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Archive for tag: Penderyn

Wonderful Welsh Whisky

PenderynDid you know Wales produces its own whisky? It might not be as well known as its Scottish or Irish counterparts, but that is changing.

Penderyn Whisky (which takes its name from the village in the Brecon Beacons National Park where the distillery is based) started production in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century. The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

And if you're really into your whisky, why not try the Penderyn Distillery Master Class tour. This includes a detailed tour of the distillery, an in-depth look at how the whisky is made and also an expert tasting session.

For more details take a look at their website - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk

Iechyd da!

GTOA All Set for Southern Wales

Caerphilly CastleA busy weekend is in store for us as welcome the Group Travel Organisers Association Western Branch to the region for a familiarisation visit.

The group, who are in Cardiff for their AGM, will also take time to visit some of the area's best attractions and sample some legendary Welsh hospitality.

The tour will kick off with a visit to Llancaiach Fawr, a 17th century manor house near Caerphilly, which takes you back in time to see how the servants worked and lived during the civil war.

Back in the present day, and the group will then head for Wales' only distillery at Penderyn in at the top of the Rhondda Valley.

From there they head to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet near Bridgend, to browse (and spend) in some of the centre's 90 designer and big name stores.

Dinner at Llanerch Vineyard will round off the day in a relaxing manor.

The following day, the group will head for the St Fagans National History Museum and enjoy a trip aboard the Cardiff Bay Road Train.  Whilst in the Bay, they'll also visit the Norwegian Church and the Senedd.

The weekend will then be rounded off in unforgettable style with a sumptuous feast at Cardiff Castle's famous Welsh Banquets.

The group will be guided by Steve Griffin from Griffin Guiding.

We hope the GTO's have a great time and that they will be inspired to return with their groups in the not too distant future.

Discover Rhondda Cynon Taf

Lluest-wen ReservoirNestled at the heart of the Southern Wales is perhaps the most famous valley in the world. Once upon a time, the Rhondda Valley produced the coal that powered the world.

How times change, the pits and heaps have long gone to be replaced by glorious countryside and great mountain top views.

There are still reminders of the area's past, not least at the Rhondda Heritage Park, where in the company of an ex miner you embark on an Underground Experience Tour. Find out what life was like for the men (and indeed boys) who worked in the mines.

Up above the valley, the views from the mountain tops are spectacular. There are many walks and routes to follow, not least from the Dare Valley Country Park. Who knows, they might lead to historic sites or hidden waterfalls.

The valley actually stretches all the way up to the Brecon Beacons.  And it is here, in the foothills of the mountains that you will find the tiny village of Penderyn, home to the only whisky distillery in Wales.

They started production here in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century. The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

For more information on this region of Southern Wales, please visit the website.

Penderyn Distillery Tours

Penderyn DistilleryDid you know Wales produces its own whisky? It might not be as well known as its Scottish or Irish counterparts, but that is changing.

Penderyn Whisky (which takes its name from the village in the Brecon Beacons National Park where the distillery is based) started production in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century. The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

And if you're really into your whisky, why not try the Penderyn Distillery Master Class tour. This includes a detailed tour of the distillery, an in-depth look at how the whisky is made and also an expert tasting session.

For more details take a look at their website - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk

Iechyd da!

Master Class at Penderyn

Penderyn DistilleryLast week I was invited by the people at Penderyn Whisky to undertake one of their master class tours.

Now, this isn't your ordinary tour. They of course do them as well. They last around an hour and are always good fun. But the master class tour is a lot more in depth. It lasts 2 and a half hours and is for those with a real interest in whisky and how it's made.

The tour was lead by the distiller Gillian Macdonald, who incidentally is one of the only female distillers in the world. We were joined by some locals, a group of friends on a stag weekend from Leicester and Megan Eaves (@megoizzy), a journalist from the United States who I was accompanying.

It all began in the boardroom which overlooks the bottling plant. Here we found out about the history of distilling in Wales and how Penderyn Whisky came into being at the turn of the century. (In case you're wondering, plans were literally drawn up one evening on the back of a beer mat at the local pub).

We then learnt about the different types of whisky from around the world and how Scottish Whisky was different to Irish Whiskey and what made Penderyn different and unique (It is made using just one still - you see I was paying attention).

Gillian then explained what made a good whisky and what flavours you could expect to find in one. She then had a little test for us. She passed around 10 bottles containing aromas to see if we had a distiller's nose and could identify the smells. I managed a 100% record in identifying the flavours - yes 0 out of 10. I don't think Gillian will be appointing me as her assistant anytime soon.
Penderyn Distillery Still
Then it was downstairs and into the room housing the still where we got a close look at the big copper drum and network of pipes, cables and valves that are needed to produce the whisky. We then saw the different types of casks that the clear whisky is matured in. It's from these casks that the whisky draws its colours and flavours.

Back up to the boardroom where it was time to taste two different types of Penderyn, one of their normal variety and one of the peat flavoured whiskies. The peat whisky was actually created by accident when the distillery was sent the wrong batch of casks to mature their spirit in. The whisky they produced in the end was so nice they decided to bottle and sell it and has become one of their most popular varieties.
Penderyn Distillery Master Class
The master class then naturally ended in the bar where we got to sample more of their produce including their gin, vodka and cream liquor. Gillian was a fantastic host, always ready to answer questions and to make sure we were all having a good time.

I have done the normal tour many times, but this was my first master class. I certainly learnt a lot and the whole experience was very enjoyable and judging by the laughter and good humour so did the rest of the group.

Iechyd da!

For more information on Penderyn Distillery and their tours please visit their website

Just 12 reasons?

According to a recent tweet, Visit Britain said there are 12 great reasons to visit Wales.  Great news of course, but I'm sure there are many more. 

Here are 12 of my own suggestions but please feel free to add some of your own below.

Reasons to visit Wales
1. Spectacular Scenery
2. Rugged coastline ( a new 850 mile round Wales coastal path will be opening soon, allowing you to enjoy every inch of it)
3. Friendly people
4. Caerphilly Castle - one of the biggest in Europe
5. St Fagans National History Musueum - a fantastic open air museum
6. The highest mountain in England and Wales (and a train to take you to the top of it)
7. Visit the locations used to film Doctor Who (which as it happens was the subject of a different Visit Britain blog)
8. Three World Heritage Sites
9. Three National Parks
10. Penderyn Distillery, making fantastic Welsh whisky
11. Great surfing beaches including Rest Bay, Porthcawl
12. The magnificent Millennium Stadium, home to our equally magnificent rugby team

Whistle Stop Tour of Southern Wales

Six Bells Mining MemorialI had a great couple of days out of the office showing a group from UK Inbound around our area.

UK Inbound is a trade association that represents Tour Operators from around the world who bring travellers into the UK.  And 15 of those operators pitched up in Cardiff on Thursday to see what Southern Wales could offer them.

Arriving in Cardiff Central train station the group made the short journey out to Llanerch Vineyard on the outskirts of the city where they enjoyed a cookery demonstration from chef Angela Grey in the vineyard's cookery school.  Next it was into the restaurant for lunch and a welcome from owner Ryan Davies who gave the group a taste Llanerch's very own wine.

Following Llanerch Vineyard the group made the quick hop to the UK's favourite Tourist Attraction, the St Fagans National History Musuem.  They were intrigued by the buildings which make up the museum's exhibits, particularly the Workingmen's Institute, church and the row of ironworkers' cottages from Merthyr Tydfil.

Caerphilly CastleThe following day saw the group visit Caerphilly Castle, one of the biggest in Europe, before winding their way through the Southern Wales Valleys to the town of Tredegar and the newly restored Bedwellty House.  From there it was a short journey to the village of Six Bells and the impressive sight of the Guardian Mining Memorial.  Next stop was the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre for lunch and a quick tour to find out why the area has been named as a World Heritage Site.

Then it was time for many people's highlight of the day, a tour of the Penderyn Distillery, the only whisky distillery in Wales.  The group had a guided tour of the site where they learned all about the process of making Welsh wysgi before finding themselves in the bar where they could sample some of the finished product.

The group then headed back to Cardiff for their last night in Wales.  We only had a couple of days to show them what we can offer.  We really could have done with a couple of weeks instead.

You can see more images from the trip on our flickr page

Wonderful Welsh Whisky

Here at Southern Wales Tourism we spent last week entertaining a group of Dutch and Mexican tour operators, showing them the sights of our region.

It was over dinner one night that they were surprised to learn that Wales produces it's own whisky - Penderyn.  It seemed rude not to buy them a glass or two to sample!

Welsh whisky might not be as well known as its Scottish or Irish counterparts that will surely change soon.

Penderyn Whisky (which takes its name from the village in the Brecon Beacons National Park where the distillery is based) started production in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004.  It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century.  The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and takes visitors on a tour explaining how the distilling process works.  Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

And if you're really into your whisky, why not try the Penderyn Distillery Master Class tour. This includes a detailed tour of the distillery, an in-depth look at how the whisky is made and also an expert tasting session.

For more details take a look at their website - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk

Iechyd da!

Wonderful Welsh Whisky

Penderyn DistilleryDid you know Wales produces its own whisky? It might not be as well known as its Scottish or Irish counterparts but that will surely change soon.

Penderyn Whisky (which takes its name from the village in the Brecon Beacons National Park where the distillery is based) started production in 2000 and the first bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century. The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this water, to produce the whisky.

The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka, gin or cream liquor that they also produce).

And if you're really into your whisky, why not try the Penderyn Distillery Master Class tour. This includes a detailed tour of the distillery, an in-depth look at how the whisky is made and also an expert tasting session.

For more details take a look at their website - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk

Iechyd da!