In 2015 Pernod Ricard installed a micro distillery within the Midleton plant. Size is relative, because this ‘micro’ distillery is larger than a lot of the start-up distilleries in Ireland. It’s a place of experimentation of teaching, where the Masters and Apprentices of the distillery get to try out new ideas and recipes, always starting from the question “What if…?”
While we’ve mainly seen wood experiments in the series so far, Method & Madness Rye and Malt is the first aged distillate that was created at the micro distillery. Distilled in 2015-2016, they found the ideal ratio to be a mash of 60% rye (from Poland) to 40% malted barley. Distiller Katherine Condon then trialled various rates of reflux and (double) distillation to get a crisp, spicy whiskey.
Method and Madness ‘Micro Distilled’ Rye and Malt (46%, OB 2021, bourbon casks)
Nose: a nice gristy note, slightly dusty in a good way, mixing with waxy lemon peels and fragrant coriander seeds, as well as white flowers and citrus balm. There are fresh wood shavings, as well as some clove, vanilla, mint and sweet bread. Reasonably complex, already exceeding my expectations.
Mouth: quite spicy and deeply cereally, with white pepper and clove, quickly joined by brioche, tobacco leaves and hints of apples. Hints of orange peels and black tea. Also earthy notes and charred oak, which lead to juniper and floral notes in the end. Quite robust, even a little harsh compared to the nose, with some drying tannins.
Finish: medium, drying, with toast, cereals, ginger and oak spice.
This Rye and Malt is very cereally and spicy, lacking most of the fruity notes that we like in Irish whiskey. That said, as a five year old whiskey with a real ‘craft’ feel to it, this definitely deserved to be bottled. Around € 90. Currently only available in Ireland, but on its way to the UK as well, if I’m not mistaken.