Composed of single pot still whiskies aged between 13 and 26 years that were originally matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks before being married together and then filled into seven individual Irish oak cask sourced from Knockrath Forest in County Wicklow for two years of additional maturation. Available from earlier this year in selected markets (Ireland, UK, US, France and China) for an RRP of €310.
Nose: Green apples and banana skins are served alongside peach and apricot juices. Vanilla-filled buns, rolled pastry and spent espresso beans sit with moist sappy oak, olive oil and fallen leaves. Spice is restrained – nutmeg and white pepper. Dilution unleashes a waves of ripe stone fruits –apricots, nectarines, fruit chews and baked plums. Juicy – tinned and highly inviting.
Taste: A less effusive arrival to the other trees in the series – dusty pepper and crystalline ginger with burnt toffee, dark chocolate and over-reduced pan sugars. The mid palate provides orange peels and charred barrel staves alongside honeycomb, butterscotch and baking soda. Water retains the profile, but adds tasty tinned apricots alongside icing sugar sweetness and lollypop sticks.
Finish: Medium to long in length and with lingering pepperiness and cask char.
Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest Tree 3 is the most temperate of the series. Initially intriguing, but somewhat placid in fruitiness terms – then, once reduced a juicy and syrupy riot of soft stone fruits. Similarly, the spice and cask feel dialled down compared to the other bottlings – that may or may not be what you’re looking for. But for me – absorbing, broader and quite lovely.