SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 7

The first week of advent has flown by. And after six days of Scotch it is time for a trip to another country. Behind door number seven hides a Welsh whisky, from the Penderyn distillery. As I love exploring the entire world of whisky, I welcome this little sidestep into Wales with open arms. SMWS named this dram The Magic Faraday Tree and it holds another 8-year-old age statement. The relatively young drams were the standard in this Advent Calendar thus far, with the last seven days featuring: 1x a 10-year-old, 2x a 9-year-old, 3x an 8-year-old, and once a 7-year-old. Even though I’m not an age snob at all, I do hope the age statements pick up a little bit from here considering the high cost of this advent calendar.

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 128.16 “The Magic Faraday Tree”

ABV: 61.4% (122.8 proof)

Age: 8 years old

Distillery: Penderyn

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Welsh Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

There’s an immediate funk here on the nose, that I can’t quite place. The best way I could describe it would be to call it a barnyard smell. There are hints of hay, dirt, and even some manure. It’s covered with a sickly-sweet note, like overripe mashed bananas. There are some deteriorating vegetal notes, like the rotting leaves of last year’s fall. Just a hint of wood smoke peaks through, but you’d have to look very hard to find it. All-in-all there’s plenty going on, but none of it very pleasant. This nose is not for me. The water makes the banana even more sickly-sweet, which truly turns it into overripe banana puree that a one-year-old just regurgitated.

Palate:

That banana note mentioned earlier continues on the palate, but with an unpleasant new layer. It becomes bitter, like the dark bit of the banana you throw away. There’s a different kind of bitterness in this dram as well, one reminiscent of the sediment left after finishing a glass of wine. But there’s also more sweetness, with a little apple and brown sugar mingling with that overripe banana note. The notes blend together, creating a mix of flavours I can’t really appreciate. Here water turns a bit of the bitter notes into a crushed black pepper, which is a welcome change. The banana note becomes overripe puree again, strangely enough mixed with unripe banana at the same time.

Finish:

The finish is rather short and unimpressive. The bitterness fades away and only remains ever so slightly. And some bananas linger here as well. But it’s all very subdued. That could be considered a good thing, because I’d rather not linger on the flavours from the palate for all too long. But it also means there’s no other layer to this dram that can be its saving grace. The finish is just a bit… boring. Water turns up the bitterness a little, but that’s about all there is to it.

Verdict:

It saddens me to say that there wasn’t much I found to my liking in today’s dram. I tried looking up some of the tasting notes from the SMWS themselves and while I agree on the banana notes, that’s about all I can agree on. I don’t like banana flavours in my whisky at all, but the rest of their notes sound quite appetising. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find them in my dram. Not even when I looked for them specifically.

 I wanted to like this dram, because I do appreciate the contribution Penderyn makes to the world of whisky. They have a Portwood offering in their standard line-up that pours a solid dram. But The Magic Faraday Tree is one I’d rather forget as fast as I can. Don’t get me wrong though, the dram has enough things going on that some people might experience as pleasant. Whisky remains very personal and this one just sits on the other side of the spectrum of what I like when I pour myself a dram.

Rating:

55/100

How did I know this was a Penderyn? Just look at the code and find it in my SMWS bottle codes list!

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