Before the boom in the timber trade and agricultural land clearing, Ireland was thickly blanketed in forests. After forest coverage dropped to as low as 1%, there has been a concerted effort to reverse this with a renewed focus on sustainable timber practices. The Dair Ghaelach series (meaning ‘Irish Oak’) from Midleton is an example of this. The project was led by Midleton’s previous Master of Maturation Kevin O’Gorman and sought both to source Irish oak in a sustainable way, and to create new styles of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Each whiskey in the range has been matured in barrels made from virgin Irish oak sourced from different forests across the country. The process is so thorough that the wood can be traced back to a single tree in the forest! The result is that each release is a special reflection of that forest’s character. Dair Ghaelach Kylebeg Wood Midleton Very Rare Virgin Irish Oak Collection Tree #4 has a nose of warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, with fruit and fudge. The palate has flavours of honey, melon, vanilla and pear. The finish is long with plums, dried apricot and hazelnut.