I wrote about Method & Madness in an earlier post, then about the single pot still whiskey. In the series, there is also a single grain whiskey.
Now, ever since I started enjoying whiskey for real, I’ve always despised grain whiskey. I haven’t been too fond of blends in the past, because I thought they had too little flavour. The grain whiskey is what differs blends from single malts or single pot still whiskeys, and since I didn’t like blends, I’ve always seen grain whiskey as something unnecessary – if whiskey is better without it, why use it? I’ve tasted a few single grain whiskeys and until recently, they have all been too boring for my taste buds.
Having said that, in recent years I’ve totally changed my mind about blended whiskeys, I’ve discovered over time that there are some really good blends and that Irish whiskey makers are the most brilliant at making top-quality blends. For example, after whiskey travels, premium tastings and whatnot, I still love the standard Jameson, and not to mention the Jameson Black Barrel – of which the cask strength edition is one of the best whiskeys I've ever had - and JJ Corry.
I still haven't been convinced about grain whiskey though. That was until august 2017 when I visited Chapel Gate and tasted their grain whiskey straight from the cask, and until I was at the Abbey bar in Timoleague and my husband brought me a Method and Madness single grain.
Method & Madness is the brand for which Midleton distillery apprentices & masters work together to create something new and innovative. So what have they done with the grain whiskey?
It’s been matured in ex-bourbon barrels, finished for 12 months in virgin Spanish oak, and then bottled at 46%.
It’s very oaky. Lots of fresh wood. Also citrus peel, grass and something that reminds of mint or rosemary. With a few drops of water added, the aromas become sweeter, vanilla comes in, and the wood is less intense.
Pepper, nice sweetness, vanilla, oak. Soft and fresh but with lots of flavour. Long peppery finish. When I add a few drops of water it loses lots of its body and attitude. I like complex and rough whiskeys – but still sweet and creamy – and this one is much better without water.
I love how much flavour this whiskey has. I love it when my preconceptions are proved wrong! This is much more flavoursome than many single malts. I suspect many people don’t like it because of the intense wood character, but I’ve always liked whiskeys with lots of oak flavour, so this one definitely is a favourite to me and in my opinion, something of the best that Midleton has produced. Some of you may know that I love flavour bombs – and this is definitely one of those.