Midleton Very Rare is probably the ultimate expression of craftmanship at Midleton distillery. Created in 1984, this Irish whiskey series unites yearly compositions of some of the best casks at the distillery.
The 2020 edition is the last made by Master Distiller Brian Nation. The proportion of single pot still whiskey has been upped, as well as the number of refill casks. It is made with whiskey laid down 13 to 35 years ago in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
Midleton Very Rare 2020 (40%, OB 2020)
Nose: a lot of vanilla, of a natural kind, combined with marzipan and toffee. Also a good dose of summery fruits: juicy pears and banana, peach and tangerine peel. Hints of polished wood and light floral touches. The pot still spice is there as well, showing light nutmeg and pepper.
Mouth: oily but also a little silent, struggling to get going, but after the initial sip it becomes more decidely fruity, mostly on oranges, peaches, pineapple and lemon candy, again toning down the tropical notes a little, compared to previous years. A lot of vanilla cake and custard, with a very creamy texture. Almond paste. Moving towards citrus peels, with a little chilli and nutmeg, ending with hints of raw barley and peppery oak in the end.
Finish: medium, still creamy, now slightly more grainy, showing oak spice as it fades away.
You can really tell this Midleton Very Rare is a high quality blend, but I feel it is let down a little by the bottling strength. It suffices to look at other expressions to know what they can produce, yet it seems there are no plans to create a more powerful version in the future. Available soon for around € 180.