This episode of Spirits of Whisk(e)y is entirely a visual experience, check out the video version below.
This week's guest on Spirits of Whisk(e)y is Mark Reynier, Founder of Waterford Whisky in Waterford, Ireland, the Emerald Isle's oldest city, as well as Renegade Rum Distillery on the tiny Caribbean island nation of Grenada. Listen and learn how this former wine merchant went from resurrecting Islay's long-shuttered Bruichladdich Distillery and helping to revive the tradition of Scottish gin making by introducing The Botanist to converting a former Guinness brewery into Waterford Distillery, makers of more than 35(!) single malt—and single farm—whiskies.
Winemakers have long accepted the concept of terroir and its influence on a wine’s flavors and character, but it’s a polarizing topic in the spirits industry. Naysayers argue that spirits can’t express a sense of place, but Waterford Whisky founder and industry trailblazer Mark Reynier is proving that terroir can have a profound effect on the quality and character of single malt whisky by prioritizing where the grain was grown and harvested.
Influenced by his experience in the wine industry, Mark is rewriting the whisky handbook at Waterford. The distillery produces a range of exceptional single malt, barley-forward Whiskies unlike any on the market today. Waterford has sourced from 97 individual farms, some of them organic and biodynamic, and stores, malts and distills the grain separately to express the distinctive character of each site. He is going a step further by highlighting not only the soils but the growers as well.
Mark is an iconoclast in the luxury whisky scene. He was raised in the wine industry—Mark’s grandfather established a wine importing company and owned retail shops in London and his father began selling wine wholesale after World War II. An entrepreneur and maverick, Mark launched one of London’s premier wine and spirits shops, La Reserve. His love affair with whisky started after he won a ₤1,000 bottle of whisky at a London Wine Fair. In 2000, Mark resurrected the defunct Bruichladdich distillery in Islay, Scotland; he later sold it to Remy Martin. Ready to start a new venture, he purchased the former Guinness brewery in Waterford, Ireland, in 2014, and turned it into a state-of-the-art distillery.
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