Oldest and most expensive Irish whiskey in the world distilled in Cork

Oldest and most expensive Irish whiskey in the world distilled in Cork
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection's Chapter One whiskey, which is worth €35,000. Pic: Irish Distillers

The oldest and most expensive bottle of Irish whiskey has been released by Irish Distillers, and the product was brewed in Cork. 

The decommissioned Midleton Distillery will be releasing Ireland's oldest-ever whiskey collection over the next five years, with the first whiskey available now.

The first whiskey to be released is a 45-year-old Irish single malt, which is worth €35,000.

Midleton Very Rare whiskey was produced in the Old Midleton Distillery in Cork, which operated from 1825-1975.

The new collection, called 'Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection', will consist of six releases and 44 bottles in total. 

There will be one whiskey 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.

A 'silent' distillery is one that has closed its doors and is no longer operational. 

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 Collection's Chapter One whiskey will be the first official release from Old Midleton Distillery in 16 years.

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection's Chapter One whiskey, which is worth €35,000. Pic: Irish Distillers
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection's Chapter One whiskey, which is worth €35,000. Pic: Irish Distillers

This whiskey was created 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 in whiskey-making, which have not been repeated since. 

The Chapter One whiskey is the only release in this collection to have been created as a peated single malt. This was pure innovation for Irish whiskey at the time and is still rare even today. 

Decades in the making, the third-fill sherry cask that has influenced this whiskey has been lying dormant for 45 years.

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. 

At the time, Barry was learning his trade from his father, Max, who was regarded as 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 from Midleton. 

The whiskey has been decanted into handblown and etched Waterford Crystal decanter bottles and each of the bottles is individually numbered. 

The bottle comes displayed in a wooden cabinet handcrafted by Irish designer, John Galvin, using wood that is up to 200 years old, sourced from ancient reclaimed whiskey vats.

Barry Crockett, Master Distiller Emeritus said: "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."

Brian Nation, Master Distiller at Irish Distillers said: "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."

Brendan Buckley, International Marketing Director at Irish Distillers said: "At a time when Irish whiskey is booming and aged stock is extremely limited, we are privileged to have the opportunity to launch this piece of history. The work of three Irish whiskey legends, Max Crockett, Barry Crockett and Brian Nation... this is truly a new chapter in Irish luxury."

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection's Chapter One whiskey, which is worth €35,000. Pic: Irish Distillers
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection's Chapter One whiskey, which is worth €35,000. Pic: Irish Distillers

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