New release in Irish Distillers' Dair Ghaelach series

New release in Irish Distillers' Dair Ghaelach series

The Midleton Distillery reveals the third expression in the Dair Ghaelach series, matured in virgin Irish oak.

News | 24 Jan 2020

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Irish Distillers has announced the third release in its Dair Ghaelach whiskey collection.

The Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest has matured in barrels made from virgin Irish oak, grown in the County Wicklow forest from which it takes its name.

Made from Irish pot still whiskeys aged from 13 to 26 years, Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest is bottled at cask strength from 56.1% to 56.6% ABV. The distillery says the native wood contributes notes of caramel, fruits, vanilla and chocolate for a smooth and robust whiskey.

The story of Dair Ghaelach, which means 'Irish oak', began more than a decade ago when the team at Midleton Distillery explored the possibility of maturing Irish whiskey in native oak.

Master of maturation Kevin O'Gorman, master cooper Ger Buckley and master blender Billy Leighton set out to source sustainable oak from estates across Ireland to produce a series of whiskeys, each with their own history and taste profile, that could be traced back to the specific tree from which the oak cask was made.

For the third edition the team chose the Knockrath estate in the ancient Vale of Clara, where oak has grown for more than 150 years. County Wicklow's heavy rainfall and cool summers impact the density and porosity of the oak. When combined with a lighter toasting on the wood, this gives subtle flavour differences between Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest and its predecessors, Dair Ghaelach Grinsell's Wood and Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest.

Of the new release, Kevin O’Gorman said: “Traceability and sustainability are at the heart of this whiskey and, until we started this project, Irish oak had not been used to mature whiskey for well over 100 years. Today, thanks to sustainable practices, we can harvest small volumes and trace each bottle right back to the very oak tree that helped to create it. This has, in turn, fostered an awareness and appreciation among whiskey lovers that there is even a subtle difference between trees which contributes to a whiskey’s unique flavour.”

Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest is available from January 2020 in Ireland, UK, France, US and China with a recommended selling price of €310 per 70cl.
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