It is a sign of rare courage and confidence for any successful business to start a bold new venture encouraging the wisdom of experience to be open to the creative imagination of experimentation.
The new micro distillery in Midleton opened in 2015 and as a manual hands-on plant, was used as a training hub by the Masters for the Apprentices. And so, Method & Madness was created in February 2017 as a new expression of Irish whiskey at the Midleton Distillery. Here, the Masters applied their well-proven methods of production over generations and welcomed the curiosity and innovation of their Apprentices. A range of whiskies including Single Malt, Single Grain and Single Pot Still, each finished by aging in French Limousin oak, virgin Spanish oak and in French Chestnut casks respectively.
The most recent innovation from Irish Distillers’ Method & Madness and one that is a reversal of the usual progression in spirits production, is their Irish Micro Distilled Gin. Brendan Buckley, Innovation and Specialty Brands Director at Irish Distillers, explained: “Many new producers in Ireland are releasing gins while their whiskeys mature. But we are in no terms late to the party – in true Method & Madness style, we are entering the gin market using our passion and unrivalled distilling expertise as our guide.”
However, while globally famous for its Irish whiskey production, the Midleton Distillery is no stranger to Gin. In the 1940s the Midleton Distillery was the first distillery in Ireland to produce a commercial gin with Cork Dry Gin. Its history with gin goes back even much further. Cork’s Murphy mercantile family in the 1800s imported through nearby Cobh, the world’s second deepest natural port, citrus fruits and exotic products and spices. These were available to the distillers at Midleton. Historic gin recipes from the 1790s have been preserved at Midleton Distillery’s archive and helped inspire this gin.
At Irish Distillers, overseen by Master Distiller, Brian Nation and Apprentice Distiller, Henry Donnelly, the Method & Madness Irish Micro Distilled Gin has been distilled in ‘Mickey’s Belly’, Ireland’s oldest Gin Still, first commissioned in 1958 at the Micro Distillery, Midleton.
Master Distiller, Brian Nation explained at the launch of the Method & Madness Gin at their Micro Distillery in Midleton recently that: “We use the past as a springboard for the future. Through our work with the Apprentices at the Micro Distillery, Midleton, we continue to innovate and experiment with different grains, distillation methods and spirit types and look forward to sharing our creations with the world in the coming years. As a Cork native myself, bringing the spirit of premium Irish gin back to the city has been a personal highlight – and one that I look forward to enjoying being a part of for many years to come.”
The sixteen signature botanicals including the mandatory juniper berries are black lemons (sundried limes), Irish gorse flowers, bitter and sweet oranges, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, lavender, bay, basil, caraway and coriander seeds, lemon verbena and cassia bark.
Owner of Great Irish Beverages, Oisin Davis’ impression of the Method & Madness Gin was that it was a clever play of botanicals that delivered an excellent sensory experience, so easy to mess up and very hard to get right. The Poachers’ Tonic from his range using Irish herbs and apples that Oisín recommended was the Poachers Classic Tonic where the Irish thyme accentuates the floral and spicy notes of the gin.
My tasting note:
The aromas’ top notes are distinctly citrussy showing the black lemons and lemon verbena followed by a floral note of the Irish wild gorse flower. On the palate, a woodland pine freshness was supported by a ginger spice and tangy orange.
Clear as a Clinebell:
In a market with growing appreciation of appearances and instagrammable images, the obsession with ice for cocktails and premium drinks is given a makeover too. Thanks to the Clinebell icemaker, the guys at Dublin’s All Bar None Events can produce completely transparent ice cubes and large blocks of ice for sculpting. The technique allows a slower freeze over 24 hours with a continuous agitation removing all air bubbles from the water. The result, a denser, colder and clearer ice that is slower to melt than the normal fast frozen and cloudy ice cubes.
Gin Tasting Event:
In April, Irish Distillers have a tasting experience of their Method & Madness new premium gin in Dublin on board a vessel at Mespil Road. Taking place at 6pm and 8pm on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th April and at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm Saturday, 6th April – limited to 20 places each evening. Tickets
at €25 through Eventbrite:
Onboard, guests will be offered an immersive tasting experience over 90 minutes, with food bites, DJ entertainment and a light installation show.
Liam Campbell is one of Ireland’s most experienced wine writers. His work has been featured in the pages of numerous publications, most recently as the Wine & Drinks Editor for The Irish Independent, as well as in Irish Homes, Easy Food and The Dubliner magazines.
Besides writing, his involvement in the world of wine goes deeper: he’s an approved WSET educator and holder of a WSET Diploma, Diploma in Craft Beer & Cider, and he has worked as a judge in international wine competitions and as a wine consultant.