Whiskey price

Midleton Very Rare: What a $45,000 Irish Whiskey Looks Like

London (CNN) — The second batch of Ireland’s oldest whiskey collection will be released in May – and a single bottle costs $45,000.

Presented in a hand-blown Waterford crystal decanter and displayed in a wooden cabinet made from reclaimed whiskey vats, there are only 70 bottles of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two in the world.

When the Old Midleton Distillery in County Cork closed in 1975, after 150 years in business, several casks of trial whiskey innovations disappeared with it.

They slept soundly in their barrels for almost half a century – until their resurrection last year.

The first release was a 45-year-old peated single malt, created in 1974 by Emeritus Master Distiller Max Crockett and kept in the abandoned distillery for four generations.

The second is a 46-year-old single pot still whiskey, created in 1973, and priced $5,000 more than Chapter One.

CNN Travel has tasted both.

Seance with a rare spirit

The Midleton Very Rare distillery was established in 1825.

Tamara Hardingham-Gill/CNN

Single pot still whiskey is a style of Irish whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley in a pot still.

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two was made, according to its makers, in the largest copper pot still in the world.

It began its maturation journey in a selection of sherry and bourbon casks, where it remained untouched for 20 years. J

The whiskey was then married and re-packaged in refill bourbon casks. Years later it was repackaged in port pipe and once again laid to gain more depth and complexity.

Finally, it was rested once more in a bourbon cask, until it was finally deemed to have reached peak perfection by current Midleton Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman.

For the launch of Chapter One in February 2020, whiskey enthusiasts from around the world gathered at the Old Session House in London.

Glasses of the amber-hued elixir were distributed around the tables of eagerly waiting diners, before – with a flourish – a switch was flipped to light the glasses from below and the whiskey to glow.

This time around, O’Gorman is set to virtually guide us through this session with this rarest of spirits, presenting the tasting via video from the grounds of the Midleton Very Rare Distillery as we open our samples at home.

Depths to savor

Rich mahogany splashes into the glass, then a fruity bouquet hits the nose. Exotic spices too and a sweet swirl of toffee, toffee and fudge.

“I get ripe plum, blackberry, a hint of blackcurrant, lots and lots of fruit,” says O’Gorman. “This is mainly due to the time the whiskey has spent in this port pipe, from Portugal.”

The complex aroma is completed with a touch of leather and a touch of hazelnut.

Our noses filled, it’s time to part our lips.

“First you get those spices, a little bit of black pepper, and then you get the fruit,” says O’Gorman. “A bit of cassis, berries. A hint of anise, a hint of ginger, then that nutty flavor. Toasted oak and a hint of caramel.”

Tasting a good whiskey is like skimming stones on a lake. The first sip breaks the surface, then the ripples of flavor spill out, but there are still uncharted depths to savor.

‘Unicorn Whiskey’

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two

Sample whiskey at home with a Waterford Crystal glass.

Courtesy of Midleton Very rare

Chapter Two whiskey is 53.5% cask strength, slightly stronger than last year’s 51.2%.

We first taste it pure, in order to appreciate the sweetness of the distillate and its full contribution of flavor to its original strength.

The multi-layered finish rolls for long stretches. The spices say goodbye, then the fruit, until all you have to do is savor the toasted oak and barley.

We then add our distilled water, which has been delivered from the River Degourney in Midleton.

“When we add water to whiskey, it just opens up the flavors and aromas,” says O’Gorman. “In this case, it becomes more fruity, again those butterscotch notes.”

When a complex and balanced whiskey like this sits in the glass and warms to room temperature, different flavor profiles and taste profiles are revealed with each fresh sip.

The Silent Distillery Collection is described by Midleton Very Rare as “a unicorn whisky”, part of a series of trials of innovation, never to be repeated and – after those few bottles are gone – never to be tasted again. .

This whiskey is the second of six releases, with one release per year until 2025, ranging in age from 45 to 50 years, all from the Old Midleton distillery. The latest release will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Old Midleton Distillery.

There will be 70 bottles of this second release on sale in the US, UK, France, Ireland and global travel retail.