Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Complete Collection
is the second release of the Dair Ghaelach range from Midleton. This time the virgin Irish oak barrels used for finishing this whiskey were harvested from Bluebell Forest on Castle Blunden Estate, County Kilkenny. Amazingly, each cask can be traced back to one of six individual 130 year old oak trees from the forest.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Complete Collection is a collection of bottles from Trees 1 through 6.
In 2015, Midleton unveiled its first Dair Ghaelach release (Dair Ghaelach means “Irish oak” in Gaelic), a whiskey that was finished in casks made from oak trees that were sourced from Grinsell’s Wood, a forest in County Kilkenny. This winter, a second installment—Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Edition—has reached retailers’ shelves.
To make 29 hogshead casks, six oak trees—all 130 years old—were cut from the Bluebell Forest on the Castle Blunden Estate in County Kilkenny. Each cask was made from the wood of just one of those trees. Subsequently, each bottle of this cask-strength whiskey, which costs $300, can be traced back to one of those Irish oaks—and that lineage is prominently displayed on the label.
“The naturally sweet compounds found in Irish oak work in perfect harmony with this whiskey to deliver milk chocolate and honeycomb on the nose, a beautifully round and silky-smooth mouthfeel, and a long pot-still finish,” says O’Gorman.
The liquid itself is composed of a number of classic Midleton distillates that had matured for 12 to 23 years in ex-bourbon casks—yet the 18 months of additional maturation in those Irish oak hogsheads has produced six subtly unique whiskies.
• Tree 1 delivers flavours of sweet cherries, honey, and black pepper, while a splash of water reveals vanilla and soft floral notes.
• Trees 2 and 3, by contrast, produce a whiskey that is darker in appearance and richer in taste. Stewed fruits, caramel, and sweet butterscotch prevail on the palate, with melon notes developing once drops of water are added.
• Tree 4 is defined by flavuors of dates, figs, and marmalade with pink peppercorns on the finish. Water introduces some marzipan and ginger notes.
• Tree 5 is the most herbaceous, with hints of green garlic and a rye-like spice that finishes sweet.
• Tree 6 best conceals the strength—around 110 proof—of the whiskey and delivers sweet, crisp honeycomb flavors.
Simply put, the Midleton experiment was a rousing success. The variations imparted by each of those Irish oaks are subtle but distinct.