Bannow Island is a striking farm, a sharp contrast to the majority of our terroirs. Under bright skies where scudding clouds move quickly with the Atlantic winds driving behind them, the soils here are challenged by being surrounded on three sides by a raw coastal environment, where the sandy loam tips down to the very shoreline itself. It is a place alive with history - from here the vanguard of the Norman forces – 30 knights, 60 men-at-arms and 300 archers – embarked on the conquest of Ireland in the late 12th century.
Ed Harpur, a grower with a smile on his face and whose mother is clearly one of the best scone bakers in all of Ireland, has been supplying barley for us since 2015 – part of our "first 40" who took up the challenge of being a Waterford grower.
Look directly down on his barley fields and sand is clearly visible, providing a challenge for nutrients – and during mid-summer one can see specks of white on the barley plant's tips due to their exposure to salt-laden breeze. Over the winter months Ed grows cover crops on his barley fields to keep the soil broken up and the subterranean environment thriving; these crops are grazed by his herd of cattle, who surely must have the best view in Ireland.
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: Light to medium honey colour; the glass is well-coated with very slow legs.
Nose: Malty, red roses, very fresh. Milk chocolate. Warm vanilla custard. Dried fruit, sweet, a perfumed elegance. Bread-and-butter pudding and custard. Walking through a freshly-cut hay field.
Taste: Vibrant, exuberant: white pepper, spicy, cloves, mouth coating with a dried sweetness of salted caramel. Malted biscuits, sherry. Oily and dry finish – mouth puckering.