Most blended Irish whiskeys are affordable bottles with familiar names like Tullamore DEW, Powers, or Jameson. But there are some ultra-luxury whiskeys in this category as well, such as the new Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter Four, which comes out this month.
Midleton is the distillery run by Irish Distillers that is behind the most popular Irish whiskey in the world, the aforementioned Jameson, as well as other well-known brands like Redbreast, Powers, and Green Spot. The Midleton Very Rare series is also produced there, a blend of grain and pot still Irish whiskey that is released as an annual vintage, along with some special limited-edition bottles. A few months ago, the 2023 MVR came out along with The Pinnacle Vintage, a single bottle priced at US$130,000 that proved to be the fastest-ever sale via BlockBar (it was reserved just two seconds after listing, to be exact).
The Silent Distillery collection consists of whiskey distilled at the Old Midleton Distillery, which was replaced in 1975 by the facility that is currently operating. Most of the whiskey produced at the old distillery is long gone, but there are still some casks left that go into this high-end series. This is the fourth release out of a planned six, the last of which will come out in 2025 at 50 years old to mark the 200th anniversary of Old Midleton. Chapter One was a 45-year-old peated single malt (relatively unusual for Irish whiskey), Chapter Two was a 46-year-old single pot still whiskey, and Chapter Three was a 47-year-old single pot still.
The new Chapter Four is a 48-year-old blend of grain and pot still whiskey that was aged in an ex-bourbon barrel. The whiskeys were distilled and put into separate casks in 1973 under the direction of then-master distiller Max Crockett, and nearly a century later the pot still whiskey was added to the grain whiskey cask to marry together for 48 days. This yielded just 119 bottles at a cask strength of 53.9 per cent ABV.
“The marrying process for Chapter Four is a true testament to the science and art of whiskey making,” said master distiller Kevin O’Gorman in a statement. “It’s a sensitive process of allowing the different elements to merge and mingle over time, resulting in a truly exceptional and complex whiskey. This limited-edition whiskey showcases both the excellence of Midleton Very Rare and the history and legacy of the silent distillery. Crafting the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Four was like preserving a piece of history in a bottle.”
As one would expect from a whiskey priced at €50,000, the bottle comes enclosed in a specially designed cabinet created by Irish craftsman John Galvin. Each is adorned with shagreen leather, sterling silver, and oak reclaimed from old Irish whiskey barrels. The bottle itself is a crystal decanter from House of Waterford. Chapter Four will be available in the USA and other countries later this month at Harrods and other retailers. You can also still find expressions like Chapter Three at websites like The Whisky Exchange, but these bottles contain the literal last drops of this whiskey so they likely won’t be available for long.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA