It is said that in ancient Ireland, the landscape was so thickly blanketed with forests that a squirrel could travel from one end of the island to the other, jumping tree to tree and never touching the ground. After centuries of land clearing and the enormous 19th-century timber trade, Ireland’s forest coverage was reduced to just 1%. Poor squirrels! In an effort to reverse this, a new culture of sustainability has been fostered throughout Ireland. One example of this is The Dair Ghaelach series (meaning ‘Irish Oak’) from Midleton. 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 Virgin Irish Oak Collection Tree #2 has a sweet nose of lemon, toffee, toasted oak and rose petals. The palate shows off a malty flavour with caramel, cinnamon and chocolate while the finish has oak and cocoa.