Barley forward Terroir-driven producer, Waterford Distillery, has won best in class and five medals at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC), one of the industry’s most influential and prestigious global tasting events.
Leading the way was Waterford’s Single Farm Origin: Hook Head, which won not only the “Best Irish Single Malt” title but also picked up the overall award for the “Best Irish Whiskey”.
The Waterford whiskies received high praise from the judging panel, adding to Waterford’s flurry of prestigious industry awards wins this year, firmly establishing the new boy on the block as one of the world’s leading distillers.
Established in 2000, the annual SFWSC event revealed its winners across a range of sectors, judged by some of the most respected and experienced experts in the spirits industry. All entries are judged via controlled blind tasting to determine the best in class amongst some of the world’s most premium spirits.
Waterford collected the following titles:
- BEST IRISH WHISKEY & BEST IRISH SINGLE MALT: Single Farm Origin – Hook Head Edition 1.1.
- DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL: Single Farm Origin – Hook Head: Edition 1.1
- DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL: Single Farm Origin – Dunmore: Edition 1.2
- GOLD MEDAL: Single Farm Origin – Dunbell Edition 1.2
- GOLD MEDAL: Organic – Gaia: Edition 1.1
- SILVER MEDAL: Single Farm Origin – Lakefield: Edition 1.1
Mark Reynier, CEO of Waterford Distillery, commented: “We entered five whiskies and came away with seven awards, including “Best Irish Whiskey” of all. At a mere four years of age, perhaps proof that fancy age statements don’t necessarily equate to quality in the eyes of competition judges. There’s no secret to making Ireland’s best whisky: Ireland’s best barley; fermenting cool and controlled; distilling low and slow; and the finest good wood.
“To win the two main category prizes at the world’s most prestigious competition in our first year is indeed humbling – but imagine how good these whiskies will be with a few more years of maturation.”
Unlike other producers, Waterford Distillery’s focus is on exploring barley grown on the diverse terroirs of the South East of Ireland, and ultimately how these influence the flavours of single malt whisky – as proven in their pioneering academic paper, published in the top peer-review journal Foods earlier this year. The concept, which is commonly practiced among the greatest wine producers, is the principle that factors such as weather, soil, and microclimate influence the flavours of found in barley to create truly authentic flavours of a place.
To show its terroir-driven approach, Waterford Distillery has a unique a digital logistical system to keep track of each farmer’s crop – how it is harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately – guaranteeing the integrity of each Single Farm Origin – this is shown to drinkers on every bottle of whisky via their pioneering TEIREOIR code.