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Issue 76 - Welsh success

Whisky Magazine Issue 76
November 2008

 

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Welsh success

Welsh distillery Penderyn has been bottling its whisky for nearly five years now,and it's going from strength to strength.Dominic Roskrow travelled to the Brecon Beacons National Park to visit it.

When Welsh distiller Gillian Howell got married recently, she faced a dilemma over whether to change her name to her partner's.

“It does create a problem for us,” smiles Penderyn's managing director Stephen Davies.“His name's Macdonald, you see.Howell is a good Welsh name but we can't have people thinking we've got another Scot making our whisky.” Clear water between what happens in Wales and what happens in Scotland has always been a key part of the Penderyn mission statement, as has the desire to avoid being tagged as a Welsh novelty act.

“The last time someone did a Welsh whisky they bought a load of Scottish malt, added a few ingredients from Tesco and called it Welsh whisky,”says Davies.“We want to be taken seriously.But if you want to buy 3,000 rugby balls filled with Scotch I can give you a very good price.” Transparency and authenticity really matter here, and you only need to glance around the distillery and its new visitor centre to know that at every stage, from the distilling and maturation process through to the bottle design, to understand how hard the distillery has worked to be different, and how proud its staff are of the result.

Penderyn is the result of a pub conversation between the landlord of the Glancynnon Inn Alun Evans and two friends,who,over a drink or two,bemoaned the fact that there wasn't a Welsh whisky.The conversation led to some research and then a costing exercise.Before they knew it, the idea had become a reality.

“It w...

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