Midleton launches first ever virgin Irish oak finished whiskey

midleton-dair-ghaelach-thumb_5Pernod Ricard has announced the launch of Midleton Dair Ghaelach, its first ever Irish whiskey to be finished in virgin Irish Oak Hogsheads.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach (58.5% ABV) meaning ‘Irish oak’, is the result of a six-year exploration by the Midleton Masters into using native oak to mature Irish whiskey. Led by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, and Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation.

The project had two prerequisites. The first was to ensure that all Irish oak was sourced exclusively from sustainable Irish Oak forests that could guarantee both a long-term supply and the re-generation of native wood, while the second was to explore what new taste profiles could be created from Irish oak maturation to craft a new and outstanding Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

In collaboration with professional Irish forestry consultants, O’Gorman and Leighton selected Grinsell’s Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny, to provide the oak for the first in a series of virgin oak releases in the coming years. Each bottle can be traced back to one of ten 130-year-old Irish oak trees in Grinsell’s Wood, which were felled in April 2012.

To craft the oak into casks, 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. The staves were then transferred to the Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where after drying for fifteen month the staves were worked into 48 Irish Oak Hogshead casks and given a medium toast.

At Midleton, a selection of traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey distillates, matured for between 15 and 22 years in ex-Bourbon casks, were married together before being filled into the Irish oak Hogsheads. Leighton and O’Gorman nosed and tasted the whiskey each month and after almost one year, judged it to be beautifully balanced with just the perfect contribution of Irish oak.

Analysis shows that the 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 further enhance the whiskey with vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavours, which are detectable on the nose of Midleton Dair Ghaelach and perfectly balance the classically rich, spicy Single Pot Still taste profile.

Commenting on the new release, Midleton Distillery Master Blender, Billy Leighton, said: “The process of maturing in native oak has enabled us to showcase our Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style in a new and innovative way; the casks impart much more generous toasted wood, vanilla and caramel flavours than what we expect from American bourbon and Spanish oak, which we hope whiskey lovers will appreciate and enjoy.”

This uniquely Irish expression is the latest addition to the Midleton Single Pot Still family of whiskies, satisfies the growing appetite among whiskey lovers for discovering new and innovative styles of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, will be available through specialist retailers from April for a RRP of $250.

Glendalough- Double Barrel, Single Grain

glendaloughIrish craft distiller Glendalough has added a new whiskey to its range, the single grain Double Barrel.

The whiskey is distilled from a mash of malted barley and corn using Glendalough’s traditional Coffey still, then matured for three and a half years in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels. The final step is an additional six months of maturation in Oloroso Sherry casks.

Double Barrel is bottled at 42% ABV, and will initially be available in Ireland for around €35 ($40 USD). It is believed to be the first whiskey release from Glendalough distilled at the Wicklow-area distillery, which has released 7 and 13-year-0ld Irish single malts sourced from other distilleries in addition to its own poitins and gins.

Pernod Ricard announce the US launch of its Yellow Spot single pot still Irish Whiskey

Yellow SpotPernod Ricard has announced the official US release of its award-winning Yellow Spot 12 Year Old single pot still Irish whiskey.

Since its launch in 2012, Yellow Spot has been exclusively available in the UK and other select European countries. It will now join two of Pernod Ricard’s other renowned single pot still whiskies, Redbreast and Green Spot, which entered the US market last year.

Each batch of Yellow Spot is made from a mash of malted and un-malted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper stills. It is then matured in a combination of American bourbon, Spanish sherry and Spanish Malaga casks.

Yellow Spot was created and sold by Mitchell & Son Wine and Spirit Merchants in Dublin. The Mitchell family was in the whiskey bonding business and sent empty wine, sherry and port casks to the local Jameson distillery, which were filled and returned to the Mitchell’s cellar warehouse.

Commenting on the launch, Paul Di Vito, Vice President of Irish and North American Whiskey at Pernod Ricard, said: “Single Pot Still Irish Whiskies are the quintessential style of Irish whiskey and are characterized by full complex flavours. We are thrilled to bring Yellow Spot to American whiskey lovers as Single Pot Stills have become highly desired.”

Yellow Spot 12 Year Old single pot still Irish whiskey, will be available across the US during February for a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Beam Suntory launches Kilbeggan 8yo in European travel retail

kilbeggan 8yrBeam Suntory has announced the launch of Kilbeggan 8 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey (40% ABV) across European Travel Retail.

Following in the footsteps of the recently launched Kilbeggan 21 Year Old, this latest release further taps into the category’s continued strong growth in Travel Retail.

Kilbeggan 8 Year Old, which is a rebranding of Greenore 8 Year Old, is a premium expression made from 100% corn, making it a versatile, soft and subtly sweet expression, appealing to aficionados of single malts, aged blends and bourbon.

Distilled in column stills, Kilbeggan 8 Year Old is then matured for eight years in ex-bourbon barrels in the distillery’s 250 Year Old warehouses.

Commenting on the launch, Beam Suntory, Global Travel Retail Marketing Director, Michael Cockram said: “Kilbeggan 8 Year Old Single Grain is a valuable and unique addition to the range and follows the successful release of Kilbeggan 21 Year Old. Given the strong and continued growth in Irish whiskey, the launch allows retailers to broaden their offering within the category and capitalise on the demand amongst travellers, giving them the opportunity to experience a premium expression within this acclaimed portfolio.”

Kilbeggan 8 Year Old will be available later this month across European Travel Retail and also through specialist retailers for a RRP of £29.99.

Kilbeggan 21yo launches in European travel-retail

Kilbeggan 21yoBeam Suntory has launched the Kilbeggan 21yo,  a limited-edition bottling of the oldest blended Irish whiskey from the Kilbeggan Distilling Co., across European travel-retail.

Available now, the Kilbeggan 21yo is distributed by Maxxium Travel Retail (MTR) in the European travel-retail market. Tt has an ABV of 40% and retails at €99 for a 70cl bottle. With its beautiful presentation, the expression is ideal for gifting, said the liquor supplier.

The launch follows the highly successful domestic introduction of Kilbeggan 18yo, which was named the 2012 WWA Best Blended Irish Whiskey.

Kilbeggan Distilling Co. master blender Noel Sweeney carefully selected casks of the oldest grain and malt whiskey, which were expertly blended and matured in ex-bourbon, port, madeira and sherry casks for a beautifully balanced flavour. The 21yo expression has complex, sweet and smooth notes, complemented by its years of ageing that would appeal to super-premium blend consumers.

Beam Suntory Global Travel Retail marketing director Michael Cockram said: “This premium, limited edition Kilbeggan expression is a prime example of the craft that goes into making this fine Irish whiskey. Kilbeggan 21YO is the first of two new releases for travel retail and offers consumers the chance to experience a super-premium whiskey from a renowned distillery with strong traditions and heritage.

“We are excited to expand the Kilbeggan portfolio with premium expressions as Irish whiskey continues to shine in this channel. Perfect for gifting or for the Irish whiskey aficionado, Kilbeggan 21YO promises to generate interest and give retailers a point of difference.”