Wales: Whisky & the Weather
Pictures & Text: Carletto Ferrari // press travel
Due to that Great Britain isn’t only known for the bad weather, the Union Jack and the Queen (concerning latter, Catrin had definitely made this journey), but rather – particularly by naturelovers and photographs – can impress with it’s impressive nature and the Wales Whisky drinking culture, I hit the road in the last days of summer 2018 to a journey on the trail of the Wales Whisky.
The island beyond the (English) Channel commonly known as “England” – anyhow the ninth biggest island of the world and the biggest in Europe – is correctly to separate in three parts, namely in Scottland in the north, in Wales in the west and in England in the south (this is mostly of high value among the Scots and the Welshman). The climate during my traveltime was partly stormy and a little bit moist, but not cold at all, quite the contrary 4 meter high Yuccas testify of mild temperatures in the winter, as well as the beautiful green grass, that is mostly seen on many sheep pastures.
Since I didn’t only come to wales due to the Nature (to that more in the last part of my report), but also to degust the special Welsh Whisky, my first way took me to a sightseeing tour to the center of Cardiff, where my flight from Munich over Paris brought me. The arrive was very easy by the way, with more flexibility than my working calendar allowed me, I could have found a direct flight to Cardiff.
The City of Cardiff
Cardiff itself is a typical british city with a historical center around the medieval Cardiff Castle, a lot of various pubs and the for the island typical gregorian-viktorian architectural style, that grew with the coal mining. A lot of the old seeming castles and historical buildings have their origin in the Middle Ages, but they – decayed or derelict – where taken over and repaired by the “newly rich coal-millionairs”. Owing to this investments you can finde some real cool corner in Cardiff in new-historical sheen, others in turn, like the port quarter Cardiff Bay, are modern highlights with cool architecture. With a typical beer (very smooth and with less carbonic acid) instead of a Wales Whisky and brithish cuisine at the port, I resolved the first day in Wales – with the knowledge about the program of the following day – I went to bed.
The second day had – after a typical “English Breakfast” – Whisky as main program point, and this in a very small Whisky-distillery in Wales, Penderyn, whose Whisky is distributed in Central Europe from the partner “vomFASS“, a German company, together with high-end vines, liquors, vinegars and oils. The small, independent company Penderyn Distillery produces – proceeding from their own well, that is spring-fed from the Welsh outpack, the Brecon Beacons national park – various sorts of Single-Malt-Whisky, that won a lot of prices over the years. The logo of the company is a gold vein, due to that the basic idea behind the business formation was to produce a Whisky that is so pure and precious like Welsh gold. Well after a lot glasses of Whisky, I can confirm that. PS: Every bottle of the best Whiskies is stickered with a handwritten label.
Centerpiece of the production is a unique copper kettle, that was made by a family member of Michael Faraday (a very prominent english inventor of the 19. century; see “Faraday cage”). After the distillation process in this kennel, the Wales Whisky is stored perennial in oak barrels, that where filled with Bourbon before (due to the flavor extraction during the maturation). I can recommend a guided tour in Penderyn to every pleasure lover, as well as the tasting of this noble drops. In contrast to many Scotish and Irish Whiskey-distilleries is the Welsh Whisky in Penderyn actualy small, but fine and original. By the way, to bend the bow to the Queen: Prince Charles is also guest from time to time for a Welsh Whisky. Cheer, mate!
Strengthened by a tasty dinner with steak as main course and salmon with pasta as starter in a church converted to a trendy restaurant (The Chapel in Cardiff), I was ready for the beautiful landscape of Wales the next day. For me I decided to go on a trip along the southcoast of Cardiff over Nash Point at Marcross, Swansea and Mumbles Pier as far afield as Penmaen to the Three Cliffs Beach. The rental car was quickly got and with € 180 it was not expensive at all (ultimately the only option for locomotion). There was only the adjustment to left traffic, but as ambitiously tourist, you may not be put off of this, and after all I was accustomed to the left traffic since our culinary travel to Cyprus 2018.
The south coast of Wales, especially around the lighthouse Nash Ponit, is known for it’s tidal. According to local people the difference between ebb and flow can reach up to 15 meters, what means place 2 worldwide. On the cliffs you can see – especially in connection with the extrem stormy weather at this day – the impressive effects of the waves and the water. Westwards, at Swansea, there are extensive sandy beaches and Piers far stretched into the water, which lend the coast a very “british” striking – and yes, dear Welsh people, I know that we are not in England.
With a little detour back to Cardiff to the airport (in the small town Barry, about 20 minutes out of the center), I came to the pleasure to visit one of the biggest british castles, Caerphilly Castle. This enormous moated castle with a base area of 1,2 hectare is after Windsor Castle the second biggest castle inGroßbritannien and it was the first castle over here, that was built as a fully concentric castle with two ring walls. In conclusion to my visit to Wales, this was a very dignified finish – only my Princess Catrin of Klagenfurt was missing at this nearly royal culinary travel and Whisky tasting!