Last whiskey reviewed in Ireland. Wanted to have more, but finally had to tap out. Hit my budget for the trip, ladies and gentlemen.
And since I’m going out with a bang, and since we’re at the Bison Bar & B.B.Q., and since they were nice enough to give me a tour of their smoker in the kitchen (super cool!), I decided to do a review after completely clearing out my palate with lots of water, time, coffee, a complete replacement of my mouth, punching myself a few times, and thinking happy thoughts.
You know, the usual.
The whiskey I chose? Well it’s Midleton Dair Ghaelach Tree 9. What’s that? Well I’ll get to that, stop being so impatient.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach is a special release from Midleton. What makes it special? It’s been finish in Irish Oak Hogsheads. And it’s the first ever to do so. Irish Oak takes twice as long as American oak to age, and as such, special permits must be gathered to cut down these slow growing trees.The trees themselves are 130 year old, coming from Grinsell’s Wood, within the Ballaghtobin Estate in Co. Kilkenny.
Ah, a place you don’t know. Let’s keep going.
The whiskey is matured in refill American Oak bourbon barrels, made from malted and unmalted whiskey that was tripled distilled. The various whiskies range in age from 15 to 22 years old. Then they are married together for two days, then placed in the Irish oak casks for over a year.
To add to that, they keep track of each tree, thus each release tells you which tree it was. Just in case you’re an arborphile.
Kinda crazy, eh?
So this will be interesting, let’s see how it tastes.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon then finished in Virgin Irish Oak hogheads
Colour: 2.5Y 7/10
Nose: Coconut milk, pineapple, caramel, marmalade, thyme, baklava, perfume
Virgin oak here has given some coconut and nice tropical fruit. Good amount of caramel that builds up. Any orange here has a little more sweetness to it. And then this perfume note pops up.
Tons of flavour type of complexity here. Water opens up more herbal notes, however beyond that doesn’t bring too much out.
Taste: Honey tangerine, dry pear, oak, caramel apple, cloves, peach
Perfume goes with the orange and perfume to combine into a nice honey tangerine. Not too sweet, really nice. This goes with the dry element, and the caramel and apple are impossible to separate.
Have to say, given the age, special edition nature, and cask strength, I was looking for more complex flavours. However the amount of flavours is still quite nice.
Finish: Cinnamon, burn, wood, pear brandy, banana, vanilla, ginger, cloves, sugar cane
Burn on the finish. Water mitigates that quite a bit though. This needs time or water to open up nicely, but not a lot.
Finish is where it hints at some complexity with the pear brandy, though doesn’t quite follow through on that.
Conclusion: So it’s hard to rate this one. Partially because I set my expectations quite high with the last amazing Irish whiskey.
So, separating that from my thoughts, let’s look at this: It’s not complex in the “insane flavours”, it’s complex in the “wow, lots of flavours here”, as well as having some of those interesting flavours. It does the coconut flavour that I enjoy from virgin American casks, though it’s not as strong, especially given the length of the finish.
There’s some nice spices, fruits, and even brown sugar notes throughout. It’s dry in the right amount, sweet in the right amount, and overall was nice to sip on. Balanced, tasty, and nice to drink.
World Whiskey review #247, Ireland review #65, Whiskey Network review #1067