DAIR GHAELACH GRINSELL’S WOOD
Midleton Dair Ghaleach. It means quite simply, Irish oak. This whiskey has been matured in barrels made from virgin Irish oak grown on the Ballaghtobin Estate in Co. Kilkenny and what the oak brings to this special whiskey is the true and unique flavour of Ireland. Its provenance as individual as its fragrance, its journey from grain to glass as distinguished as its finish, this is a whiskey like no other.
The Irish Oak casks are filled with a select range of 15 to 22 year old Single Pot Still distillates. Nosed and tasted every month by our Master Blender, Billy Leighton, and by then Master of Maturation, Kevin O’Gorman, after almost a year, Midleton Dair Ghaelach was judged to be beautifully balanced; subtly yet unmistakably flavoured to perfection by the Irish oak that gives it its name. In the history of Irish whiskey, Midleton Dair Ghaelach is one of a kind. The first Irish whiskey to be matured in home-grown Irish oak, it’s as individual as it is irresistible; a whiskey as satisfyingly Irish as it is undeniably elegant.
IRISH OAK REBORN
In collaboration with professional Irish forestry consultants*, Kevin O’Gorman selected Grinsell’s Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny, to provide the oak for the first in a series of Dair Ghaelach estate releases in the coming years. Each bottle can be traced back to one of ten 130-year-old trees in Grinsell’s Wood, which were felled in April 2012.
To craft the oak into barrels, fellow artisans at the Maderbar sawmills in Baralla, north-west Spain, used the quarter-sawing process to cut the trees into staves under the watchful eye of the Midleton Masters. Master Cooper, Ger Buckley, then accompanied the staves on the ten-hour journey to the Antonio Páez Lobato Bodega cooperage in Jerez, where they were laid out for drying. After 15 months, the staves were worked into 48 XX litre barrels, each with a medium toast, and shipped back to The Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork.
At Midleton, a selection of traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey distillates, having been matured for between 15 and 22 years in ex-Bourbon casks, were married together for two days before being filled into the Irish oak casks. Midleton Master Blender, Billy Leighton and Kevin O’Gorman nosed and tasted the whiskey each month and after ten months, judged it to be beautifully balanced with just the perfect contribution of Irish oak. Analysis from Midleton has shown that Irish oak contains higher levels of some lignin derivative compounds, such as vanillin and vanillic acid, and furfural, in comparison to American and Spanish oak. These compounds impart the whiskey with vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavours that balance the classically rich Single Pot Still taste profile, a result of ageing in American refill casks, and are detectable on the nose of Dair Ghaelach.
With the recent resurgence in plantation, only now have we been able to sustainably mature our whiskeys in Irish oak barrels and in turn ensure that the wood can be enjoyed by generations to come. After six years in the making, Dair Ghaelach has been a journey of exploration into the craft of Irish whiskey maturation and the end result represents the very flavour of modern Ireland. The process has enabled us to showcase our Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style in a new and innovative way; the casks impart generous toasted wood, vanilla and caramel flavours that perfectly balance the rich, spicy notes, which we are sure discerning whiskey drinkers will enjoy.
A WHISKEY LIKE NO OTHER
Irish Oak barrels have never been used before due to the lack of sustainable Irish Oak. However the recent rejuvenation in the plantation of Irish Oak means we are now able to responsibly procure native oak for maturation that is sustainable in the long-term. This makes Midleton Dair Ghaelach truly one of a kind.
The crisp Pot Still spices are seamlessly enriched by the woodland fragrances of the Irish Oak. Sweet vanilla notes are given depth by some chocolate honeycomb and coffee beans, whilst the balancing rich fruit aromas of red berries, pineapple and ripe banana compliment the subtle aromatic oils.
The typical Pot Still spices are fortified by the Irish Oak character. Robust yet mellow, clove and cinnamon give way to dairy fudge and milk chocolate sweetness combining with a touch of stewed apple.
An exceptionally long finish, with some sweet spices slowly fading, leaving the final bow to the Irish Oak.