Marking a significant milestone in the rise on of Welsh whisky, Aber Falls Distillery in Abergwyngregyn, between the foothills of the Snowdonian mountains and the Menai straits, has today launched its first 100% Welsh single malt whisky.
The ‘Inaugural Release’, consisting of 2,000 bottles, is quintessentially Welsh; milled and distilled in North Wales using 100% Welsh malted barley and rock-filtered water from the Aber Falls waterfall. It’s also aged in the Distillery’s local Welsh warehouses, before being bottled on site at the Distillery. This exceptional single malt was distilled in a copper pot still and matured along the coastline of North Wales in a mix of wooden barrels, including American and European oak, Spanish sherry, Virgin oak and Orange Wine casks selected to enhance the flavour profile during maturation.
The glowing amber expression, produced and bottled on-site, is alive with tropical fruit flavours at first, followed by scents of sweet hay and cut grass. The palate delivers warmth with dark chocolate and golden syrup before rounding off with a touch of cream and vanilla to finish.
Responsible for orchestrating the taste profile has been the distillery team and Dr Kirsty McCallum, Master Blender at Aber Falls, said: “The setting of Aber Falls is so unique, nestled between the Menai Straits and the Carneddau mountain range, offering a remote microclimate, creating the ideal conditions to influence the character of the whisky. One of the big advantages of producing whisky in Wales is having more scope to experiment with a variety of casks, and our wood strategy has also been a key contributor to the finished liquid, which we’re extremely pleased with for a three-year-old bottling.”
The Inaugural Release, which is the first of many age-declared whiskies and special editions planned for the future, is bottled at 46% ABV, and the 70cl expression has an RRP of £45.
To complement the unique characteristics of the whisky from the first Distillery in North Wales for more than 100 years, the ‘Inaugural Release’ has a bespoke bottle, boldly embossed with the brand’s unique Triquetra and topped off with a wooden cap, reinforcing the Distillery’s heritage and the brand story. The bottle is presented in a simple yet striking gift box made from fully sustainable materials, supporting Aber Falls’ pledge to be 100% sustainable in the future.
James Wright, Managing Director at Aber Falls Whisky Distillery and a member of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, believes if you want to make history, you have to do historic things. Speaking of marking a major step towards his vision, Wright said; “We are really proud and excited to offer this whisky to our customers, the first to be distilled in North Wales for 100 years. We believe it brings together the very best Welsh ingredients. These credentials truly incapsulate how we’ve captured the ‘Spirit of North Wales’ within the Inaugural Release and demonstrate the distillery’s distinctive character, laying the foundation for future releases, with our non-aged declared bottling due in September. The team also deserves a special mention; they’re local people producing a local product using local materials and all are incredibly passionate about what they do.”
Previously a slate works in the 19th century and a margarine factory during the world wars, Aber Falls Distillery opened in 2017 and rose to fame with its production of gins and liqueurs that have achieved a spate of awards, creating brand recognition in the UK and beyond.
Welsh and proud, Aber Falls Distillery prides itself on its portfolio’s provenance, so much so, that in collaboration with other Welsh distilleries, it is working towards protecting Welsh whisky with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). As well as protecting the status of Welsh whisky, Aber Falls Distillery is working hard to protect the local environment by adopting an ethos of field-to-field, maximising local resources by returning any waste ingredients back to local farms for use as fertiliser or cattle feed.
Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, said: “The production of Aber Falls Whisky benefits Wales at every stage; it utilises Welsh skilled workers and Welsh ingredients, and contributes to a more sustainable production system in that waste products go on to be used in other Welsh industries. It’s a shining example of the types of initiative we are trying to nurture, and we have every confidence that Aber Falls will achieve its ambition of putting Wales on the world map as a producer of excellent food and drink.”
The Inaugural Release is available through Aberfalls.co.uk where details of future releases will also be posted.