Just a couple of months have passed since the launch of Midleton Very Rare 2020 and here we have Midleton Very Rare 2021 already. Apparently they’re launching this earlier in the year now, a new strategy to reach more people who want to celebrate a special occasion with a bottle that says 2021. They’ll release part of the outturn now and the rest in autumn, but it’s all the same batch.
Midleton Very Rare 2021 is the 38th edition of this premium Irish blended whiskey, composed of some of the best casks at Midleton distillery. This is the first edition created by Kevin O’Gorman as Master Distiller. It contains pot still whiskey as well as grain whiskey aged 15 to 36 years in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
Midleton Very Rare 2021 (40%, OB 2021)
Nose: initially it seems there are more tropical fruits than last year. Bananas, kiwi and juicy nectarines, nicely mixed with marzipan, toffee and creamy coconut sweetness from the grain element. Some floral oak shavings and a hint of wood polish. Light nutmeg but overall the pot still spice is quite subdued. Really nice.
Mouth: slightly less creamy than I’d expected, quickly overtaken by the wave of pot still spice and the grainy profile that comes rolling in. Almonds, peaches, citrus. Mid-palate the raw barley, peppery oak, clove and nutmeg take over. Quite floral, even slightly fragrant, with an ethereal edge. Still this feels a little light and toned down, lacking a bit of fruitiness and body in the middle.
Finish: a little short, with some creamy coconut struggling to stand up against the grainy notes and spice.
As always Midleton Very Rare 2021 is an approachable quality blend, but as Kevin mentioned the percentage of grain whiskey has been increased, compared to the last two or three years. I think it’s clearly noticeable on the palate and I personally prefer the more pot still / fruit-forward compositions. Also it would definitely benefit from a slightly higher strength. Available soon for around € 180, first in Ireland, later in the UK, USA, Canada and several European countries.