Whisky Focus - Irish Distillers Prestige Whiskey Range Continues To Impress

Irish Distillers Prestige Whiskey Range Continues To Impress

23rd May 2017
Irish Distillers scoop more top awards for their prestige range of Irish whiskey's including gold medals for their new Method and Madness whiskey range.

Irish Distillers outstanding range of prestige Irish whiskey continues to impress judges as it scoops another 10 top tasting awards. I am a huge fan of the the whiskies the folks at Midleton are turning out these days so it comes as no surprise to me that they have walked away from another 2 top spirits competitions clutching a bag full of gold medals and notably a couple of gold medals for their Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskey in their new Method and Madness range which again is no surprise to me.

This time out they have been awarded a total of 10 gold or above medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and International Spirits Challenge 2017. Top honours were awarded to Redbreast 15, Best Single Pot Still Whiskey and Best Irish Whiskey, and Midleton Very Rare, Best Blended Irish Whiskey, at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

In addition, Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength claimed its third Double Gold medal in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition a testament to the consistency in quality of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey craftsmanship at the Midleton Distillery. The array of gold medals, around half of the 22 decorations awarded to Irish Distillers across the two prestigious tastings, cements Redbreast as the most awarded Single Pot Still Whiskey in the world.

Yellow Spot 12 Year Old followed up a near-perfect 99/100 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge with a Gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge, whereas Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy was honoured by the same competition with the sixth Gold medal since its release in 2011.

In total, the prestige range from Irish Distillers secured four Double Gold and six Gold medals across the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) and International Spirits Challenge (ISC). The winners are listed below and you will also find my reviews of a few of them below:

  • Redbreast 15 Year Old:
    Best Irish Whiskey, Best Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey and Double Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength:
    Double Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • Midleton Very Rare:
    Best Blended Irish Whiskey and Double Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • METHOD AND MADNESS Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Chestnut:
    Double Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • Midleton Dair Ghaelach:
    Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • Redbreast 21 Year Old:
    Gold medals (SFWSC and ISC)
  • METHOD AND MADNESS Single Malt Irish Whiskey Enhanced with French Limousin Oak:
    Gold medal (SFWSC)
  • Yellow Spot:
    Gold medal (ISC)
  • Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy:
    Gold medal (ISC)

The Ultimate Spirits Challenge signals the start of the awards season and I predict 2017 will be a extremely good year for the booming Irish whiskey category and I would also predict that the new Method and Madness whiskey range from the Midleton distillery will be picking up an award or two in the coming months.

You will find all the award winning whiskeys available from specialist online whisky retailers such as Master of Malt

Redbreast 12 Cask Strength Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Lovely rich sherried notes, the fruit just hits you, red apples, raisins, coconut ice, sweet vanilla fudge. Some fresh oak spice.

Taste: Full bodied, layers of rich fruit and spice, oatcake biscuits, dark chocolate, delicious sweet vanilla and dry oak.

Finish: A long finish. Slowly drying oak, fading fruit and spice and a touch of vanilla fudge hanging around right to the end.

Comment: Wonderful sherry and spices, you just want to pour yourself another. The balance of rich fruit, spice and oak is perfect. Interestingly adding a drop of water doesn't turn it into a standard Redbreast 12 (I tried), it keeps its big rich sherried fruit, spice and vanilla character, I guess this is to do with the number of casks in the batch being much smaller than the number going into a standard Redbreast 12.

An absolute cracker, loved it!!!

SMW Score 96 /100

Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review

Non chill-filtered, natural colour and bottled at 46% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose:  A lovely enticingly rich nose. Sweet vanilla fudge, raisins, red berries, and just the very slightest hint of pot still spice.

Taste: Delicious mouth coating pot still spices between layers of sweet fruit. Some orangey notes, raisins, ripe pears, cinnamon, some drying wood spice and just a touch of bitter sweet dark chocolate keeping the fruit in check.

Finish: Long, bourbony liquorice, a delicious mix of pot still and sherried fruit slowly fades leaving some lovely lingering and mildly drying oak spice or may that be chestnut spice.

Comment: A deliciously rich mix of pot still and sherried fruit with a nice touch of interesting wood spice thrown in. You can tell that this is a single pot still whiskey but with a bit of a different wood twist which really lingers long into the finish. An outstanding single pot still with a very interesting and enjoyable twist, great stuff from the folks at Midleton. I hate to say it but some of the big players in Scotland could learn a thing or two from the innovative and creative, or should I say methodically mad, folks at Midleton and the whiskey they are producing for our pleasure.

SMW Singe Pot Still Whiskey Score 93/100

Redbreast 21 Year Old Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Packed with that unique Irish pot still fruitiness with just a touch of sherry fruitiness in there also. The fruit makes way for vanilla and mild pot still spices.

Taste: Soft creamy vanilla, juicy barley, a lovely Demerara sweetness, layers of rich fruit, touch of nuttiness. The delicious mild pot still spices increase with each mouthful, menthol at the end.

Finish: Long. Dark chocolate, raisin and pineapple, mildly drying oak and slowly fading pot still spices.

Comment: As I hoped a 46%, non chill-filtered Irish pot still whiskey of this age would be, brilliant from nose to finish. The balance of fruit, spice and oak is perfect. It is unbelievable to think Redbreast pot still whiskey almost disappeared, I could only have dreamt of a Redbreast 21 year old a few years ago. A must try for Irish pot still whiskey drinkers, a deliciously juicy mature Irish single pot still whiskey.

SMW Score 93/100

Method and Madness Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review

Distilled at Bushmills in 2002, mature at Midleton. Non chill-filtered, natural colour and bottled at 46% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose:  Sweet, malty, a mix of apricot and gooseberry, just a hint of spice.

Taste: Creamy vanilla toffee with a just a touch of bitterness which stops the sweet barley sugars running the show, a little cinnamon and the apricot and gooseberry fruit notes from the nose.

Finish: A medium to long finish with a barley sugar sweetness which fades to leave a rather drying woody end to the fun.

Comment: This may have been distilled in Bushmills but it is unlike any Bushmills you may have experienced, it has certainly been subjected to Midleton's Method and Madness and is a very interesting and very enjoyable triple distilled Irish single malt whiskey.

Putting the 31 year old single grain to one side, between the Method and Madness single grain, single pot still and this single malt, this was my pick from when I attended the launch of the new whiskeys in Dublin but after tasting all the whiskeys a few times now with a fresh palate I am more impressed with the single pot still.

Considering what few whiskeys that are released from Bushmills this is a welcome addition for whiskey fans wanting to explore something different from the north coast of Ireland distillery.

With an RRP of 79 it is certainly worth a try for any Irish whiskey fan.

SMW Score 88/100

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy Tasting Notes

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy has no age statement but is made up of whiskey aged between 10 - 22 years, it was bottled at 46% ABV and non chill filtered.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet vanilla, toffee, coconut, lemon and lime, fresh pear.

Taste: Medium bodied, coffee, peppery, orange and lime, pear drops, vanilla, nutmeg and more citrus fruit. A touch of dry oak.

Finish: Smooth, fruity sweetness, nutty, oaky finish.

Comment: Plenty of sweetness, vanilla and fruit, a lovely smooth single pot still whiskey.

SMW Score 93 /100

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