Method And Madness is a new brand of Irish whiskey that comes from Irish Distillers, particularly Midleton, where these expressions are born. The idea, across the board, is to take tradition and turn it a bit on its head — with all three whiskeys seeing a different type of wood treatment than the typical ex-bourbon barrels.
A bit more from the folks at M&M:
Method And Madness celebrates the creativity of our whiskey masters through the fresh talent of our apprentices. Taking inspiration from the famous Shakespearean quote, ‘ Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t ’. Method and Madness is designed to reflect a next generation Irish spirit brand with a measure of curiosity and intrigue (Madness), while honouring the foundation of innovation and experimentation grounded in the generations of expertise at the Midleton Distillery. (Method).
Without further ado, let’s look at the inaugural trio of whiskeys. They aren’t available in the U.S. yet, but soon enough you should find them at your favorite spirits merchant.
All are 92 proof.
Method And Madness Single Grain Irish Whiskey – This is a standard single grain whiskey — but it’s aged in bourbon casks before being finished in virgin Spanish Oak. Results are a bit iffy. The virgin oak — as it tends to do — does a real number of the delicate grain whiskey, impregnating it with an overwhelming lumberyard character (“pencil shavings” don’t quite cut it), with hints of coal dust and walnut shells. The finish sees some sweetness trying to peek around the edges, but it’s a fool’s errand. B / $40
Method And Madness Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey – Single pot still (reminder: malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still) matured in sherry and bourbon barrels, then finished in chestnut casks. Chestnuts! This is a very exotic whiskey, driven in part by the pot still spirit and part by the wood treatment. There’s lots of spice on the nose that melds with floral notes and some vanilla cream. The palate is clean and silky, but it’s got a raciness that stuffs tons of vanilla candies, mixed flower petals, and ginger-led baking spice into the palate. The finish starts to feel a little busy, but some sherry-driven grip gives it balance. B+ / $65
Method And Madness Single Malt Irish Whiskey – This whiskey was distilled in 2002, aged in bourbon barrels, and finished in French Limousin oak. No age statement, but it’s roughly a 15 year-old whiskey. The nose immediately offers notes of salted caramel, dark chocolate, and fresh wood, but the body has that unmistakable honeycomb and hint-of-lemon-peel essence you find only in Irish whiskey, moving ever so slowly from gentle citrus to mushroom, with hints of spring onion and black pepper, and a fade-out of sandalwood. B+ / $69