Method & Madness Unveils Japanese-Inspired Whiskey Trilogy

Irish Distillers have unveiled an exclusive collection of single pot still whiskies, each finished in rare Japanese casks under the Method & Madness brand.

The limited-edition series includes three single pot still whiskeys, including a 33-year-old finished in Mizunara Japanese oak barrels for three years, and two other expressions, finished in Japanese chestnut and Japanese cedar barrels for over 13 months, respectively.

Sitting at the head of the collection, the 33-year-old Mizunara is the oldest Irish whiskey to be finished in Japanese oak sourced from the Hokkaido region of northern Japan, where the temperate rainforest creates the ideal growing conditions for the oak used for the barrel. production.

The relatively high wood density and medium carbonization of the cask impart flavors of nutmeg and vanilla to the single pot still distillate originally intended for maturation in bourbon barrels in 1988.

The whiskey was then reloaded into Mizunara casks for a further three years, resulting in a harmony of spicy pot still and fragrant oak. Bottled at 52.8% ABV, 252 bottles of Method & Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Japanese Mizunara Oak Cask will be available worldwide at an RRP of €3,000 (700ml).

While the Mizunara Cask represents the generations of tradition and craftsmanship in which whiskey making and Japanese culture are steeped, the two younger expressions highlight the innovation and experimentation for which the distillery is renowned. Each of the single pot still distillates was first aged in bourbon and sherry casks before a finishing period in Japanese cedar casks (ABV 48%) – a world first for the Irish whiskey category – and casks of Japanese chestnut (ABV 48%).

The packaging, designed by Swedish-Irish design team M&E, brings the influence of different wood finishes to life on the packaging with a traditional black and gold label for the Mizunara and brightly colored patterns, inspired by the neon lights in Tokyo, for Cedarwood. and chestnut versions. The labels feature traditional Suminagashi patterns – a Japanese marbling method dating back to the 12th century. Each of the three expressions is also adorned with a unique kanji, or 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 unique flavor profile of herbal tea, caraway seeds and clove spice. of cloves with a fruity finish.

Japanese chestnut wood is also native to southern Japan, where the rocky terrain and heavy rainfall results in a relatively low wood density imparting lingering licorice and spice notes with flavors of orange zest and refreshing menthol. . Cedarwood Casks and Chestnut Casks finished whiskeys will be available in limited quantities at an RRP of €95 (700ml).

Eva O’Doherty, Distiller at Method & Madness, said: “Bringing these exceptional whiskeys to life has been a joyous journey of discovery, while working with each of the new types of wood has continued to test and challenge our skills in of whiskey making. While we were confident that we could apply proven maturation methods to Mizunara Oak Cask, the porosity of cedar and chestnut wood – or Sugi and Kuri in Japanese – presented new challenges that required careful observation to achieve. the 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.

Finbarr Curran, Head of Wood Planning and Maturation Team, added: “This truly exceptional trilogy not only represents our far-reaching ambition and partnerships with some of the world’s best cooperages, but also three individual triumphs in of competence and innovation – the ethic that continues to drive the Méthode & Folie collection.It is with great pride that we share this with the world.

The Japanese Mizunara Oak Cask finish is available now from specialist retailers in Ireland, France, UK, USA and global travel retail.

Cedarwood Casks and Chestnut Casks finished whiskeys will follow at the end of March. The whiskeys will be available exclusively through the Whiskey Exchange in the UK and distributed by Castle Brands in the US from September 2022.

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