ABV: 50% (100 proof)

Age: NAS

Distillery: Waterford Distillery

Owned by: Renegade Spirits

Category: Irish Single Malt Whiskey

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

Earlier this afternoon I had an interview planned, so I decided to take my Whisky Wednesday walk in the morning. The morning dew still lay frozen on the grass as the first beads of sunshine peaked over the horizon. I didn’t sip on the whisky yet, as it was a bit too early in the day for me. Instead, I took the sample back home full, to enjoy it in the afternoon. At the moment I’m sitting warm and cozy in my home, dogs next to me on the couch and this dram of Waterford Heritage Hunter – poured neat into a perfect dram glass -in my hand. Let’s go discover its flavours!

Nose:

The nose of this dram immediately comes off the glass as very full bodied. Warm apple molasses with raisins and cinnamon come to you as soon as you approach the glass. There are flakes of hay in this dram as well, and the slightest touch of honey rounds it all off nicely. This truly makes me feel like I’m playing around in the hay shed at the farm some friends of mine grew up on. We used to play for hours, jumping from haystack to haystack. And more than once apple molasses was served as the bread topping of choice during lunch. Water makes the nose a little bit softer and more delicate, without bringing many new flavours to the fore.

Palate:

The palate has rejuvenated the hay and turned it back into grass. As it reminds me of chewing on a stem of it while pretending to be a cowboy. There’s far less apple on the palate then there was on the nose, but there’s still some there. In fact, it’s more reminiscent of apple seed than the actual fruit. There are some citrus influences as well, with orange peel making the most pronounced appearance here. Some tree bark notes give the palate a hint of bitterness as well. Water ramps up the sweetness of this dram considerably, bringing slightly burned caramel to mind.

Finish:

The finish on this dram is rather long. I’m picking out some walnuts, fresh baked apple pie, and lemon tea. Which very much reminds me of spending my days outside at my grandparents’ cabin in the woods. There’s the ever so slight hint of bitterness lingering on the centre of the tongue, and though not exactly pleasant it never becomes too intrusive to take away the pleasure of this finish. The few drops of water didn’t lengthen or shorten the finish but did lay a thick blanket of brown sugar on it. A very pleasant one I might add.

Verdict:

This is a young whisky and yet for its age it is incredibly impressive. It already manages to give a full body, with plenty of oomph behind its flavours. Nose, palate, and finish all come with an intensity that has enough substance to take you back on a wonderful trip down memory lane. Though I do think your memories will most likely be triggered if you grew up in the countryside like I did. If you’d like to try a Waterford Whisky someday, this Heritage Hunter is an excellent bottle to be on the lookout for. Thank you so much Herbert for sending me a sample!

Rating:

87/100

Dramble on!

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