For the Irish whiskey aficionado, few releases create as much heart-pounding excitement—and finger-clicking anxiety as they try to order one of the few bottles—as the annual Midleton Very Rare release. The brand, owned by Irish Distillers, simply makes great whiskey, most of which are limited-editions. The Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais is the latest jewel in the East Cork, Ireland-based brand’s crown. The whiskey is aged in French oak casks usually reserved for wine and Cognac.
Created by master distiller Kevin O’Gorman, Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais is the result of finishing the brand’s famous whiskey in T5 casks from the Tronçais forest. Located in Allier, France, the forest’s sessile oaks—whose ancient name in French, “tronce,” gave its name to the district—were planted by Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert to supply the French Navy back in the 17th century.
The Taransaud cooperage—which traces its lineage of coopers back to 1672—usually creates barrels for wine and Cognac houses. But this time, the T5 casks used for the Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais. The casks come from fine-grain wood that is seasoned in open air for five years before assemblage, and according to Taransaud, add intense flavor, aroma, and tannins.
O’Gorman created a bespoke blend of Midleton single grain pot still whiskeys matured over a decade in American bourbon barrels spanning from the 1980s to the 2000s that would bring out the intricacies of the cask. He then filled the T5 casks with this special blend, letting it mature for an additional three years.
“We may have created the pinnacle of Irish whiskey with Midleton Very Rare, but we are constantly driven by the desire to push boundaries and create something new,” says O’Gorman. “Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais represents our relentless pursuit of perfection and innovation while staying true to the unmistakable Midleton character and DNA, as we introduce some of the world’s finest oak to produce an outstanding and elegant Midleton expression.”
Bottled at 48% ABV, the first edition of Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais will be available in Ireland, the U.S., Northern Ireland, global travel retail, France, the UK, China, Hong Kong, and online for $5,000 USD per bottle.
Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais