Wales      Cymru


Wales is part of the United Kingdom. Its neighbours are England, the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. Three million people live in a country with 1.200 Km coastline. Wales forever or Cymru am Byth (Welsh) is their line. 21% of the population speak Welsh, a Gaelic dialect of the Brythonic branch.

Whisky distilling has a very long tradition in Wales and goes back to the 4th century A.D. The Welsh hero Reaullt Hir is said to have distilled some sort of aqua vitae. Monks on the 20.000 Saints‘ Island Bardsey (South of Angelsey, North Wales) distilled a mead-mix of barley, yeast and honey called braggot. It is reported that the monks learnt this technique of distilling from Greecian traders. There is no proof of this story that Wales is the first place of distilling on the British Isles.

However, true is that the Welsh loved feasts and drinking: „Findtan, son of Níal Níamglonnach decided to prepare a feast, with one hundred vats of every kind of drink.“ See What a party!

Great ,mystic‘ distilling history does not match reality. There was a commercial distillery in Dale in Pembrokeshire in 1705. Evan Evans operated this distillery but emigrated to the USA where he became one of the founding fathers of the Bourbon industry. Jack Daniel also claims some Welsh roots.

In 1889 Edward Charles Nicholls of London founded a Welsh Whiskey Distillery Co. Ltd. in Frongoch, Llanfor (North Wales) which was taken over by William Owen in 1900.  A Royal Welsh Whisky was produced until 1907.

In the seventies The Welsh Whisky Co. produced a Chwiskgi Cymreig Cyf. Their blended whisky Swn y’ Mor (Sound of the Sea) and Prince of Wales were filtered through seven Welsh herbs interpretating a recipe of Reaullt Hir. The single malt came reportedly from Tomatin Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Production had to be ceased in 1996 as a result of a law suit by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) as the blenders stated on the label that the whisky was „produced in Wales“. Their efforts of distilling their own spirit failed by quality.

William Delmé Evans, the Welsh engineer and architect, designed the distilleries of Tullibardine, Jura, Glenallachie and to a certain extend also Macduff (all of them are situated in Scotland). He „...was in the forefront of Scotland’s whisky revival and his concern for energy efficiency and conservation was many years ahead of his colleagues. He undoubtedly helped to improve the quality and profitability of the entire industry by designing three of the most successful distilleries in the country.“ (Scotsman, August 22, 2003). The distillery-innovator was born in Wales in 1920 and died in 2003 in Herefordshire, England.

Welsh Distilling was reborn by the foundation of The Welsh Whisky Company in 1988. In the village Penderyn, north of Cardiff, at the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, a Welsh spirit run on September 14th, 2000. Dr David Faraday‘s still defined a new type of Welsh Malt Spirit produced at Penderyn Distillery.

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