Knockroe Farm

The dive into terroir, an unlikely term in the whisky world.

As a “whisky person”, who lives a mere 20 minutes away from some of South Africa’s top vineyards, the concept of a whisky inspired by “Bordeaux’s greatest Chateaux”, is rather thrilling to me (to say the least).

When we dissect Waterford, Ireland’s much talked about distillery, we find that they have created Single Malts inspired by Terroir. 100% Irish Barley, including some Organic and Biodynamic, all sourced with 100% transparency. Now, these terms, so nonchalantly thrown around, are not usually associated with whisky making, so as we celebrate the arrival of Waterford’s latest global release, The Cuvée, South Africa, let’s un-pack some of their unique story!

Waterford Organic 1.1

The distillery with the unusual inspiration.

Waterford currently work with over 100 different farmers in Ireland, some of them organic, some bio-dynamic, all contracted by Waterford to grow barely specifically for the distillery.

The process of working with these farmers has created their core range, Single Farm Origin series. South Africa has two exclusive Single Farm Origins, we have Knockroe and Cooladine, these are names of the respective Barley farms in Ireland. The barley is harvested, transported, stored separately, and not to forget it’s distilled separately. Therefore, each farms individual “terroir” (the climate, the geography, the soil) is captured, as the new make flows from the Waterford stills.

Now let’s put this into perspective, there are very few distilleries, in Scotland and Ireland who highlight where their barley is actually from. Most often its’ bulk bought from somewhere in the UK, or Eastern European countries.

So, as I write this from SA’s beautiful winelands, I conclude that a whisky created with a thread of inspiration from some of the world’s top winemakers, is a good thing, a very good thing indeed!


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