Irish Distillers' Method and Madness Irish Whiskey Line Adds New Bottlings - The Whiskey Wash
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Irish Distillers’ Method and Madness Irish Whiskey Line Adds New Bottlings

By Nino Marchetti / May 29, 2018

Irish Distillers, as we’ve mentioned in the past, is the driving force behind the global Irish whiskey brand that is Jameson. It also has a range of other brands in its stable, including the experimental Method and Madness line up which first debuted last year. It has now brought two new expressions to light for this series, including a rather fascinating 28-year-old aged partially in an ex-port barrel.

The first of the two new Method and Madness expressions, according to those behind them, is a non-age statement, single pot Irish whiskey that was first aged in a combination of first-fill and re-fill American oak barrels before being finished in virgin oak for 11 months. The oak was felled in the Carpathian Mountain range in the northeast of Hungary, where volcanic soils are reportedly best suited to the growing of Quercus Petraea. Harvested in winter and air-dried for two years at the Kádár sawmills in Tokaj, the tight grain of this wood is said to slowly impart complex compounds and subtle flavors into the whiskey during the finishing process.

“Our quest for uncommon casks has led us all over the world,” said Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation at Midleton Distillery (Irish Distillers), in a prepared statement. “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 whiskey in the mix of new releases a 28-year-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.

“Method and Madness 28-Year-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,” said Dave McCabe, Apprentice Blender at Midleton Distillery. “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.”

Plans call for Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak to price around €89, or about $105 USD, while Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 28 Year Old Ruby Port Pipe Single Cask prices at €1,900, or about $2,230 USD. Both will be available Ireland, the UK, travel retail Ireland and France, and you’ll find official tasting notes for both below.

Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak

  • Nose: Treacle, toffee, toasted coconut and campfire ashes
  • Taste: Silky smooth richness, bittersweet liquorice and dry woodland notes
  • Finish:  Dissipating spice and toasted Oak

Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 28-Year-Old Ruby Port Pipe Single Cask

  • Nose: Fleshy mango, kiwi & green banana and ripe plums
  • Taste: Vanilla & cinnamon, port wine and barley grains
  • Finish:  Lingering succulent fruits, toasted oak and light spice
About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.