Irish Distillers has announced a luxurious new release in its Midleton Very Rare range, Forêt de Tronçais, combining the worlds of Irish whiskey making and French coopering.
Claimed by the company to be a first-of-its-kind whiskey, Forêt de Tronçais has been in development since 2017 when Midleton master distiller Kevin O'Gorman and his team went on a cask procurement trip to France and came across a T5 oak cask from French cooperage Taransaud. Made from oak grown in the Tronçais forest, T5 casks have a particularly fine grain and the staves are open-air seasoned for five years before being coopered into casks.
O'Gorman procured a number of T5 casks from Taransaud which were then filled with a batch of Midleton single grain and single pot still whiskeys that had been distilled in the 1980s and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The whiskey is presented in a bespoke coloured-glass bottle and a cabinet designed by French woodcrafting business Manufacture Jacquemin, which is also produced from Tronçais oak.
This release will be the first edition of Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais, with further expressions planned annually (subject to the availability of this liquid/oak combination).
O'Gorman said: “We may have created 'the pinnacle of Irish whiskey' with Midleton Very Rare, but we are constantly driven by the desire to push boundaries and create something new. Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais represents our relentless pursuit of perfection and innovation while staying true to the unmistakable Midleton character and DNA, as we introduce some of the world’s finest oak to produce an outstanding and elegant Midleton expression.”
Jacquelin de Pracomtal, vice-president of Taransaud, added: “We are immensely proud to be part of this historic collaboration that showcases the utmost rarity and excellence in both Irish whiskey and French coopering. Our dedication is reflected in each T5 oak cask that was used to infuse the whiskey with its distinct characteristics. We love to collaborate with the finest brands in their field and the Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais embodies exclusivity and our ‘par excellence’ approach to our craft. We are honoured to have contributed to its creation.”
The first edition of Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais (48% ABV) will be available from to order from 13 October in select markets including the Republic of Ireland, USA, Northern Ireland, France, UK, China, and Hong Kong, as well as online at midletondistillerycollection.com and at select global travel retail locations (RRP €5,000 / US$5,000 / £4,400).