Irish Distillers latest Method And Madness collection inspired by Japan

Irish Distillers recently unveiled a limited collection of single pot still whiskies, each finished in rare Japanese casks.

The distillers behind the Method and Madness collection are said to have sought to combine tradition and innovation for a global taste experience.

The series includes three single pot still whiskeys, including a 33-year-old finished in Mizunara Japanese oak for three years, and two other expressions finished in Japanese chestnut and Japanese cedar wood casks for over a year.

The Method And Madness Irish Whiskeys Japanese Oak series (image via Irish Distillers)

The focal point of the collection, the 33-year-old Mizunara, is the oldest Irish whiskey to be finished in Japanese oak from the Hokkaido region of northern Japan. There, the temperate rainforest creates what is described as the ideal growing conditions for oak used for barrel production.

The Irish Distillers team explained that the relatively low wood density and medium carbonization of the cask contribute to giving what they feel like high flavors of nutmeg and vanilla to the single pot still distillate, which was originally sent for maturation in old bourbon casks in 1988. .

The whiskey was then refilled in the Mizunara cask for another three years. Bottled at 52.8% alcohol, only 252 bottles of Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Japanese Mizunara Oak Cask will be available worldwide at an RRP of €3,000 (700ml).

Each of the two younger single pot still distillates was first matured in bourbon and sherry casks before a finishing period in Japanese cedar wood casks (ABV 48%) and Japanese chestnut casks (ABV 48%). %).

The packaging for the collection was designed by Swedish-Irish design team M&E and seeks to bring the influence of different wood finishes to life with a traditional black and gold label for the Mizunara and brightly colored patterns, inspired by the neon lights of Tokyo, for the Cedar and Chestnut Exits.

The labels feature traditional Suminagashi patterns, a Japanese marbling method dating back to the 12th century. Each of the three phrases also features a unique character from traditional Japanese calligraphy describing the type of wood and the age of the liquids.

The expression of Japanese cedar wood is characterized by notes of eucalyptus and fresh botanicals, imparted by the cedar barrels traditionally favored for maturing sake. The cedar logs come from the Kyushu region of southern Japan, where the hot, humid conditions create a fragrant, porous wood, giving the whiskey its flavor profile of herbal tea, caraway seeds and clove spice. cloves with a fruity finish.

Japanese chestnut wood is also native to southern Japan, where the rocky terrain and abundant rainfall allow for a relatively low wood density, in turn imparting licorice and spice notes with flavors of orange zest and refreshing menthol.

Cedarwood and Chestnut barrels have an RRP of €95 (700ml).

Distiller Eva O’Doherty said in a prepared statement: “Bringing these exceptional whiskeys to life has been a joyful journey of discovery, while working with each of the new types of wood has continued to test and challenge our skill in of whiskey making.

While the team was confident they could apply proven maturation methods to Mizunara Oak Cask, O’Doherty said the porosity of cedar and chestnut wood presented new challenges that required careful observation to achieve the desired finish. perfect balance of contribution.

“It is an honor to share this one-of-a-kind collection as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in Irish whiskey making,” she added.

Finbarr Curran, Team Leader for Wood Planning and Maturation, noted that “this truly exceptional trilogy not only represents our far-reaching ambition and partnerships with some of the world’s best cooperages, but three individual triumphs in skill and innovation – the ethos that continues to drive the Method and Madness collection.


Distiller’s Notes for the three Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys:

Mizunara Japanese oak barrel

  • Nose: Coffee cake, roasted nuts, worn leather.
  • Taste: Nutmeg, vanilla, woody tannins.
  • To finish: Spicy pot still, subtle fruits, fresh oak.

Japanese cedar barrels

  • Nose: Eucalyptus, fresh plants, balsamic nuances.
  • Taste: Herbal tea, caraway seeds, clove spice.
  • To finish: Delicate fruits, sweetly scented wood, rich spices.

Japanese chestnut barrels

  • Nose: Peppermint leaves, caramelized almonds, ground pepper.
  • Taste: Liquorice, orange zest, refreshing menthol.
  • To finish: Fruits with herbs, roasted coffee, lingering spices.

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