Irish Distillers Goes Deep Into Midleton Stock For New 45 Year Old Whiskey

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / February 19, 2020

Irish Distillers, the all things Irish whiskey arm of spirits giant Pernod Ricard, came into being in 1966, the result of a merger between John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distilleries Company. Into this new entity came a range of well know Irish whiskey brands, including Jameson, Midleton and others. This was followed, in 1975, by the closure of the Old Midleton Distillery as a new one was opened to take its place as the updated production facility for Irish Distillers.

After this time Old Midleton effectively became what’s known as a silent distillery. Precious few casks of the Old Midleton juice are now left today, and it is from these rare reserves that the new very high end and very old Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection is being launched.

The Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection, according to those behind it, will consist of six releases overall. The first, known as the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One, is a 45-year-old Irish single malt that has a very interesting history to it. It was laid down in 1974 by Master Distiller Emeritus Max Crockett, being part of his experimentation with peated single malt whiskey, which lasted from 1964 until 1974.

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One (image via Pernod Ricard)

Irish Distillers noted that “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.”

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“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 Distiller,” said Barry Crockett in a prepared statement. “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.”

“One of the most wonderous parts of my job is that I am often responsible for safekeeping the legacy of another,” added Nation. “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.”

This 45 year old Irish single malt whiskey was aged in a third-fill sherry cask and bottled at 51.2% ABV. As is befitting of such a high end release such as this, the whiskey is being “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.”

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection | Launch Film from The Public House on Vimeo.

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Plans call for 48, 750 ml bottles of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One to be released in Ireland, United Kingdom, France and the United States. Pricing is set at €35,000/£32,000/$40,000, making this release one of the most expensive Irish whiskeys ever to come to market. Two bottles will also be sold via a ballot system at The 1825 Room, an online members’ program.

Looking beyond this offering, other bottles in the collection will be released annually until the year 2025, ranging in age from 45 to 50 years old. The last release will coincide with Old Midleton Distillery’s 200th birthday.

Below you’ll find official tasting notes for your consideration.

  • 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.