Good news for those with a little cash to burn looking to broaden your view of Irish whiskeys–the Cork-based distiller Midleton Very Rare just unveiled the latest addition to their Dair Ghaelach series: Kilranelagh Wood.
If you haven’t heard of the Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach series, prepare to have your Irish whiskey world turned upside down. “Dair Ghaelach” translates to “Irish oak,” which is used to finish each whiskey in this collection.
Even in a country with as long a whiskey history as Ireland, using Irish oak is rare. Most whiskey is matured in American white oak barrels after they're used to age bourbon. The new Kilranelagh Wood whiskey was initially matured in American oak, then finished in Irish oak casks for 20 months to elevate the liquor.
Midleton Very Rare master distiller Kevin O’Gorman spent six years exploring Irish oak's potential before embarking on this project. He had two goals: sustainably source the Irish oak and create a distinct style of Irish single pot still whiskey.
Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Kilranelagh Wood is the fifth edition in the collection and was made from trees from the Kilranelagh Estate in County Wicklow, just south of Dublin. Six Irish oak trees were chosen for crafting by Midleton master cooper Ger Buckley and consultant-slash-forest sector manager Paddy Purser. Every bottle of whiskey can be traced back to the tree it came from.
“In the Dair Ghaelach series, we’re always looking to discover the finest Irish oak amidst Ireland’s natural beauty, and the Kilranelagh estate stands as a testament to this quest,” says O’Gorman. “The whiskey has been bottled at its cask strengths, ranging from 56.8% to 57.5% ABV, allowing the unique influence from each tree to reach its pinnacle.”
Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Kilranelagh Wood gives opening notes of warming spices and vanilla, before mellowing on the palate, says blender Dave McCabe. The Irish oak finish adds fresh pine, floral honey, and tropical fruit notes, alongside smoked almond and cinnamon aromas. "The whiskey then concludes with a wonderfully long finish which sees the pot still spices and oak effortlessly linger for a truly unique drinking experience,” he says.
Award winning Irish artist David Rooney designed the fifth expression’s fully recyclable packaging, which reveals a story inspired by the unique flora and fauna of the Kilranelagh Estate.
Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Kilranelagh Wood is available at varying cask strengths in Ireland, UK, France, USA, and China for €440 (about $480) per 70cl bottle.