Tasting the unicorn of whiskeys in Ireland

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Dublin [Ireland], Feb 23 (ANI): Hidden for more than four decades in the dark cellars of Ireland’s Old Midleton Distillery, many barrels of finely aged trial whiskey have now been brought to the fore to be relished by liquor connoisseurs all around the world.

After 150 years in the whiskey business, The Old Middleton Distillery went defunct in 1975, and with it disappeared casks over casks of innovative brews, that were till recently kept concealed from the outside world.

According to CNN Travel, whiskey enthusiasts from all around congregated at London’s Old Sessions House for the launch event of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection, the oldest ever whiskey collection coming out of Ireland.

A 45-year-old peated single malt is the very first offering from the series, which was created by master distiller Max Crockett back in 1974.

With just 48 bottles in existence, this unicorn among whiskeys will be priced at an exorbitant 40,000 dollars apiece.

“This is a true unicorn whiskey. It was part of a series of innovation trials, never to be released or repeated,” told the head distiller from Irish Distillers, Brian Nation, to CNN Travel.

The Middleton Very Rare collection is being produced by Irish Distillers.

The liquor has gradually reduced by 87 percent in volume after 45 years of brewing, which makes this rarity even more valuable.

CNN Travel went on to taste the whiskey as it was served on the table in its full glory in 25-milliliter glasses that were lit up from below.

Explaining its unique aroma, Nation said that “there’s a lovely earthy note of freshly cut peat and I think of leather”.

“And that’s given a twist by some citrus notes, particularly by what I would describe as grapefruit. The contribution of the sherry wine-seasoned cask is giving you some hints of ripe honeydew melon, but particularly red berries as well,” he told further.

Tasting fine whiskey is no easy task and requires a certain amount of finesse.

The flavors are enveloped in several layers and gradually reveal themselves in ripples that spread out after the first sip.

The Middleton Very Rare which has an alcohol concentration of 51.2 percent, was first tasted neat to get a hang of its true strength.

Nation described it as “instantly rich. The initial peppery spices slowly begin to soften as the contribution of the malted barley comes to the fore.”

“We’re getting lovely sweetness from what I would describe as licorice, barley sugar and even some hints of honey. But that sweetness is given a little edge by a touch of sherbert. All of this is happening on a stern foundation of toasted oak,” he added.

The aftertaste fades away slowly, leaving behind hints of spices and malted barley.

To understand the other facets of the preparation, it was then diluted with a drop of water.

Elaborating about the importance of dilution, Nation said that it “mutes the alcohol a bit and allows the other flavors to come more to the fore. It’s always interesting to see how the whiskey evolves.”

In a complex yet balanced whiskey such as this, each successive sip unravels new flavor and taste profiles.

“It’s bringing you on a journey all through the process,” Nation said.

The archivist at Irish Distillers, Carol Quinn told CNN Travel that “a lot of people use the phrase ‘liquid history,’ but I think for myself, this is the first time that I’ve genuinely tasted liquid history. To see something that’s been silenced for so long is extraordinary.”

Quin pointed out that the first release is made completely out of malted barley and on top of that “it’s peated, which is extremely unusual.”

This first release will be followed by five more, brought out one at a time each consecutive year till 2025, which also happens to be Old Midleton Distillery’s 200th year since its establishment.

All the subsequent releases will be aged between 45 to 50 years, exclusively sourced from Old Middleton Distillery. (ANI)



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