Method & Madness: Acacia & Cherry Wood Finishes

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For those of you not familiar with Method & Madness, it is a brand which has resulted from the coming together of Irish Distillers’ (think Jameson and Redbreast) most experienced blenders, and their upstart apprentices. The word ‘upstart’ is probably a bit unfair, but you get my drift. Tried and tested methods from the old hands, meeting new, wacky ideas from the young guns.

Producing sufficient quantities of experimental liquid to create a one off bottling is something the vast majority of brands would struggle with, let alone creating a full range of them. With Irish Distillers’ Midleton micro-distillery – a distillery within a distillery, if you will – that has become a reality, and has resulted in them releasing some of the most genuinely innovative liquids available in the Irish whiskey category.

Both new additions to the Method & Madness range have initially been matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks (unfortunately there’s no indication as to ratio of bourbon to sherry casks, or length of time in these casks) prior to being finished in one of two rather unusual wood types. The first expression is a single pot still whiskey which has been finished in nine casks crafted from wild cherry wood, sourced from France, for between seven months and four years. The second new release is also a single pot still whiskey which has then been finished in acacia wood casks, again sourced from France, for between one and four years. These types of wood are completely off-limits for Scotch producers, so I’m extremely excited to see what happens when Irish pot still whiskey has spent time in these casks.


Method & Madness Wild Cherry Wood Finish
Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
46% ABV
€92 RRP

Nose: Very green – green banana, white grape skins, peppermint gum, green wood and a touch of conifer. Some lemongrass, and floral fabric softener too, with a touch of sawdust.

Palate: Pine cones, sesame seeds and a sweet ginger spice. Then drying in the mid palate – sawdust and pencil shavings. Quite sweet and syrupy towards the end, with tinned fruit salad, peach halves, lychee and some mango.

Finish: Fresh green herbs, grapefruit and pear skins, and some tingling oak spices.


Method & Madness Acacia Wood Finish
Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
46% ABV
€92 RRP

Nose: Tobacco leaf, cacao nibs, chocolate covered Morello cherries, tiramisu, and hazelnut praline. Some figs and plum jam keep things light and sweet.

Palate: Roasted nuts, Terry’s dark chocolate orange, manuka honey and some espresso. There’s clove, nutmeg, unlit cigar and dry kindling too. It’s not at all bitter though – there’s a rich, pervading sweetness through all of this.

Finish: The spice builds – cinnamon and clove, some cask stave, and rich raisins.

Overall: God that was fun. It just goes to show that whisk(e)y can spend time in something other than oak and come out smelling and tasting wonderful. Two wildly different, and extremely enthralling, drams. The cherry wood, being particularly porous, has allowed the spirit to show its green, fresh and vibrant qualities, whereas the acacia wood has turned the whiskey into a deep, rich, and rather brooding liquid. Both are delicious, but in polar opposite ways. If this is what we can expect going forward from the Method & Madness range, I cannot wait to see what they do next. And for around £80 a bottle, these experimental whiskies are well worth the money, if you’re lucky enough to find them.

 

 

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