SB Voices: Experimentation in Irish whiskey
Nicola Carruthers reflects on the resurgence of the Irish whiskey category, inspired by the experimental nature of Irish Distillers new Method and Madness range.
Irish whiskey seems to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence with the emergence of some recent new launches in the category aiming to challenge the conventions of the category including the unveiling of the “experimental” Method and Madness range.
Focusing on an ethos to “break the rules”, Method and Madness allows the distillers to do something different and push the boundaries of Irish whiskey while also bringing back old Irish whiskeys in to the modern era.
Diageo also returned to the category last month with the launch of its new Roe & Co. brand, since it sold its Irish whiskey brand Bushmill’s two years ago.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Midleton micro-distillery in Cork yesterday, where the Method and Madness range is produced. Spearheaded by master distiller Brian Nation and Karen Cotter, who joined Irish Distillers as a graduate distiller in 2012
The pair have focused on recipes found in the personal notebook of John Jameson II dating back to 1826 and are creating “innovative, small batch” whiskeys based on the recipes and ingredient mixes used by the original Jameson distillers.
The Method and Madness range is all about the experimental nature of whiskey production, aimed at “piquing the interest of whiskey drinkers everywhere”.
Each of the whiskeys in the new portfolio are designed to bring something new to the table of Irish whiskey, showcasing the use of new wood types and teasing us with interesting twists on finishes.
Midleton’s whiskey masters will continue to experiment at the micro-distillery, which will let them test new spirit types and ageing in new cask types. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what kind of experimentation will come out of there once they have stock matured.