February 2020 sees the launch of the first release from Ireland’s oldest ever whiskey collection. Midleton Very Rare, renowned as the Pinnacle of Irish Whiskey, is produced in Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, Ireland and the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection is a collection of six releases.
The first is a 45-year-old Irish single malt. There will be one release annually until the year 2025, ranging in age from 45 to 50 years old, all from the fabled Old Midleton Distillery (operating 1825-1975). The last release will coincide with Old Midleton Distillery’s 200th birthday.
A ‘silent’ distillery is one that has closed its doors and been lost to ages past, achieving almost mythical status. As rumours of this ‘unicorn’ whiskey swirl around the whiskey world, these precious bottlings have become highly sought after by whiskey enthusiasts. A traditional distillery, Old Midleton Distillery was famous throughout the world for Irish whiskey, but when it closed its doors for the last time in 1975, it became an iconic part of Irish distilling legend.
While other silent distilleries have re-opened and been brought back to life, Old Midleton has been fully decommissioned and will never produce again. Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One will be the first official release from Old Midleton Distillery in 16 years and the collection represents some of the last drops of this inimitable spirit before the distillery closed its doors forever.
When the spirit for Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One was laid down in 1974 under Master Distiller Emeritus Max Crockett, a year before the closure of Old Midleton Distillery, it was part of a series of innovative trials never to be released or repeated. Crockett’s experimentation with peated single malt whiskey from 1964 to 1974 will come to light for the very first time through this release which paves the way for new beginnings in the world of ultra-rare, luxury Irish whiskey.
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One is the only release in this collection to have been created as a peated single malt – pure innovation for Irish whiskey at the time, and rare still today. Decades in the making, the third-fill sherry cask cask that has influenced this whiskey has been lying dormant for 45 years. This makes it one of the world’s rarest whiskeys by its very nature. The cask contributes notes of ripe honeydew melon, red berries and sweet spices of toasted oak.
Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett, son of Max Crockett, recalls sourcing the peat for this 45 year old expression, which will be the last peated whiskey ever from Old Midleton Distillery. During this time, Barry was learning his trade from his father, Max Crockett, the ‘forefather’ of modern-day Irish whiskey. In recent years it has been the work of Master Distiller Brian Nation to monitor, sample and determine the ideal bottling time for this rare whiskey laid down by his predecessors. Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection represents a unique opportunity to taste the work of three legends.
Staying true to its proud Irish heritage and luxury craftsmanship, Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One will be decanted into handblown and etched crystal decanter bottles, produced by Ireland’s Waterford Crystal, with each of the bottles individually numbered. The bottle comes displayed in a wooden cabinet handcrafted by Irish designer, John Galvin, using wood up to 200 years old from ancient reclaimed whiskey vats. This further cements Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection as the ideal treasure for any whiskey enthusiast.
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. 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.
– Barry Crockett: Master Distiller Emeritus
One of the most wonderous 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.
– Brian Nation: Master Distillers at Irish Distillers
RRP: €35,000, £32,000, $40,000
Availability: 48 750ml bottles in Ireland, UK, France and US
Two bottles will be sold via ballot system on The 1825 Room, the Midleton Very Rare online members’ programme. Whiskey lovers can register their interest to be entered into a lottery to purchase a bottle from 9pm on 18th February for one week.
Tasting notes by Master Distiller Brian Nation
Nose: The first impression is very rich with deep, dark spices on a satisfying antique oak base. An earthy note of freshly cut peat, along with chamois leather, is lifted by a twist of grapefruit. The very old sherry wine seasoned hogshead cask contributes a touch of ripe honeydew melon and red berries as well as the sweet spices of toasted oak.
Taste: Instantly rich with the initial peppery spices slowly softening as the influence of the malted barley shows through. Liquorice root, barley sugar and honey bring some sweetness, just given a little edge by a touch of sherbet. All build on a solid foundation of toasted oak.
Finish: The rich spices and malted barley are slow to fade.
Midleton Very Rare is the ultimate expression of craftsmanship from Midleton Distillery. Created in 1984, by Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett, only two Master Distillers have had the privilege of preserving its legacy.
Once a year, Master Distiller Brian Nation hand-selects the finest and rarest whiskeys from the inventory of Midleton Distillery before blending them to create a true whiskey masterpiece, often referred to as the ‘pinnacle of Irish whiskey’. The artistry and expertise of the cask selection process for Midleton Very Rare’s annual vintage ensures that only the finest whiskeys bear the prestigious name.
The 1825 Room, an online membership platform giving exclusive access to rare releases and insights into the world’s most sought-after Irish whiskey, invites whiskey enthusiasts to learn more about the other expressions in the range. Namely the Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach series, which derives its name from ‘Irish Oak’ as the first Irish whiskey to be finished in virgin Irish Oak, and Midleton Very Rare Barry Crockett Legacy, a tribute to an iconic figure both in the history of both Midleton Distillery and Irish whiskey.
For more information or to become a member visit midletonveryrare.com