A marvelous addition to Irish Distillers’ Dair Ghaelach range. Dair Ghaelach translates as Irish Oak – highlighting the fascinating and unique aspect of this whiskey: it was partly aged in Irish oak casks. This is a fantastic example of the Irish Single Pot Still style, doubtless one of the industry’s great varieties, with a lovely cereal sweetness and grassy notes. Here, these Single Pot Still whiskies have been aged for between 15 and 22 years in former Bourbon barrels, before a finishing period in Irish oak hogsheads. The oak used in these intriguing casks are sustainably sourced, created from trees felled in Grinsell’s Wood on the Ballaghtobin Estate, which lies close to Waterford in Ireland’s south. They are then transported to Jerez to be expertly crafted by Páez Lobato cooperage. The staves are dried and seasoned for 15 months, before being shaped into hogsheads with a medium char level.
The nose on this whiskey opens up with big, former Bourbon pot still notes: rich caramel, cereal sweetness, thick oak and vanilla. Some woodspice and barrel char emerges after a while. The palate is thick and buttery, with huge flavours of vanilla fudge, tropical fruits (overripe bananas, pineapple and mango), cocoa and apple pie. A slight espresso and woodspice note rounds off the palate. The finish is long and intense, with a strong bittersweet oak note. It appears that Midleton have sought to emphasise the oak notes in this whisky, and this works remarkably well, showing off the unique qualities of the Irish Oak hogshead. The whisky’s flavours are given a boost by being presented without chill-filtration or artificial colouring, and at a cask strength of 58.2% ABV.