This week our Irish Whiskey News features articles on Method and Madness releasing two new expressions and experiments in beer yeast for whiskey production.
So let’s see what’s happening this week in our Irish whiskey news.
Two experimental single pot still Irish whiskeys have been added to Irish Distillers’ Method & Madness range, both of which have been finished in non-oak casks. The Cherry Wood Finish is said to be the first Irish whisky to be matured in casks made from the cherry tree. The tree’s porous structure increases the interaction between the wood and whisky, resulting in flavours of ‘ginger, coconut and black tea’.
Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation at Midleton distillery, said cherry wood had been the most challenging cask type the team had worked with since it began researching maturation in 2014. He said: ‘The rare, porous wood is different to anything that we have handled before, so it has been a real achievement to create the perfect balance of flavour – the result is a world-first in Irish whiskey, with a nose of coconut fibre and ginger, a palate of fresh green herbs, black tea and unmistakable pot still spices and a long, fresh finish with prickly spice and hazelnut.’
Method & Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Wild Cherry Wood (46% abv) is available in the UK and Ireland as well as global travel retail for around €92 per 70cl. Method & Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Acacia Wood (46% abv) is available exclusively through the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Ireland for around €92 per 70cl.
A study being carried out by Heriot-Watt University and the Port of Leith Distillery has found that certain strains of beer brewing yeast “possess promising characteristics for whisky production”. The project, which is called the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and is funded by Innovate UK, will test over 20 strains of yeast over two years. The aim is to determine how each strain contributes to the flavour complexity of the whisky. The study notes that until the mid-20th century, many whisky distilleries shared their yeast with the local brewery or used a combination of both brewer’s and distiller’s yeasts to improve the flavour and mouthfeel.
Since the 1950s, however, M strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae have been mostly used for whisky production in Scotland. MX, a new so-called super-strain developed in the 1990s, was recently introduced after it was found to initiate a faster and more efficient fermentation. Another yeast strain called Mauri, originally sourced from a baker’s yeast, is also used. Brewer’s yeast, however, has been virtually phased out of the production process.
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