If you’re looking to buy a statement Irish whiskey, to own one of the most sought after and best examples of everything the island has to offer, then you need look no further than Midleton Very Rare. Coming from Jameson’s New Midleton distillery, the whiskey is proof of why Irish whiskey is among the greatest in the world.
Though the annual production is now around 2,500 cases, still small in whiskey terms, the global fame of the whiskey means it’s still as rare as ever. For certain years, such as the 2009 and the almost mythical 1988, the search takes on epic quest proportions for collectors eager to complete their sets.
The Midleton Very Rare range is the longest running series of annual Irish whiskey releases, 2017 being its 34th version. Ever since its beginning it has sought to be a definitive expression, first of the New Midleton Distillery’s production and blending capabilities, and later that of Ireland’s whiskey prowess in general.
First released in 1984, under the stewardship of the third-generation Master Distiller Barry Crockett, the initial offering (the only one not to bear a year) featured whiskeys which ranged from 9 to 13 years, a blend of single pot still and single grain casks. This is unsurprising considering the limited stock available at New Midleton which had only been running spirit since 1975.
Nowadays however the whiskey is drawn from a wide selection of more than 250 casks, with the 2017 version containing a 26-year-old Single Pot Still and a 32-year-old Single Grain. Thus, the flavours that define Midleton Very Rare, while possible to view on a continuum stretching back more than 30 years, also grow and evolve year on year, with each release intended to be better than the last. This is borne out by the fact that Barry Crockett himself said that he felt his finest two productions were his last two, 2012 and 2013.
Though losing the decades of experience of Crockett, the torch has been taken up with gusto by new Master Distiller Brian Nation, who served as his apprentice for more than ten years. The versions since 2014 have been met with delight by connoisseurs and critics, continuing the process of eternal improvement and never resting on their whiskey laurels in the search for perfection.
Midleton, and indeed other Irish distilleries, have released rarer single cask and one-off offerings which are, by their nature, fewer in number. However, for a taste of the best that Irish whiskey has to offer it is Midleton Very Rare which defines the real milestones of Irish whiskey’s journey of redemption over the past four decades.
At Irish Spirit, following our own quest to bring the finest and rarest Irish whiskeys to our customers, we are delighted to be able to offer up some of the best Midleton Very Rares, including the extremely rare 2009. We are also very proud to be the only place anywhere in the world, outside Dublin Airport, where you can purchase the entire collection of Midleton Very Rare, from 1984 – 2017.