Midleton grows Irish virgin oak whiskey range
Midleton Distillery has launched its second whiskey finished in Irish virgin oak: Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest.
The single pot still Irish whiskey has been finished in barrels made from Irish oak grown in the bluebell forest of Castle Blunden Estate in County Kilkenny.
Each bottle can be traced back to one of six 130-year-old oak trees that were felled in 2013.
Brand owner Irish Distillers unveiled the first Dair Ghaelach whiskey in 2015, following a six-year exploration by the Midleton Distillery into the affect of using native oak to age Irish whiskey.
Kevin O’Gorman, head of maturation at Irish Distillers, and Billy Leighton, the company’s head blender, selected the site to source wood for the second edition of Dair Ghaelach.
“The naturally sweet compounds found in Irish oak work in perfect harmony with this whiskey to deliver milk chocolate and honeycomb on the nose, a beautifully round and silky-smooth mouth feel and a long, pot still finish,” said O’Gorman.
“The nuances in flavour in the two editions of Midleton Dair Ghaelach come from our native wood, and offer whiskey fans a true flavour of Ireland – the range has provenance unlike any Irish whiskey before it and we look forward to exploring more of Ireland’s woodlands further in the years to come.”
To create the barrels that finished the whiskey, oak stave maker Maderbar, based in Baralla in north-west Spain, used the quarter-sawing process to cut the trees into staves. These staves were then transferred to the Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where they were dried for 15 months and then used to create 29 Irish oak Hogshead casks with a light toast.
The whiskey itself is a combination of pot still distillates aged for between 12 and 23 years in American oak barrels. This liquid was then filled into Irish oak hogsheads for a year and a half.
Bottled at a cask strength of between 55.3% abv and 56.3% abv, Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest will roll out to international markets from this month at an RRP of US$280.
Last month, Irish Distillers unveiled the The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle Club, which offers fans the chance to purchase a full cask of Irish whiskey.