Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition Whiskey

In 1984, master distiller Barry Crockett (pictured below left) created the very first Midleton Very Rare release. He had a simple goal in mind: to produce the finest Irish whiskey ever. Scotland had a far greater heritage with its own whisky industry, but this first edition firmly put Ireland on the map. Now, forty years later, Midleton has released its latest edition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its Very Rare lineage. Unveiled on the grounds of the Midleton distillery in the presence of Crockett himself, and sampled in the very house in which he was born, the Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition is one of the biggest whiskey launches of the year, channelling the innovation of Crockett in the ‘80s to create a unique expression of the distillery’s potential.

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The Ruby Edition

The Ruby Edition has been overseen by Midleton’s in-house team of experts, including current master distiller, Kevin O’Gorman. Making use of the Irish brand’s esteemed back catalogue, a number of single pot still and single grain whiskeys were blended to form it. Finished in a ruby port cask and with an age range of over four decades, it’s essentially a piece of history in a bottle. To tie in with Midleton’s heritage, whiskeys laid down by each of its master distillers, Barry Crockett, Brian Nation and current distiller O’Gorman, were used. It was the latter’s idea to finish the blended whiskey in a ruby port cask for nine months, further associating the edition with rubies, a stone synonymous with 40th anniversaries.

Hugely complex, with a myriad of flavours

The result is hugely complex, with a myriad of flavours and tastes complementing each other. Midleton is renowned for its signature profile of orchard fruits, citrus, vanilla and floral notes. But the ruby barrel infused the edition with distinct blackcurrant, plum and berry undertones, for a glorious symphony of flavours that you won’t forget any time soon. As O’Gorman puts it, “We can see how in nine months, the whiskeys that we put together in the warehouse have changed and have taken on these wonderful flavours. I get lovely dark fruits, blackcurrants and blackberries. If you think of jams, blackcurrant jam, blackberry jam and autumnal fruits and plum. There is a touch of raspberry, almost like a raspberry tartlet. So you can see the immediate impact of the Ruby Port.

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“The whiskeys in this are up to 42 years old so you have a sort of old furniture, tobacco note coming through, which you see in old whiskies. Then if you get through the fruit, there is dark chocolate. A very rich dark chocolate. You’ve also got spices from the pot still, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. It’s everything coming together in harmony.”

Availability and price

Retailing at 20,000 euro or £17,558, the Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition is a special bottle of whiskey. Even more special though is a one off bottle, created in collaboration with Keanes Jewellers of Cork. The unique bottle is made with hang-engraved 18ct gold and features thirty two rubies set in the neck, making it as much a piece of art as a bottle to be drunk. It went up for auction through BlockBar, with a starting price of $60,000. The auction ended at $120,000, showing that Midleton is at the top of its game, and the appetite for outstanding whiskey is as strong as its ever been.

Shop now at midletonveryrare.com

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