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Irish Distillers expands Method and Madness

Irish Distillers has added two limited edition expressions to its Method and Madness range.

The expressions are Single Pot Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak and 28 Years Old Ruby Port Pipe Single Cask Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The range launched in 2017 and is intended to push the boundaries of Irish whiskey.

In a world first for Irish whiskey, Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak has been finished in virgin oak felled in the Carpathian Mountain range in the North East of Hungary, where volcanic soils are best suited to the growing of Quercus Petraea. Harvested in winter and air-dried for two years at the Kádár Kádár sawmills in Tokaj, the tight grain of this wood slowly imparts complex compounds and subtle flavours into the whiskey during the finishing process. The whiskey, a single pot still distillate, was first matured in a combination of first-fill and re-fill American oak barrels, before finishing in the virgin Hungarian oak for 11 months.

Kevin O’Gorman, master of maturation at Midleton Distillery, comments: “Our quest for uncommon casks has led us all over the world. We were especially intrigued by the Quercus Petraea from North East Hungary and the unique properties that it could add to our flavour repertoire as whiskey makers. At Midleton Distillery over the past few years, we have been experimenting with Hungarian virgin oak casks – a trial and error process that we are incredibly proud to have finally mastered. The result is a new first for Irish whiskey that continues to challenge perceptions of what the category can be.”

The second aged release in the series is a 28-years-old Ruby Port Pipe, which is a single pot still Irish whiskey matured initially for six years in American oak barrels, before being re-casked into a Ruby Port pipe for a further 22 years. The cask was seasoned with a selection of wines to remove some of the heavy tannins and further seasoned with Ruby Port.

Dave McCabe, apprentice blender at Midleton Distillery, adds: “Method and Madness 28 Years Old Ruby Port Pipe marks the realisation of a 22-year-old prediction from the Midleton Masters, which stated that the marriage of flavours between a single pot still Irish whiskey and a Port pipe will one day achieve balance. Billy Leighton, our master blender, and I have been carefully monitoring the slowly evolving flavours of this rare and exceptional cask as part of my training as apprentice blender. It gives us great pleasure to be able to present it as the perfect harmony between whiskey, Port and wood.”

Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak is bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV and is available in Ireland, the UK, travel retail Ireland and France, RRP €89. Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 28 Years Old Ruby Port Pipe Single Cask is bottled at 56.1% ABV and available in Ireland, UK, Travel Retail Ireland and France, priced at RRP €1,900.

24 May 2018 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor