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First Look: Waterford Micro Cuvée: Pique-Nique Single Malt

What you need to know:

  • Waterford Distillery from Ireland has released yet another expression under the Micro Cuvée series called the Pique-Nique.
  • The Micro Cuvée series is really inspired by the French wine concept of Cuvée, and is an experiment in the components of Waterford’s spirits that would eventually make up the distillery’s future matured expressions.
  • The Pique-Nique expression focuses on revealing lively summer fruit notes. It is bottled at 50% ABV, retails at around €90 and is limited to 2,000 bottles.
  • It is currently only available in the European markets, so lucky you, friends from Europe!



Whisky legend Mark Reynier’s Waterford Distillery has just launched another Cuvée series expression – the Waterford Micro Cuvée, Pique-Nique Single Malt. 

While Reynier is a well-respected figure in whisky world (popularising Bruichladdich’s single malt and more recently founding Waterford), French wines are really where Mark got exposed to the alcohol business.


Mark Reynier entered the alcohol business running a French wine company.


The young Mark helped his family run a French wine distribution business before being exposed to the colourful word of whisky distillation. This also explains Reynier’s obsession with exploring French wine concepts in whisky-making what with using prestigious wine cask finishes and a heavy focus on terroir in whisky-making.


So what exactly is the Micro Cuvée series about?

The Waterford Micro Cuvée series is the exploration of another concept borrowed from the French wine world. Cuvée is a French wine term that refers to the layer that adds a specific flavour element to a finished bottle of wine.


(Image Source: The Wine Drinker’s Tasting Notes)


The distillery comments that their Micro Cuvée series is something of an experiment in the components of Waterford’s spirits that would eventually make up the complexity of the pièce de resistance that the distillery finally unveils – by god knows when:-

A cuvée is the sum of its parts – layer upon layer of individual, unique component spirits to bring about greater complexity. And a Micro Cuvée is something of a playful experiment: a chance for Head Distiller Ned to consult his little black book of recipes, to show us some of the curious assemblages he has been working on in his lab.


The Pique-Nique expression

The latest Cuvée is the Pique-Nique expression is made from Single Farm Origin whiskies and focuses on lively summer fruit notes.  

The bottle comes with a vibrant azure blue and emerald green label. And with a pointillist label art and name like Pique-Nique, the expression is certainly evocative of the summertime picnicking crowd in Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.


(Painting: Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte; Artist: Georges Seurat)


Judging from what we've seen come out of Waterford these past years, this appears to have a thicker texture and is one of the richer and oilier Waterford expressions.

From the notes and this image, I’m guessing this must be a much richer, oilier dram from Waterford - just check out the whisky "legs" that cling to the walls of the glass! (Image Source: Waterford Distillery)


The distillery’s official tasting notes suggest the following:- 

Appearance: A peach blush with luscious oils.
Nose: Strawberries & cream, a walk through a garden in summer bloom, pear peeling, freshly cut grass, carrot cake, sea mist, toasted almonds, hay dust, mint chocolate, mixed berries. 
Palate:  Dry but mouth puckering with a spice heat that grows and lingers, dark chocolate with sultans, coriander, blood oranges, crème brûlée, peppercorns, porridge and honey, ginger, plums, bell peppers. 
Finish: Lingering spice that goes from dry to chewy, a summers nose and a taste to take you to a balmy summers night. 


This expression bottled at 50% ABV, retails at around €90 and is limited to 2,000 bottles. Sadly for some of you, this appears to be only available in the European Union at the moment. If you do have an address in the EU, you may order a bottle directly from the distillery.