As a writer on liquid things, I have had the privilege of trying many expensive wines and spirits. But only on a very few occasions have I tasted something that sells for €45,000 a bottle.
The whiskey in question is definitely a collector’s item; Chapter Three of the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection. “It started life in 1973 as two barrels of freshly distilled whiskey,” Kevin O’Gorman, a Midleton master distiller, tells me. “A refill of bourbon and a cask of sherry. Then we put the two together, which gave us a total of 97 bottles.” The bottle is produced by Waterford Crystal and comes in an individually numbered burd elm cabinet designed by craftsman John Galvin. The name Silent Distillery means that it comes from a distillery that is no longer in use, in this case Old Midleton Distillery, and thus a unique expression of times gone by.
There will be six Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery chapters in total, with the final release coinciding with the 200th anniversary in 2025 of the old Midleton Distillery which operated from 1825 to 1975. I suspect there are investors lining up to own a complete collection.
Silent Distillery Chapter Three will be available to purchase via ticket at the Midleton Very Rare 1825 room (see midletonveryrare.com), which is activated on May 3 and closes on May 10. It will also be available at Brown Thomas in Dublin and at selected specialist stores around the world. Adare Manor, which hosted the launch, intends to hold an event on November 29, where drops will be offered to guests. Email email@example.com for more details.
So what does a €45,000 bottle of whiskey taste like? Very nice as it turns out. I had a minute taste; it’s powerful (bottled at 55 percent abv barrel strength) and rich in complex dark fruit, tobacco, leather, subtle spices and roasted hazelnuts. The auction lasted minutes. Unfortunately I was not given a bottle to take home with me.