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If you’re a whiskey drinker, you’ve certainly tried Jameson before, one of the most popular Irish whiskeys to come from the Emerald Isle. But do yourself a favor and check out Midleton Very Rare if you haven’t before, an ultra-premium blended whiskey made at the same distillery that surpasses its little sister in every regard. The latest release, Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais, was finished in a type of barrel you might not have heard of before.
The idea for Midleton Very Rare Forêt de Tronçais originated in 2017 when master distiller Kevin O’Gorman took a trip to France to search for a new type of wood in which to age Irish whiskey, and discovered the T5 cask. The oak used for these casks comes from the Tronçais forest in central France, and they were built by the Taransaud cooperage which makes barrels for the French wine and Cognac industries. According to the cooperage, the T5 barrel is made from fine-grain wood that is seasoned in open air for five years before being assembled, and adds intense flavor, aroma, and tannins to any wine or spirit matured in this type of cask.
The whiskey in question is a blend of single pot still and single grain whiskey distilled from the 1980s to the 2000s, and matured for several decades in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. It was then finished in T5 barrels for an additional three years, really more of a secondary maturation period. The official tasting notes for MVR Forêt de Tronçais describe herbal notes to start, along with orchard fruits and orange. Tannins from the French oak intermingle with chocolate honeycomb, vanilla, and some wood spice, and the finish is long and full of fruit.
Of course, a special whiskey deserves special packaging, and that certainly is the case here. The blue bottle was inspired by the color of the orchid on the Midleton logo. It comes in a cabinet designed by French woodmakers Manufacture Jacquemin, which is made from wood harvested from the Tronçais forest. The whiskey was bottled at 48 percent ABV and is available now in the U.S., Ireland, and a few other countries, as well as global travel retail, with an SRP of $5,000. You can check the Midleton Very Rare website to see if it’s available to order as well, and past vintages of MVR are still available to purchase from ReserveBar and Wine.com.