Rarely has a whiskey existed with weight of three master disillers behind it – birthing, bonding and building it over time. This masterful trilogy of Barry Crockett, Brian Nation and most recently Kevin O’Gorman, has ensured a consistency and level of quality across the Midleton Very Rare vintages that is quite simply unsurpassed.
Discover the subtle nuances that each of these men has brought to the Midleton range since its beginning in 1984.
Barry Crockett Master Distiller Emeritus likens making fine whiskey to conducting an orchestra. It is a symphonic masterpiece of light and shade, skill and passion. A passion born from the rich distilling history of Midleton, dating back to the 19th century.
Under the watchful eye of his father, Max Crockett, himself a master distiller, Barry became captivated by the atmosphere of the distillery, the noise, the smells and the excitement. The more he learned, the more his exceptional nose and palate guided the distillery on its journey to creating the finest whiskey in the world. In 1981 Barry became Master Distiller of the Midleton Distillery and three years later he created Midleton Very Rare.
For Barry, the title of Master Distiller has always been a matter of constant work, careful selection, adherence to quality and using the very best raw materials available. His first memory of working in the distillery was in August 1965, and indeed his very first job was to check the samples of grain and barley provided by the local farmers. Testing the moisture level and what was then known as the bushel weight, and then on the basis of that, one assessed whether or not the grain was suitable.
A stickler for the best from day one, rising in the ranks of Midleton Distillery didn’t take long for this man of vision and great spirit. His legacy lives on in the work done by each and every member of the team on a daily basis.
Barry Crockett is Midleton Very Rare distilled. He is its spirit. Reserved yet generous, precise but big hearted, he weighs up each word carefully just as you weigh the whiskey on your tongue and when he speaks, measured, slow, accurate, you listen.
There is nothing quite so still as the artful watch of the Master Distiller. It is a patience earned by few. A perfect solitary built on legacy. A legacy passed from one Master Distiller to the next, born of the whiskey they watch over.
Some may say Kevin O’Gorman has always been poised to take on one of the most coveted positions in world whiskey. He is a master craftsman in every sense of the term, having started his career in Midleton in 1998, working as a distiller under the tutelage of Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett. He then heeded the call of the magic of maturation where he honed his skills under then Master of Maturation Brendan Monks before assuming the role of Master of Maturation on Brendan’s retirement in 2007.
Kevin spearheaded the continuous innovation in maturation that has made Midleton famous, dedicating much of his time travelling the globe to source only the highest quality casks from world renowned cooperages. He truly understands every intricacy of the whiskey production process, from grain to glass.
As part of his role as Master Distiller, he will be responsible for protecting the rich heritage of the world’s most famous Irish whiskeys, ensuring the quality of all new pot and grain distillates produced at Midleton while driving future innovation.
Under his leadership, we enter a compelling new phase in the history of Midleton Very Rare.
Brian Nation captained the team at Midleton Distillery from 2013 to 2020, guiding its course with patience and pride. He talks fondly about the legacy of the distillery and of course the legacy of his predecessor, Barry Crockett, the two worked side by side together for 10 years.
Driven very much by his own vision of the future, Brian always acknowledged the inspiration he drew from the past. It was this mixture of forward thinking and traditional craft that helped the award-winning Master Distiller to fulfil his dream of creating special and unique whiskey across the Midleton Very Rare portfolio for seven successful years.