Welsh single malt whisky, a product steeped in tradition and heritage, was officially granted UK GI (Geographical Indication) status on the 24th July 2023, securing its place alongside renowned Welsh delicacies like lamb and Anglesey sea salt. This recognition marked a significant milestone for the Welsh whisky industry, which has experienced a remarkable resurgence over the last three decades.
Penderyn, one of Wales’ most renowned whisky distilleries situated in the Bannau Brycheiniog, formerly known as the Brecon Beacons, has garnered international acclaim by earning a coveted spot on National Geographic’s Cool List for 2024. This prestigious list showcases the top 30 destinations worldwide that promise exceptional and unforgettable travel experiences in the upcoming year.
National Geographic’s Cool List for 2024 is a treasure trove of diverse and enticing travel opportunities, ranging from connecting with nature in Norway and scaling Himalayan peaks in Sikkim to embarking on a road trip adventure through Australia. However, this year’s list also features options that are closer to home, right here in the UK, and specifically in Wales, which boasts five UK GI-sanctioned single-malt whisky distilleries.
National Geographic’s acknowledgment of Wales as a whisky destination underscores the region’s rich history in whisky production. Although Scotland and Ireland are often associated with the birthplaces of whisky and whiskey, respectively, Wales boasts a centuries-old tradition of its own. The 19th century witnessed a decline in whisky production in Wales, with a slow and steady revival only beginning in the 1990s. Since then, the industry has flourished, with Welsh single malt whisky joining the prestigious ranks of protected UK GIs in July 2023.
National Geographic stated, “Scotland and Ireland may be the cradles of whisky/whiskey, but Wales has a centuries-old tradition of its own, too. Whisky production here declined in the 19th century, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that the craft saw a slow, steady revival. Since then, the industry has blossomed — so much so that Welsh single malt whisky was awarded UK GI (geographical indication) status in July, joining the likes of Welsh lamb and Anglesey sea salt in receiving the coveted protection.”
For enthusiasts and connoisseurs of this fine spirit, nothing beats experiencing it at the source. Visitors can explore the intricate production methods involved in creating Welsh single malt whisky and even enjoy a dram or two at one of Wales’ four UK GI-sanctioned single-malt distilleries. These include In The Welsh Wind, nestled in the picturesque landscapes above Cardigan Bay, and Penderyn, situated in the heart of Bannau Brycheiniog (formerly the Brecon Beacons). Notably, Penderyn holds the distinction of being Wales’s first commercial distillery in over a century, having opened its doors in 2000.