The latest Rolls Royce of an Irish whiskey to arrive at Portadown’s iconic McConville Bar in Mandeville Street won’t be for sale! At £500 a measure, few customers have pockets quite so deep.
For this is a rare masterpiece– Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition – from Jameson’s Distillery in County Cork. Only 117 bottles were created (four came to Northern Ireland) and McConville’s paid a cool £6,000 for their precious bottle. Within a fortnight, the investment had shot up to around £10,000, but the McConville bottle isn’t being sold on. “Never will be,” said proprietor Andy Robinson.
“It’s locked up in a safe elsewhere,” said expert whisk(e)y collector and connoisseur Andy, “and there it stays. McConville’s celebrate our 150th anniversary later this year, and in that century and a half, I doubt if we’ve acquired quite so precious a whiskey.”
It’s a 30th anniversary elixir, a ‘marriage’ of two masterpieces created by the company’s master distillers, Barry Crockett from the past – he made a special come-back for the special edition - and his aficionado protégé Brian Nation.
The firm enthuses, “Barry and Brian personally selected a 1984 Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and a 1981 grain whiskey respectively to blend into a whiskey of exceptional quality. As is tradition, both whiskeys have been matured in American oak barrels, which after 30 years have imparted luscious vanilla and delicate honey flavours.”
Of the original 117 bottles, three were opened for tasting by selected experts, and the discerning drinkers and whiskey enthusiasts cherished every drop.
The bottles are beautifully presented in County Wexford solid oak cases, with the bottles themselves crafted in crystal.
“As far as I’m concerned the bottle will never be opened,” said Andy. “In car parlance, I feel like the proud owner of a vintage Rolls Royce. I raise my glass to the creators but I’ll use another distillation to prepare that particular toast. This really is the peak of whiskeys. The Everest…”