Published: 28th February 2024

Midleton Very Rare celebrates 40th anniversary with extraordinary launch of the Ruby Edition

Ruby anniversary bottling has been inspired and crafted by all three of the revered Midleton Master Distillers, Barry Crockett, Brian Nation and Kevin O’Gorman.

To celebrate 40 years of Midleton Very Rare, the pinnacle of Irish whiskey, Irish Distillers is thrilled to launch the Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition.

An exquisite blend of single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys, with an age range spanning four decades and finished in a ruby port cask, only the most exceptional and rarest liquids from the Midleton store house have been selected and masterfully married to form this celebratory expression.

This new launch has been masterfully created to combine liquids originally laid down by each of the revered Midleton Master Distillers, Barry Crockett, Brian Nation and Kevin O’Gorman. These special whiskeys were finally married together and then left to finish in a ruby port cask to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Midleton Very Rare, a milestone often associated with rubies.

In 1984, Barry Crockett set out to craft the most outstanding Irish whiskey ever made with a passion fuelled by the rich distilling history of Midleton. Blending together the finest raw ingredients, the most advanced techniques and a dedicated team of craftspeople, he unveiled the very first Midleton Very Rare release and a legacy was born. Forty years on, to mark this historic occasion, a selection of three exceptional casks from each of the Master Distillers covering the era of Midleton Very Rare were chosen to create the Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition.

Each of these ultra rare casks, individually filled by each Master in their respective eras, contained a unique blend of the finest pot still and grain distillates dating back to the early 1980s. Bringing each unique liquid together to create an extraordinary blend, O’Gorman gave the whiskey its final and defining touch by finishing the blend in a ruby port cask for nine months, resulting in an exceptionally rare nose, taste and finish. While maintaining the elegance and finesse of the quintessential Midleton Very Rare profile, with floral undertones, notes of orchard fruits and citrus and a hint of sweet vanilla, O’Gorman’s unique twist with the use of a ruby port cask adds a new layer to the signature style, with rich bursts of blackcurrant, raspberry and plum.

Crockett once likened making fine whiskey to conducting an orchestra, a symphonic masterpiece of skill and passion. This quintessential style is one that has proudly been upheld by Crockett’s successors, as O’Gorman comments, “As we celebrate four decades since the inaugural launch of Midleton Very Rare, we are excited to create yet another milestone in Midleton Distillery’s extraordinary history with the launch of Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition. This exquisite release brings influence from all three Master Distillers and not only helps us to preserve the knowledge of Midleton Distillery’s past Masters but builds on it by evolving the art of distillation and maturation with the addition of the ruby port cask. It has been a privilege to play a part in the creation of this pinnacle of Irish Whiskey and I look forward to continuing to evolve the Midleton Very Rare brand.”

Retailing at €20,000, the whiskey is presented in a bespoke crystal decanter that has been hand crafted by Waterford Crystal. Known the world over as the pinnacle of luxury crystal, the bottle was designed and created at their world-famous factory in Ireland, featuring a four-point crystal to represent the four decades of Midleton Very Rare and is a true masterpiece of craftsmanship. The bottle is then beautifully packaged in a ruby case, all encased in an FSC-certified wooden cabinet, making it the perfect piece of memorabilia.

To mark this historic event, building on the already exquisite packaging for the launch, Irish Distillers has partnered with the renowned Keanes Jewellers in Cork, to create just one special NFT bottle. Established in 1948, Keanes Jewellers has become synonymous with Cork and fine jewellers in Ireland, offering outstanding craftsmanship and the highest standards. This unique bottle features hand engraved 18-carat solid gold on both the neck and stopper and thirty-two rubies encrusted within the neck collar, making it a true collector’s item, and a unique piece of art. The 32 rubies are extremely unique in that they are identical in both quality and style. This bottle includes an official certificate of authenticity from Keanes Jewellers.

Patrick Keane, 3rd generation of the Keane family, commented: “Rubies signify a 40th anniversary and are considered the gem of passion, something that feels so apt with the passion that shines through from the Master Distillers and all those involved in the creation of Midleton Very Rare. As a business local to the distillery, we were ecstatic to be asked to collaborate with Irish Distillers and took huge care to create something worthy of the Midleton Very Rare Ruby Anniversary Edition. It has been an honour to be involved in such a momentous and historic moment for the brand.”

Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition is bottled at 53.1% ABV and will be available from 28th February in the USA, UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, Australia, Singapore, Persian Gulf, Hong Kong, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, Global Travel Retail, and Irish Distillers Brand Homes at the RRP of €20,000.

The NFT bottle, with its luxurious embellishments, will go live for auction on from 28th February at 12pm GMT with a reserve price of USD $60,000. The auction will end on 7th March at 3pm GMT. As part of the sale, a donation will be made to The Forest Genetic Resources Trust, partners of the Midleton Very Rare team at Irish Distillers. The Forest Genetic Resources Trust supports the conservation, improvement, and use of native and naturalised tree species in Irish forestry.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Opens with a rich and delightful burst of berry fruits as notes of blackcurrant, raspberry, and plum come to the fore. A delicate perfume with aromatic spices and an earthy woodland character are complemented by the additional orchard fruits and citrus peel, all the while the seasoned oak imparts sweet vanilla, cinnamon, and fragrant honeycomb. The elegance of the grain whiskey quietly emerges to reveal soft and nuanced floral undertones.

Taste: Succulent fruits at first that are initially met with pot still spices, imparting notes of freshly grated ginger and clove oil. The oak’s soft tannins, combined with a nutty character, impart notes of flaked almonds and nutmeg that are wonderfully balanced by the seasoned port cask’s contribution of ripe berry fruits, cassis, and dark chocolate.

Finish: Luxuriously long and satisfying, where the seasoned oak, fruits and spice continue to linger, eventually yielding only to time.

Interested in things like this?

To Join In with Whiskey Club, you can follow us on social media, visit our website, attend our events or subscribe to our free monthly newsletter. All newsletter subscribers will automatically be entered into our draw to win a whiskey gift or experience each month.