Whiskey When I’m Gone: The Last Drop of Irish Tradition
The History of Irish Whiskey
Irish whiskey has a rich and colorful history, dating back to the 12th century, when Irish monks first distilled a beverage they called uisce beatha, or “water of life.” The art of distillation quickly spread throughout Ireland, and by the 18th century, Irish whiskey was the most popular spirit in the world.
However, the industry suffered a series of setbacks in the early 20th century, including Prohibition and the Irish War of Independence. By the 1960s, there were only two distilleries left in Ireland, and it seemed as though the tradition of Irish whiskey was on its last legs.
The Rise and Fall of Old Midleton Distillery
One of those two distilleries was Old Midleton, located in County Cork, which had been producing whiskey since 1825. By the 1970s, it was the largest distillery in the world, producing over 30 million liters of whiskey annually.
But success was short-lived. The oil crisis of the 1970s made transportation costs skyrocket, and the Irish government, which owned the distillery, was forced to merge it with another distillery in 1975.
The merged entity, Irish Distillers, made the unfortunate decision to stop producing the beloved Old Midleton whiskey in favor of a new blended whiskey called Jameson. The last drop of Old Midleton was distilled in 1975, and the distillery was closed down soon after.
The Revival of Old Midleton Whiskey
Fast forward to 2017, and a small team of whiskey experts made a remarkable discovery. In the back of a rickety shed on the Old Midleton property, they found a single, unopened cask of Old Midleton whiskey that had been distilled in 1975.
After tasting the whiskey and confirming its authenticity, the team decided to bottle and sell it under the name “The Last Drop of Irish Tradition.” The 44-year-old whiskey is now one of the rarest and most sought-after whiskeys in the world, with each bottle selling for over $6,000.
What Makes Old Midleton Whiskey So Special?
Old Midleton whiskey is a single pot still whiskey, which means it is made using a combination of malted and unmalted barley, as well as other grains. The distillery used a unique combination of 23 different stills to create a flavor profile that is both complex and smooth.
But what really sets Old Midleton apart is its age. The whiskey has been aging in that single cask for over 44 years, which has given it a depth and complexity that cannot be replicated.
What is the difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch whiskey?
Irish whiskey is made using a combination of malted and unmalted barley, while Scotch whiskey is made using only malted barley. Irish whiskey is also typically triple-distilled, while Scotch whiskey is only double-distilled.
What is the best way to drink Old Midleton whiskey?
Old Midleton whiskey is best enjoyed neat or with just a few drops of water. The whiskey is so old and well-aged that it does not need any additional flavors or mixers to enhance its taste.
Why is Old Midleton whiskey so expensive?
Old Midleton whiskey is one of the rarest and most sought-after whiskeys in the world because there are only a limited number of bottles available. Additionally, the whiskey is over 44 years old and has been aging in a single cask, which has given it a depth and complexity that cannot be replicated.