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Midleton Very Rare Reveals Silent Distillery Chapter 5 Whiskey

The 49 Year Old is the penultimate release in the series marking the distillery's 200th anniversary in 2025.

By Alex Martin

All good things must come to an end. For Midleton Very Rare’s Silent Distillery collection, the crescendo is approaching. First launched in 2020 with the release of the 45 Year Old, the series has been bolstered once per year by an Irish whiskey slightly older than its predecessor. Next year, a 50 Year Old will mark the distillery’s 200th anniversary and complete a remarkable collection of six whiskeys with a combined value of roughly $300,000.

Before that headline act, it is the job of Chapter 5, a 49 Year Old, to warm up the crowd. It holds the title of the oldest Irish whiskey ever released, at least for now. Like its predecessors, it is very rare (just 144 bottles are available) and, at $55,000, very expensive. But for that, you get a piece of liquid gold, packaged up in a Waterford crystal decanter and a handcrafted oak burr cabinet.

The whiskey spent its entire 49 years in five American ex-bourbon barrels before master distiller Kevin O’Gorman consolidated what remained in a single cask for six months of marrying. That single cask, Cask No. 52969, carried a history of its own. Cooper Dominic Buckley repaired it in the mid-1970s and it has not leaked once in 50 years. Before it was filled with the 49 Year Old, it was inspected by Ger Buckley, Dominic’s son and master cooper at Midleton.

[See also: The Most Exclusive Scotch Whisky Experiences]

Midleton Silent distillery
The 49 Year Old becomes the oldest Irish whiskey ever released / ©Midleton Very Rare

This line of succession and inheritance runs throughout this whiskey’s journey. O’Gorman, who took up his role in 2020, inherited this whiskey from his predecessor, and him from his. Its origins go back to 1973 when Max Crockett originally distilled the liquid before handing it over to his son, the legendary Barry Crockett.

O’Gorman said: “Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter 5 embodies a captivating tale that celebrates the convergence of the finest wood, exceptional whiskey, and indomitable spirit of the master craftsmen who sit at the heart of the Old Midleton Distillery’s legacy. The result is truly remarkable, offering an exceptional liquid that exceeds expectations and promises an unforgettable experience.”

The master distiller has released an eclectic mix of whiskeys. Chapter 1 was a peated whiskey; Chapter 2 went through bourbon, sherry and port casks; and Chapter 3 was a mix of sherry and bourbon. Chapter 4 was a mix of grain and pot still whiskey. This one is far more traditional. American oak is the backbone of the industry, usually complementing the pot still distillation process to produce whiskeys bursting with tropical fruits. This is an ultra-aged version of a typical Irish malt with no other influence other than ex-bourbon and pot still.

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter 5 tasting notes

Nose: An inviting start of honey-roasted cashews mixed in with hints of earthiness. The closest thing I can pin it to is moss. Given time, and a dash of water, it evolves into something far more tropical. Eventually, you get a hit of desiccated coconut and pineapple syrup.

Palate: There is plenty of wood influence in this one, and there is an immediate spice that hits the palate. This whiskey is cask strength at 52.4% ABV and it needs a bit of water to open up. Once you get the balance right, there is a plethora of tropical and stone fruits to be enjoyed: pineapple, apricot and fresh ginger.

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Finish: The wood influence returns eventually, delivering a final burst of spice as those fruity notes fade.

Conclusions: Its predecessors have all defied their years, usually providing unusual vibrancy for such old liquid. This one, on the other hand, is for those who like that oak spice. This is an ultra-aged liquid and tastes like it. However, it’s not at all drying on the palate. The wood influences are spicy but the texture is thick and creamy. This is a delicate balance struck by O’Gorman and his team.

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter 4 is available in the US for an SRP of $55,000. For more information, visit

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