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The Wood

The individual characteristics of a malt whisky are influenced by a number of different factors. These include the variety and quality of malted barley used, the water source, and the design and operation of the still. However, much of the flavour – and the final colour – depends on the type of wooden barrels used for maturation.

The Penderyn house style derives uniquely from the use of two types of casks. For the initial maturation, we use the finest hand-selected bourbon barrels, and to finish the whisky we transfer it to Portuguese barriques that have previously nurtured a rich Madeira wine. Each cask is closely watched and regularly ‘nosed’ until the wood has imparted its full gift of flavour and the whisky has reached the point of perfection.

It is a moment that can only be judged by the exquisite precision of the human senses.

The Wood
Buffalo Trace itself has won numerous awards. We also use barrels from Evan Williams, which are similarly of outstanding quality. They bring great provenance, too. Evan Williams himself came from Wales and was one of the founders of the American Bourbon industry.

We have a special relationship with one of the finest cooperages, who themselves only supply the very best Madeira houses.

Madeira is a sweet, complex wine of great rarity produced only on the island of Madeira. It is capable of aging for over 100 years. Slowly our spirit will leach the Madeira from the oak, increasingly gaining in subtlety and complexity. Only when this process is complete will our Master Distiller allow us to bottle that spirit at Penderyn. Occasionally we will use a different wood for different expressions of Penderyn, but even our delicate peated edition will retain the character of the spirit.

Port Wood barrels from Portugal and dry Oloroso Sherry casks from Spain are used to produce limited bottles of our spirit.
Our consultant, Dr Jim Swan, is not only one the world’s finest Master Distillers, but is the world authority on wood management.
In our case, no expense is spared in sourcing the finest barrels available, which come only from the best Tennessee and Kentucky distilleries. A high proportion begin life at Buffalo Trace, which is widely recognised as one of the finest bourbons in the world and is well known for using the best barrels in the industry.