Midleton Returns To Irish Oak Aging For Whiskey In Line Expansion - The Whiskey Wash

Midleton Returns To Irish Oak Aging For Whiskey In Line Expansion

By Nino Marchetti / November 17, 2017

The Midleton distillery in Ireland, owned by Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard, is largely known for its Jameson brand. It offers up some other whiskeys as well, however, including a rather unique experiment finishing Irish whiskey in rare, native Irish oak. It first debuted the Dair Ghaelach line in 2015, and now is back again with an expansion using wood from a different Irish forest.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Edition, according to those behind it, was finished in barrels made from Irish oak grown in the Bluebell Forest of Castle Blunden Estate in County Kilkenny. Bluebell is said to have been watched over by generations of the Blunden Family since the 1600s. In making the barrels from wood harvested from this forest, artisans at the Maderbar sawmills in Baralla, north-west Spain, used the quarter-sawing process to cut the trees into staves, which were then transferred to the Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez. After drying for 15 months, the staves were worked into 29 Irish oak Hogshead casks and given a light toast.

The whiskey to be used in this bottling, made up of a selection of Midleton’s pot still distillates matured for between 12 and 23 years in American oak barrels, was then filled into the Irish oak Hogshead casks and left to rest for a year and a half before being deemed ready for retail.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Edition

“It is a joy to be able to showcase more of our experimentation with maturation in Irish oak through the release of Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest,” said Kevin O’Gorman, Head of Maturation at Midleton Distillery, in a prepared statement. “The naturally sweet compounds found in Irish oak work in perfect harmony with this whiskey to deliver milk chocolate and honeycomb on the nose, a beautifully round and silky-smooth mouth feel and a long, pot still finish.”

Each bottle of Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Edition can be traced back to one of six individual 130-year-old oak trees that were felled in the Bluebell Forest. The whiskey is bottled at cask strength, between 55.30% to 56.30% ABV, and without the use of chill filtration. It is set to price around $270, and you’ll find official tasting notes for it below for your consideration.

  • Nose:Rich pot still spices are elevated by the clipped tannins of the toasted Irish oak. Fresh woodland character mingles with faint vanilla, giving the succulence of zesty pink grapefruit and pineapple along with ripe berries and green banana. The Irish oak influence imparts milk chocolate and honeycomb sweetness.
  • Taste:Beautifully round and silky smooth with naturally sweet compounds from the Irish oak in harmony with the pot still spices. A touch of mango and kiwi bring some fruit undertones as the prickle of clove and cinnamon add their voice.
  • Finish:Exceptionally long with soft sweet spices finally giving way to the proud Irish oak