In our wee cellar at the distillery we have a library of tiny 35-litre American oak “blood tubs”, one per farm distillation, which provide the backbone of the Pilgrimage bottling. Not only are they quite charming to show our farmers who want to check in on previous distillations, but their turbocharged effect on maturation - due to the small surface area to volume ratio - give us a glimpse into the future. Which in some ways is exactly what 1st: Cuvée: Pilgrimage represents.
To mark our launch, Head Distiller Ned brought together each of the 36 farms we distilled in our first year – each one location, captured in spirit, a unique Waterford distillate. It was a fitting way to announce our arrival.
Of the 1,500 of these released, 500 went to staff, shareholders, colleagues and very good friends who helped us along the way. 1,000 of these were meant to be labelled “I Was There” and made available to the public for our open day at the distillery - that was, of course, before the major global complications forced us to postpone the party element. Those labels now say: "The First."
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: light copper with a lovely oiliness on the glass.
Nose: Malty, almonds, fresh zest, leather, fresh linen, damp hay, clove spice, orange chocolate, cooked banana.
Taste: Rich mouth puckering oils with a chew-ability, pepper, cherries, sticky dryness, malt, crème caramel, buttery, milk chocolate. The finish reminds me of warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.