Words: Shamim de Brún
In a plot twist that’s sending ripples through the whiskey universe, Midleton Distillery is bidding farewell to their OG master blender, Billy Leighton. Exiting the scene after a legacy-making stint, Leighton is passing the torch to none other than Dave McCabe.
Billy Leighton’s saga reads like a whiskey-soaked odyssey, starting as a bean counter at Bushmills before ditching spreadsheets for barrels and landing the coveted gig of Master Blender at Midleton back in 2004. His fingerprints are all over the award-winning elixirs that Midleton has been churning out, making him a legend among liquid gold enthusiasts.
Dave McCabe, a seasoned pro in the art of distillation and spirits, is crashing the party. Forget everything you thought you knew about Midleton’s flavour game – McCabe is here to flip the script.
Master Blender isn’t just a fancy title; it’s a role that involves alchemy-level skills. Leighton wasn’t just mixing aged liquids; he was the gatekeeper of Midleton’s flavour DNA, ensuring each drop had that unmistakable Midleton magic. McCabe is inheriting not just a job but a legacy, and we’re all on the edge of our barstools waiting to see what he’ll conjure up.
This changing of this guard isn’t a solo act. Midleton is home to seven iconic brands – Jameson, Redbreast, Powers, Midleton Very Rare, The Spot Whiskeys, Method and Madness and Knappogue Castle. This move is part of a larger shake-up of their stewardship at Midleton, with Kevin O’Gorman recently anointed as the Master Distiller. Two big shots leaving, two new sheriffs in town – it’s like the whiskey version of the passing the torch.
Most distilleries don’t play musical chairs with their master blenders. The gig requires an almost psychic connection to the distillery’s soul and a Ph.D. in the science of ageing spirits. But Midleton is saying, “Out with the old, in with the new,” without missing a beat.
As McCabe steps into the spotlight, we’re bracing ourselves for a whiskey revolution. Midleton’s about to get a dose of McCabe’s mojo, and we’re here for it. Buckle up, whiskey rebels, this round is on Dave McCabe.
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