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Midleton Very Rare marks 40 years

The commemorative Midleton Very Rare release from Irish Distillers contains whiskeys that span four decades and three master distillers.

Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition
Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition features whiskeys made by all three Midleton master distillers

Ireland’s Midleton Distillery has announced a special Ruby Edition for the 40th anniversary of its Very Rare collection, a release that blends together whiskeys distilled by each of the brand’s three master distillers, Barry Crockett, Brian Nation, and Kevin O’Gorman

The limited release comes from three casks, the oldest of which dates back four decades, each a blend of single pot still and single grain whiskey. After blending, O’Gorman finished the whiskey in a ruby Port cask for nine months. 

“As we celebrate four decades since the inaugural launch of Midleton Very Rare, we are excited to create yet another milestone in Midleton Distillery’s extraordinary history with the launch of Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition,” said O’Gorman, who took over from Nation as master distiller in 2020. 

“This exquisite release brings influence from all three master distillers and not only helps us to preserve the knowledge of Midleton Distillery’s past masters but builds on it by evolving the art of distillation and maturation with the addition of the ruby Port cask. It has been a privilege to play a part in the creation of this pinnacle of Irish whiskey and I look forward to continuing to evolve the Midleton Very Rare brand.”

The whiskey is bottled at 53.1% ABV and comes in a bespoke Waterford crystal decanter that features a four-point crystal representing the four decades of Midleton Very Rare. On the nose, it has notes of blackcurrant, raspberry, and plum with clove oil, nutmeg, and dark chocolate on the palate. 

It will be available in the US, the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Persian Gulf, Hong Kong, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, and global travel retail, for €20,000 (US$21,600).

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, Midleton is releasing a ‘one-of-a-kind’ bottle of Ruby Edition designed by Keanes Jewellers in Cork. The NFT bottle features hand-engraved 18-carat solid gold on both the neck and stopper and 32 rubies of identical quality and style encrusted within the neck collar. 

“Rubies signify a 40th anniversary and are considered the gem of passion, something that feels so apt with the passion that shines through from the master distillers and all those involved in the creation of Midleton Very Rare,” said Patrick Keane, director of Keanes Jewellers.

“As a business local to the distillery, we were ecstatic to be asked to collaborate with Irish Distillers and took huge care to create something worthy of the Midleton Very Rare Ruby Anniversary Edition. It has been an honour to be involved in such a momentous and historic moment for the brand.”

The specialty bottle will start at an auction price of US$60,000, with the auction ending on 7 March at 3pm GMT. 

Along with these specialty whiskeys, Midleton Very Rare has also announced the release of its 2024 vintage, a 40% ABV whiskey with notes of  tropical fruit, crème brûlée, toffee apple, and chocolate-dipped honeycomb.

Last year, Irish Distillers expanded its Midleton Very Rare range with the release of a whiskey finished in rare French Tronçais oak casks.

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