Midleton Very Rare launches Silent Distillery whiskey range

Words by
Charlotte McManus

7th April 2020

A truly special collectable for those who enjoy a top-quality dram, this release is even more remarkable for being the world’s oldest Irish whiskey collection

Marking a new chapter in the evolving world of Irish luxury, this spring marked the release of the first in a range of six world-class whiskies from Midleton Very Rare. With one launch planned each year from 2020 until 2025, the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Whiskey Collection is comprised of a series of supremely precious spirits from Old Midleton, a “silent” (i.e. no longer in operation) distillery famed for its iconic drams and a rich heritage that stretches back as far as 1825. 

For the uninitiated, Midleton Very Rare is the high-end arm of Midleton Distillery. Owned by the Irish Distillers Group, the company has been based in Midleton, Cork since 1975, rubbing shoulders with Old Midleton, which closed its doors for the last time that same year. Midleton Distillery established its Very Rare label established in 1984 by esteemed Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett. It is now under the stewardship of Brian Nation, the second Master Distiller to carry on the distillery’s proud heritage in the production of outstanding Irish spirits. Each year, Nation crafts a new luxury whiskey from a carefully chosen blend of the rarest and very best whiskeys from Midleton Distillery’s cellars.

Aged for 45 years, the spirit at the heart of the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One was formulated by Crockett in 1974 and was never originally intended for release. As a peated single malt whiskey, it is rare not only due to its nature – as a rule, Irish whiskeys tend towards blends – but also because of the fact that it has been matured in a third-fill sherry cask for almost five decades. It will be the last ever peated whiskey produced from Old Midleton. While some silent distilleries are brought back into operation over the years, Old Midleton will never produce whiskey again, making these new launches even more special.

We were lucky enough to sample a dram of this ultra-rare spirit before it went on sale to the public. The nose opens with a rich and earthy oak note warmed by peppered spices, before giving way to a softer malted barley taste with a hint of honeyed sweetness. There is a real length on the finish, lingering on the tongue with an echo of of that irresistible spice and barley.  

Continuing the Irish theme, Chapter One is presented in a beautiful handblown crystal decanter bottle by Waterford, each etched with its individual number. This sits in a handsome wooden cabinet handcrafted by Irish designer John Galvin, who has repurposed historic woods as old as 200 years from reclaimed whiskey vats. The result is a true collector's item and a worthy addition to Ireland's growing luxury spirits market. We very much look forward to 2021's edition. 

The Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One retails at £32,000 and is limited to a run of 48 bottles in Ireland, France, the US and the UK. For more information, visit midletonveryrare.com