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Midleton very rare celebrates 40th anniversary in ruby

Midleton Very Rare Celebrates 40th Anniversary With $21,000 ‘Ruby Edition’

On the proverbial pyramid of Irish whiskey, Midleton Very Rare sits at the tippy top. Annual limited batch releases remain the distillery’s signature calling card and it’s put them in a class of their own for multiple decades and counting.

To celebrate 40 years of craftsmanship and success, they released Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition in late February 2024. The ultra-premium whiskey represents a marriage in more ways than one in that it blends various distillates but also represents the work of three unique Master Distillers. Happy anniversary indeed!

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The story of Ruby Edition begins in 1984 with Master Distiller Barry Crockett, who combined the finest ingredients with the highest tier of craftsmanship to create the distillery’s first Very Rare expression. Over the years that followed, Crockett and his successors (Brian Nation and Kevin O’Gorman) would uphold what is now considered one of the most iconic legacies in the history of modern whiskey. For their latest limited edition release, Midleton selected three of their best casks—each one filled by a different Master Distiller—and blended the results to perfection.

Except the distillery wasn’t quite done. After blending their most exceptional single-pot still and single-grain Irish whiskeys, Midleton finished the spirit in a ruby pork cask for nine extra months to give it even further character and complexity. What’s more, the ruby gemstone is often used to celebrate historic milestones. Hence we get a supremely limited whiskey firing on flavour cylinders and symbolic ones too, with an age range spanning 40 long years. Is it just us or are you craving a dram or two right about now?

Midleton very rare 40th ruby edition
Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition | Image: Supplied

Bottled at 53.1% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition injects the distillery’s signature flavour profile of orchard fruit, citrus, sweet vanilla, and floral undertones with juicy layers of dark fruit (courtesy of the ruby port cask maturation). The liquid rides in on rich velvety waves and offers similar smoothness at the finish, despite its long age and relatively high ABV.

Full tasting notes for Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition:

  • 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, is complemented by orchard fruits and citrus peel, 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: At first succulent fruits are 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 which are wonderfully balanced by the seasoned port cask’s contribution of ripe berry fruits, cassis, and dark chocolate.
  • Finish: Luxuriously long and satisfying. The seasoned oak, fruits and spice continue to linger, eventually yielding only to time.

Current Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman—who oversaw the ruby port cask finishing—commented, “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.”

Midleton very rare 40th anniversary ruby edition
Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition | Image: Supplied

A special whiskey deserves a special presentation and so Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition comes in a handcrafted crystal decanter. Displayed within an FSC-certified wooden cabinet, the decanter features a four-point crystal to symbolise Midleton’s four decades of craftsmanship and innovation. The label also teamed up with Keanes Jewellers for a one-of-a-kind NFT bottle with 18-carat solid gold engravings and 32 rubies, amongst other details. It hit the auction block in late February and a portion of the proceeds went to The Forest Genetic Resources Trust.

Midleton Very Rare 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition is now available in select global markets for the price of a new sedan ($27,558 AUD), but hey, you only live once.

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