Midleton Very Rare unveils Ireland’s ‘oldest’ whiskey rangeBy Nicola Carruthers
Irish Distillers has revealed the first limited edition single malt in the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection – a 45-year-old whiskey priced at US$40,000.
The 45-year-old Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One is the first whiskey to be launched from the range. It is the first official release from the site in 16 years and contains some of the last drops from the distillery.
The spirit used to make the single malt whiskey was laid down in 1974 under master distiller emeritus Max Crockett.
It was part of a range of innovative trials never to be released or repeated. Crockett’s experimentation with peated single malt from 1964 to 1974 will be unveiled for the first time with this release.
The new whiskey is the only peated single malt in the collection and has been influenced by a third-fill Sherry cask, which provides notes of ripe honeydew melon, red berries and sweet spices of toasted oak.
Bottled at 51.2% ABV, the whiskey will be limited to 48 bottles, which will be available in Ireland, France, the UK and US, priced at RRP €35,000 (£32,000/US$40,000) per 750ml.
Two of the bottles will be sold via a ballot system on Midleton Very Rare’s online members programme, The 1825 Room. Whiskey lovers can register their interest to be entered into a lottery to buy a bottle for one week until 25 February.
Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers unit will launch one whiskey each year until 2025 as part of the new collection, with each expression ranging in age from 45 to 50 years.
The final expression will coincide with the 200th birthday of the Old Midleton Distillery, which closed its doors in 1975. The six-strong series is thought to be Ireland’s oldest whiskey collection.
“It’s remarkable that 45 years on we could even be speaking about a whiskey which was distilled in the very final period of the Old Midleton Distillery,” said master distiller emeritus Barry Crockett, son of Max Crockett.
“It is the ultimate heirloom and memento of the dedication to precise malt preparation, brewing and distillation skills of generations of distillers at Midleton. Furthermore, it’s among the very last remaining whiskey distilled through the largest pot still in the world, a skill which in its own right required great refinement of the distiller’s art.”
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One will be presented in handblown and etched crystal decanters, produced by Ireland’s Waterford Crystal. The single malt will be displayed in a wooden cabinet, made from wood aged up to 200 years from ancient reclaimed whiskey vats.
Brian Nation, master distiller at Irish Distillers, added: “One of the most wondrous parts of my job is that I am often responsible for safekeeping the legacy of another.
“For many years now, my colleagues and I have been caring for the work of Max and Barry Crockett, to determine the optimum time to share it with the world. The team at Midleton Distillery is extremely proud that the time has finally come to introduce the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection.”
On the nose, Nation describes the whiskey as having an “earthy note of freshly cut peat, along with chamois leather”. The “rich” palate has “initial peppery spices” and hints of liquorice root, barley sugar, honey and sherbet.