Penderyn distillery

The Penderyn distillery was established in 1999 and launched its first whisky on St. David's Day in 2004. It now uses exclusively ex-Bourbon casks from Buffalo Trace for its first maturation and, for its finishes, selects a variety of sherry, port and Madeira casks from different suppliers. All whiskies are matured from 5½ to 8 years but none have an age statement. Current annual production is about 370,000 ℓ of pure alcohol, which is approximately 1,000,000 bottles. Penderyn has plans to open two more distilleries; one in Llandudno in 2021 and another in Swansea in 2022. Once again, the emphasis will be on quality and not on mass-production.

The first two stills in Penderyn are of the batch column type and produce a new make spirit in a single distillation. Unlike conventional stills, column stills have a very long neck that, at Penderyn, is in two separate parts connected by a copper pipe. The columns contain perforated flat plates that allow the alcohol vapour to condense and flow back into the still base becoming more refined as it does so. The spirit vapour is taken off at a suitable point, passed through a condenser and into the new make spirit receiver. There are also two conventional stills, installed in 2014, one a wash still, the other a smaller spirit still.

The Process

28 tonnes of malted barley from Norfolk is delivered every 2-3 weeks and stored in a silo. Batches of 1500kg are milled to provide a grist comprising 70% meal, 20% husk and 10% flour. To extract the sugras in the barley, the grist is mixed with 6000ℓ of water at about 65°C, left to soak and then drained, then a second water at a higher temperature and then a third at up to 90°C. The third water has so little sugar in it that it is used as part of the next batch's first water. The wort is cooled and then two yeasts are added to convert the sugars to alcohol. The fermentation finishes after 72 hours after which it contains 8-9% alcohol. The wash goes into the wash still where it is distilled to produces low wines at about 23-25% alcohol. The resulting low wines then go into the spirit still which produces a heart spirit in the range 75-67% alcohol. This new make spirit is diluted to 63% with Penderyn's own spring water before being sent by IBC to the warehouse for maturing.

None of Penderyn's whisky has an age statement.

The Tastings

Three whiskies were tasted at the distillery on 11th September 2020 and hosted by Lauren.

  • Madeira - a 46% whisky finished in Madeira casks. Tasting notes: honey, pepper, dried fruit and pear drops on the nose, a palate of treacle and honey, long finish.
  • Portwood - a 46% dark amber whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks and then 2½-3 years in Port pipes. Tasting notes: oak, vanilla and cinnamon on the nose, long sweet treacle finish.
  • Rich Oak - a 46% whisky matured in a range of specially selected ex-bourbon and rejuvenated oak casks. This whisky has a Kosher certificate. Tasting notes: A creamy texture with vanilla, oak, cinnamon and toffee. Vanilla finish.

Other Products

The distillery produces a range of whisky expressions and these are available in online and retail shops.


Penderyn PortwoodBottle of Penderyn Portwood