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: Immediately spice and bright, expressive fruitiness. Stem ginger joins orange peels, mangos and reduced pineapple syrup in a sweet, but tart amalgamation. A rich, textural aspect is apparent through sunflower oil, whilst baked buns and dusty chocolate sit with maple syrup. Water reveals chopped almonds and barley water, alongside toasted bread and split vanilla pods.
Taste: Both syrupy and bold – and with a pleasant, progressive development. Tinned fruits with plenty of life left in there (orange, pineapple, guava, melon) are joined by golden syrup, polished and lacquered oak panelling and toasted oak. The progressive moves into building pepperiness before vanilla cream and chocolate provide some late match sweetness to offset the tingle of the spicing. Reduction expresses barley water and dusty oak, but with less spice along for the ride in the mid-palate, and more of it pushed to the back. Interesting.
Finish: Very long with mentholated oak sitting with still perky peppery spicing and charred fruits.
Tree 6 of the Knockrath Forest series from Midleton is one of the bolder expressions in the series – and yet it’s also one of the better balanced. The composition here is excellent, ably showing off the underlying profile of Midleton’s trad pot, but at the same time offering a real sense of journey on the palate – and not hiding everything under a mound of Irish oak. Edging it for me - best of the series.