Midleton Very Rare debuts Forêt de Tronçais
Irish Distillers has expanded its Midleton Very Rare range with the release of a whiskey finished in rare French Tronçais oak casks.
The ‘first-of-its-kind’ whiskey, called Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais, was the result of a collaboration with the Taransaud cooperage that began in 2017.
Master distiller Kevin O’Gorman and his team from Midleton Distillery embarked on a cask procurement trip to France, where they explored the Tronçais forest.
The forest was established in the 1600s to sustainably supply oak for building ships.
The Middleton team discovered the ‘rare and sought-after’ T5 oak cask, recognised for its fine grain and ‘delicate flavours’.
The T5 casks were filled with Midleton single grain and single pot still whiskeys that had previously been aged in American Bourbon barrels during the 1980s-2000s.
After maturing in the T5 casks for three years, the resulting liquid is said to offer notes of poached pears, caramelised apples, and honeycomb.
O’Gorman said: “We may have created ‘the pinnacle of Irish whiskey’ with Midleton Very Rare, but we are constantly driven by the desire to push boundaries and create something new.
“Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais represents our relentless pursuit of perfection and innovation while staying true to the unmistakable Midleton character and DNA, as we introduce some of the world’s finest oak to produce an outstanding and elegant Midleton expression.”
The Taransaud cooperage monitored the natural air drying of the T5 oak staves for five years in preparation for its use by Midleton Distillery.
Jacquelin de Pracomtal, vice-president at Taransaud, added: “We are immensely proud to be part of this historic collaboration that showcases the utmost rarity and excellence in both Irish whiskey and French coopering.
“Our dedication is reflected in each T5 oak cask that was used to infuse the whiskey with its distinct characteristics.”
The whiskey is packaged in a duck egg blue-coloured bottle, inspired by the orchid in the Midleton Very Rare logo. It is placed in a cabinet made with oak from the Tronçais forest, alongside laser-cut illustrations inspired by the woodland.
The first edition of Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais (48% ABV) will be available in select markets including Ireland, the US, Northern Ireland, global travel retail, France, the UK, China, Hong Kong and online, with a price tag of US$5,000.
It will be released annually, subject to the availability of the liquid and oak.
In April this year, Midleton rolled out four single cask releases from its Very Rare collection in travel retail.