It’s now time to highlight a very special distillery in Wales. Peculiar name, great location and a lot of knowledge and innovation makes this project very exciting and unique. Not to mention their journey on the route to their very own whisky.
In the Welsh Wind Distillery was founded by Ellen Wakelam and Alex Jungmayr as a direct response to the inspiration they found in the small craft gin distilleries of the Scottish Highlands during a trip in September 2017. The couple had previously set the course of their lives together during a three-month adventure, walking and wild camping around the circumference of Wales. They returned from the walk to set up in business, initially turning to Alex’s baking skills, catering for holiday makers, and providing bread to local businesses. When Alex developed a gluten intolerance, they sold up and headed to Scotland where they happened upon a bottle of locally distilled gin.
In the Welsh Wind was founded 3 months after they came back from Scotland, in January 2018 with a £25,000 loan from a family member. Through a twist of fate, the first gins they created were for other brands and businesses rather than their own: first a local bar, then a Maltese business looking for a gin producer. The business now makes over 60 custom spirits for different brands, including a number of the Welsh brands, as well as for international customers. The distillery launched its own In the Welsh Wind and Eccentric ranges in 2020.
They are very innovative but respectful of tradition and equally unafraid to tread their own path. With no formal distilling qualifications, Ellen and Alex established an award-winning business and now run a successful apprenticeship programme to upskill others in the industry. Both the In the Welsh Wind and Eccentric ranges feature award-winning spirits including Global Spirit Masters top medals in both gin and vodka. Alongside gin, the distillery is pioneering a 100% grain to glass Welsh Origin Whisky. They work with a local farmer to use grain grown at and within 10 miles of the distillery and have developed their own in-house malting process so that the grain stays in Wales. Rather than kiln-drying the grain, the distillery’s approach is to mash in on green malt, so that the flavour of the grain remains prevalent, and will result in a whisky with a distinctive flavour profile attributable to the land where the grain is grown. Inspired by the Islay distilleries, the team are particularly interested in the influence the cask has on spirits – not only on gins, but on the new make which will become their first Welsh Origin Whisky. Wales has no tradition of peated whisky, so the cask has a key role in the final flavour of the finished spirit, along with the locally grown barley. Their Welsh Origin Whisky 30 litre cask offering allows those with an experimental inclination to choose from 10 different cask seasonings. The eagerly-anticipated whisky will be ready from 2025.
In the Welsh Wind has a wonderful line up of spirits and many other expressions are maturing quietly and waiting for the perfect time to be released. They also distil for other companies and are great at creating and hosting events including their gin making experience with their miniature stills to be operated by the guests. It is a great location and a fantastic distillery to visit.
In the Welsh Wind Dry Gin – 43% ABV
Bright zesty nose, lots of oily citrus, juniper and crisp green herbs in the background. Sweet spices shine through (maybe cinnamon or cassia bark? Maybe Welsh cake?) cool, refreshing and round on the palate. The alcohol is well integrated and fresh. The spice is nicely present on the palate. Nose and palate in order and the palate delivers the beautiful promise of the nose. It has a long spicy finish with cooling juniper throughout. This is a slightly spicier modern take on a classic dry gin and it is fantastic in a G&T or many traditional and modern gin cocktails.
Palo Cortado Finish Gin ITWW – 43 % ABV
Lifted strong juniper and citrus with a nice plump fruity touch, cherry, raisins and a floral cherry blossom note on the nose. There’s lemon peel and spices and some gentle wood notes adding to the sherry character. It is smooth and nutty with white almonds and apricots. Tangerine and grapefruit supported with cedar, pine and juniper. Soft and delicate on the palate, luxurious mouthfeel with a gentle richness and a long fresh finish. A great composition of flavours. It is amazing in a dry martini but substitute the vermouth with either Palo Cortado or Fino sherry and use both an olive and a big lemon zest for garnish.
Mackmyra 8 yr old single malt whisky finished and independently bottled at 48% by In the Welsh Wind Distillery
A beautiful collaboration between a Welsh genius and a Swedish cult classic. It is In the Welsh Wind’s first independent bottling under their own label. They have added their own ‘In the Welsh Wind’ touch: a final flourish in a Banyuls fortified wine cask in order to finish this beauty. It is complex and expressive with toffee and caramel, silver birch bark and even reminiscent of pine tar, along with the sweet rich notes of Banyuls sweet wine from the cask, unpeated and stitched together with a refreshing and smooth bergamot citrus finish. This is a modern single malt with a lot of character.