Waterford Hook Head 1.1, 3yo, 50%

I’ve not done the tally, but it feels like Waterford has released whisky from about 300 different farms in Ireland in the last year or so. I understand they’re going for terroir, and you need to be able to compare one to the other, but it seems that under Reynier’s guidance, the distillery is doing the same as Bruichladdich did in the early years after reopening:

Release all the whisky. Not some. All.

Of course, they use a similar set of casks for all of them, in this case First Fill Bourbon, Virgin Oak, Vin Doux Naturel and Frech Oak, if I understand the abbreviations on Whiskybase correctly.

You can check a lot of things on the Waterford website, from harvesting dates to the name of the farmer to a soundscape of the surroundings of the field where the barley was grown. Quite nicely done for the geeks out there!

While I don’t care for the velocity of the releases, as in “I cannot keep up”, I do love that they are so open about everything that’s happening. A lot of brands could learn a thing or two here.

Of course, the main question is whether or not it tastes good.

Waterford Hook Head: Edition 1.1
Image from Whiskybase

Sweet and malty on the nose. Intense with quite some green, grainy and foresty notes. It becomes slightly bread like after a while.

Dry and malty sweet on the pslate, with a white peppery heat. Bread crust, moss, oak, tree bark, barley and straw. A slightly fruity sweet note behind it.

The finish shows some more typical wine cask notes. Like it’s compensating for the lack before it. Maltose and boiled candy.

I don’t think I’m a huge fan of the casks used for Waterford’s whiskies. If it were up to me, I’d go for more timid casks so the spirit gets to shine all the brighter. In this case I feel the wine casks add too much sweetness and just push everything else down a notch or two.

So, while I did enjoy the first few Waterfords, and still have to taste the entirety of batch two (even though I have the bottles and did a bottle-share with them), I don’t really like this one.


Available almost everywhere


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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