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Aber Falls debuts its first Welsh whisky

Welsh producer Aber Falls has released its inaugural single malt whisky, the first to be distilled in North Wales for more than a century.

Aber Falls' inaugural whisky
Aber Falls’ first whisky is limited to 2,000 bottles

Aber Falls, which is owned by Halewood Artisanal Spirits, is North Wales’ first whisky distillery for more than 100 years. The distiller also produces Welsh gin and vodka.

Based in Abergwyngregyn, between the foothills of the Snowdonia Mountains and the Menai Strait, Aber Falls become the first producer to commercially distil rye whisky in the country.

Dr Kirstie McCallum, who joined Halewood as master blender this year, said Aber Falls’ setting offers a “remote microclimate, creating the ideal conditions to influence the character of the whisky”.

The new Aber Falls Single Malt Inaugural Release whisky was made using 100% Welsh malted barley and rock-filtered water from the Aber Falls waterfall.

Limited to 2,000 bottles, the whisky was aged in the distillery’s warehouses, before being bottled on site.

The expression was distilled in a copper pot still and matured along the coastline of North Wales in a combination of wooden barrels, including American and European oak, Spanish Sherry, virgin oak and orange wine casks.

McCallum added: “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 whisky has hints of tropical fruit and a nose of sweet hay and cut grass. The palate brings notes of dark chocolate and golden syrup followed by cream and vanilla on the finish.

Future releases

The new expression is the first of a number of age-statement whiskies and special editions planned for the future.

James Wright, managing director at Aber Falls and a member of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, said the whisky “brings together the very best Welsh ingredients”.

He continued: “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-age-declared bottling due in September.”

Bottled at 46% ABV, Aber Falls Single Malt Inaugural Release is priced at RRP £45 (US$63.50) per 700ml. The single malt comes in a gift box made from 100% sustainable materials.

Aber Falls is also working with other Welsh distillers, including Penderyn, to secure geographical indication (GI) status for the whisky category.

Furthermore, the distiller has adopted a ‘field-to-field’ ethos and will return waste ingredients back to local farms for use as fertiliser or cattle feed.

Penderyn opened a new £5 million (US$7 million) distillery in Llandudno, North Wales, today (17 May).

Last month, In the Welsh Wind Distillery received planning approval for a multi-million-pound expansion, which will support the development of grain-to-glass Welsh whisky.

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