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Dair Ghaelach Kylebeg Wood

“Dair Ghaelach” means quite simply, Irish Oak.

While the name may be simple, the story of this whiskey is unique. This whiskey has been finished in casks made from virgin Irish oak grown in Kylebeg Wood on the Ballykilcavan Estate, near Stradbally in Co. Laois.

The oak influences this special whiskey with the unique flavour of the heart of Ireland.

Its unique provenance told in each sublime sip, this is the tale of our native oak striking harmony with the classically rich and spicy Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey character.

This is a whiskey like no other.

Kylebeg Wood & The Walsh Kemmis Family

The fourth chapter of the Midleton Dair Ghaelach series takes us to Kylebeg Wood on the Ballykilcavan Estate near Stradbally, Co. Laois. Situated amidst rolling fields of barley, the native Irish woodland on the estate has been managed carefully and in tune with nature by the Walsh-Kemmis family for thirteen generations, since 1639.

Kylebeg Wood or ‘An Coill Beag’ in the Irish language, translates as the little wood, and it was in this little wood that native Irish oak was planted in 1820 to replace trees that were felled for shipbuilding during the Napoleonic Wars. 

Today David Walsh-Kemmis manages the stands of majestic oak in Kylebeg Wood, using a ‘close to nature’ forest management system in line with AFI best practice.  Under David’s astute supervision, seven trees were carefully felled to produce the finest Irish oak hogsheads for the latest chapter in the Dair Ghaelach series.

The space created in the canopy through the felling of these trees has allowed light to once again meet the forest floor, where newly planted saplings now rise to fill it centuries later.

Due to this guardianship approach, much of the forest area on the estate is designated for nature conservation as a Natural Heritage Area. This method of forestry has led to a reappearance of the Pine Marten to the Laois countryside, the return of this native predator has impacted the alien grey squirrel, and indirectly helped the native Red Squirrel which had practically vanished when the invasive Greys outcompeted them on the estate in the 1990’s.

Following years in exile, the iconic Red Squirrel is now flourishing again in Ireland’s heartland, thanks to careful custodianship which respects the circular nature of the ecosystem. Midleton Dair Ghaleach Kylebeg Wood release, pays tribute to the people, flora and fauna of this beautiful part of Ireland.

From Oak to Cask

Once harvested from Kylebeg, the oak logs were shipped to the Spanish region of Galicia and the Maderbar Sawmills in Barralla where, for more than fifty years, the same family have been working with wood. Here the wood was cut, using the time-honoured craft of quarter sawing. Next, the precisely shaped and honed staves made the ten-hour journey from the sawmills to the Antonio Paez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where they were laid out to dry naturally in the warmth of the Spanish sun. Fifteen months later, the Kylebeg oak staves were ready to be worked and yielded 42 casks, each was given a light toast to the specification laid out by Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman.

Finally, the oak casks for Dair Ghaelach Kylebeg returned to Midleton from Spain, where they were filled with a specially selected range of fifteen to twenty-eight-year-old Single Pot Still whiskeys previously matured in American oak barrels.

Nosed and tasted every month, Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman, Master Blender, Billy Leighton and Blender, David McCabe kept a vigilant watch on the liquid. After two years, the Irish oak influence was deemed to have struck a perfect balance with the Single Pot Still character. The first Irish whiskey to be matured in Irish oak from County Laois, it’s as individual as it is irresistible; whiskey as satisfyingly Irish as it is undeniably elegant.

Tasting Notes:

Nose:

Fragrant woodland spices with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg to the fore accompanied by aromatic oils and earthy pot still notes. Delicate hints of nectarine develop to create a zesty fruit note with dustings of white pepper. Additional aromas of dairy fudge and vanilla further accentuate the sweet nature of the whiskey.

Taste:

Fortified by the Irish Oak, the pot still spices lead with a heightened intensity thanks to the rich wood tannins before subsiding to reveal velvety tones of caramel with sweet stewed apple and touches of orange peel. Dark chocolate with subtle notes of honeycomb and vanilla weave amongst the spices.

Finish:

Delightfully long finish with the fruits and apices slowly fading, allowing the Irish Oak to linger until the very end.

Tree 1: 55.6% ABV Tree 2: 56.1% ABV Tree 3: 56% ABV Tree 4: 56% ABV Tree 5: 56% ABV Tree 6: 55.4% ABC Tree 7: 55.9% ABV

The Tree 1 eCommerce allocation has now sold out.

Tree 1: Available to purchase from Midleton Distillery Shop, Jameson Distillery Bow Street and in selected retailers from the 19th of November.

Online orders of Tree 1 will ship from 25th November

Tree 2: Available online and in store from mid-December

Tree 3-7: Available early 2022