When Barry Crockett launched the first release of Midleton Very Rare in 1984, the international market for Irish whiskey was markedly smaller than it is today. But Crockett had instituted a policy of laying down 100 casks of top-quality stock every year for future use in Midleton Very Rare as it found its place in the hearts of Irish whiskey lovers. That decision bears fruit to this day, as the current Midleton team assesses hundreds of American oak bourbon casks of single pot still and grain whiskeys across many years of production in pursuit of the finest stock.
Brian Nation’s appointment in 2013 followed Crockett’s retirement, and as the new master distiller began to select the barrels for his first Midleton Very Rare, the Irish whiskey industry was on the cusp of a decade of exceptional growth. During Nation’s tenure, the popularity of Midleton Very Rare reached new heights, with the packaging benefiting from an upgrade in 2017. In parallel, the auction market for collectible Irish whiskeys was also gathering momentum, with substantial sums changing hands for the hardest-to-find back vintages: A record hammer price of $36,386 was set in March 2021 at Irish Whiskey Auctions for a single bottle of Midleton Very Rare 1988.
While new distilleries are now flourishing across the island supported by a burgeoning number of Irish whiskeys to choose from, Midleton Very Rare has endured, thanks to its prestige and an unwavering reputation for quality, paving the way for further luxury Irish whiskeys.