Midleton unveils first Irish oak-finished whiskey

25th February, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has launched its first Irish whiskey finished in virgin Irish oak as part of its Midleton single pot still range.

Midleton-Dair-Ghaelach

Midleton Dair Ghaelach is the first whiskey by Pernod Ricard Irish Distillers to be finished in virgin Irish oak

The result of a six-year exploration by the Midleton Distillery into the affect of using native oak to age Irish whiskey, Midleton Dair Ghaelach is a combination of whiskey aged 15 to 22-years-old that has been aged in Bourbon casks, before being married together and aged in Irish oak hogshead for an additional year.

Meaning “Irish oak”, the expression is said to have an increased flavour of vanilla, caramel and chocolate as a result of the higher levels of vanillin and vanillic acid, as well as furfural, in Irish oak compared with American and Spanish varieties.

The brand’s master blender, Billy Leighton, and master of maturation, Kevin O’Gorman, led Midleton’s team to source oak exclusively from sustainable forests in Ireland.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach is the first in a number of planned Irish virgin oak releases, and has been aged in casks made from oak sourced from Grinsell’s Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny.

Each bottle can be traced back to one of 10 130-year-old Irish oak trees in Grinsell’s Wood, which were felled in April 2012.

Midleton then oversaw the creation of the casks at Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where after drying for 15 month the staves were worked into 48 Irish Oak Hogshead casks and given a medium toast.

“With the recent resurgence in plantation, only now has it been viable for us to consider Irish Oak in the maturation of our whiskeys while ensuring that the oak reserves can be enjoyed by generations to come,” said Midleton’s master of maturation Kevin O’Gorman

“After six years in the making, Midleton Dair Ghaelach has been a journey of exploration into the craft of Irish whiskey maturation and we are equally delighted with and excited by the newest member of our single pot still Irish whiskey family.”

Bottled at a cask strength of 58.1% abv, Midleton Dair Ghaelach will be available in Ireland, France and South Africa from April at an RRP of US$250.

In October last year, former Midleton Distillery master distiller Barry Crockett has temporarily come out of retirement to create Midleton Very Rare 30th Anniversary Pearl Edition.

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