Grain to Glass in one single distillery, like no other style of whiskey, Single Pot Still Irish whiskey has stayed true to its roots and whiskey making traditions.
The main component of traditional Irish whiskey since the 1700s, unmalted barley imparts a silky mouthfeel (or mouth-coating texture) combined with an intriguing spiciness to the finish that truly sets Irish whiskey apart on the world stage. Meanwhile the malted barley has been tricked into germinating to allow for the crucial release of sugars during the brewing process.
The barley we use comes from local farmers. The water we use all flows through the Midleton Distillery, be it from from the Dungourney river or the aquifer underneath the distillery that we use in cooling our busy stills. Enjoy a more in-depth explanation and a glimpse inside our distillery here.
The first stage of whiskey production sees the correct mix of milled (or ground) malted and unmalted barley being left to steep in hot water. This enables the enzymes in the malt to breakdown the available starch into smaller fermentable sugars.
Once it’s ready this liquid (referred to as wort) is forwarded for fermentation. Essentially this involves the conversion of these sugars, into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2. Distiller’s yeast is added and the resulting interaction produces beer referred to as ‘wash’.
Irish whiskey is world renowned for its smooth taste, this is partially the result of our triple distillation method which refines our distillate, preparing it for maturation. This triple distillation process allows the distiller to 'cut' and 'redirect' spirit as it flows between the wash, feints and spirit stills.
As a result, the Midleton distillers can create several variants of Single Pot Still spirit which will go on to mature into the finest Single Pot Still Irish whiskeys.
Once the raw distillate is produced to the Master Distiller’s requirements it is then filled into oak casks for the long, slow maturation process. Here the clear spirit takes on the colour and characteristics of the wood, be it Sherry-seasoned Spanish oak or Bourbon-seasoned American oak. This process is carefully monitored by the Master of Maturation and the Master Blender who decide when a cask is ready.
After the decades long maturation stage, our Head Blender Billy Leighton selects the barrels and marries the whiskey to make the distinctive Single Pot Still tastes. Each barrel is nosed with a view to which whiskey is being blended to ensure the components make the specific flavour profile of that particular bottling.
For example bourbon barrels contribute vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon whilst sherry butts contribute much richer dark dried fruit flavours. Each batch is then carefully bottled, ready for their next journey.
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