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Belfast pub owner Willie Jack snaps up £29k bottle of whiskey


Willie Jack

Willie Jack

45-year-old Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One

45-year-old Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One

Willie Jack

One of the most expensive bottles of Irish whiskey ever produced is coming to Belfast.

The €35,000 (£29,000) Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter One was released last week, with buyers snapping up the mere 48 bottles instantly.

One of the lucky new owners is Willie Jack, owner of the famous Duke of York and Harp Bar in the city's Cathedral Quarter.

"I have whiskeys on display which are marked 'Never for sale', but this will be a case of 'Don't even ask'," he told Sunday Life.

"We are not speculators trying to rip people off, we just want to show everyone the great Irish whiskey tradition."

The bottles are the first in a series of six annual releases in the run up to the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Midleton Distillery in 1825.

The peated single malt with a strength of 51.2% was produced in 1974 in the Old Midleton Distillery before it closed its doors in 1975 after 150 years of continuous production.

According to Midleton owners, Irish Distillers, it was "part of a series of innovative trials never to be released or repeated".

It was the brainchild of then master distiller Max Crockett and is "one of the world's rarest whiskeys by its very nature". Barry Crockett, son of Max and his successor as master distiller, said of it: "It is the ultimate heirloom and memento of the dedication to precise malt preparation, brewing and distillation skills of generations of distillers at Midleton."


Willie is just one of two people in Northern Ireland to get his hands on a bottle with the identity of the other not yet known.

The release was only offered for sale in the UK, Ireland, France and the US with two also available in a private online auction.

"We are hoping to open a museum of Belfast to show the great whiskey tradition of Ireland but it will be on display behind bullet-proof glass," he said.

"This is for people who love whiskey but I don't want to put an artificial price on it, it's not about money."

The Duke of York has long been known for its huge range of Irish whiskeys, including many other rare Midletons.

Mr Jack also has a whiskey shop nearby, The Friend At Hand, which offers over 600 different types of Irish whiskey for sale.

But the Chapter One is on another level, coming in a handblown and etched Waterford crystal decanter, encased in boxes made with wood up to 200 years old from reclaimed whiskey vats.

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Belfast Telegraph