As a rule, you shouldn’t look a gift horse–or in this case, a gift mule–in the mouth. But what if that mule has been eating sushi? You’d get a whiff of the breath of that brawny beast of burden, scented with seaweed, sea urchin, and wasabi, and you’d want to know what the hell is going on in there. Upon first nosing and then tasting the Penderyn, one finds the same aromas and flavors: mule mouth infused with masticated uni rolls, and maybe a hint of Ponzu sauce just for good measure. But the heat is paired with–though not at all balanced by–sweetness: honey laced with poblano or even piquin peppers. And though this malt bears no mention of years on its label, a lack of age here should not be confused with timelessness–there is a definite time and place for the Penderyn, and it’s early in the morning, perched on a cliff overlooking a pair of beached carcasses being picked over by surreptitious scrimshaw seekers (“Here’s to you, Wales!”). The most interesting aspect of this malt, however, shows up on the side of its very cool presentation box. Exceptionally balanced? Only if by exceptional here one means when examining a host of balanced malts, this one is the exception. Aroma of cream toffee? Perhaps if by that one means curdled cream. Fleetingly of fresh new leather? Only if that fleeting hint emanates from the crack of a whip driving onward the aforementioned mule. Who’s been drinking too much Penderyn? Perhaps the marketers have.
The Penderyn is the simile–it’s better than the pun (see the awful one above), but unlike alliteration, it lacks subtlety; in the end it’s a lot like…well, “like”: teenagers overuse it, and “as” is much cooler.
*–special thanks to our friend Matt “The Mule” for this malt