Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Review / Method & Madness Rye And Malt

This is the latest limited edition from the innovative Irish whiskey brand of Method & Madness. The Method & Madness Rye and Malt is the first product that has been distilled at Irish Distillers' micro distillery within their larger Midleton facility. The Micro Distillery began production in 2015 and this spirit was created by Katherine Condon from the distilling team. The whiskey features a cereal mix of 60% rye and 40% malted barley. This has been double distilled and then matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. The creation was inspired by the discovery of notebooks dating back to 1857 that showed rye was being used by John Jameson III.
The Micro Distillery is a distillery within a distillery and is owned and operated by Irish Distillers. It is housed in a stone warehouse dating from the 1830s within their much larger Midleton complex in Co. Cork. It was established and began production in September 2015 and is now the centre for experimentation and innovation at Irish Distillers. Everything is produced by hand and using traditional Irish whiskey making techniques such as triple distillation through copper pot stills. Experiments include using different washes, distillation times, distillation cuts, cask types for maturation and improving the efficiency and environmental impact of distillation. The Micro Distillery is small and has an annual capacity of just 50,000 litres.

"We have been inspired by the innovators in Irish whiskey who came before us. In turn, we have questioned tradition and challenged convention to follow their inspiration and drive the category forward for a new generation." 
Katherine Condon.


The Method & Madness Rye and Malt is bottled at 46% ABV and is available via selected specialist retailers online and in Ireland and the UK. A bottle will cost £70/ €82.

Our tasting notes

The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is deliciously fragrant and aromatic. Lemon and butterscotch rise first from the glass and they are followed by floral honey and vanilla sponge cake. Further notes of baking spice (think of cinnamon, mace and clove), milk chocolate and candied lime peel follow, plus a hint of ginger oat cookies.

On the palate this whiskey is very woody to begin with. Freshly sawn oak and cinnamon kick things off, followed by some drying tannins, toasted nuts and further warming spice. Much needed sweetness comes through after a short time and settles things down. The butterscotch and floral honey notes from the nose are present, along with golden syrup and milk chocolate. 

Hints of apricot jam, stewed apple and orange marmalade also come through, along with a faint note of super ripe tropical fruit (imagine pineapple especially, but also mango and peach). There is an underlying robust cereal note that is constant and adds structure and grip. This is accentuated by a distinct note of mocha that evolves into espresso coffee. Late hints of white pepper and brazil nut elongate the palate.

The finish is of decent length and becomes very drying and warm with time. The sweet honey-like and fruit notes fade. The chocolate characteristic remains a little longer and appears more exaggerated alongside the woody notes and spices. Very nice.

What's the verdict?

While this is not the first Method & Madness product that we have sampled, it is the first produced entirely at the Micro Distillery in Midleton. It is always exciting to taste the first product from a new place and this is no different. The mix of barley and rye cereals makes for a very intriguing and tasty whiskey indeed.

This is a whiskey for the modern generation. It is non-traditional for the Irish category and young, flavoursome and highly expressive. The result is impressive and a large company like Irish Distillers should be applauded for entering the artisanal market. We cannot wait to see which other innovations and experiments make it to the shelves in the future. This is a very promising beginning.

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