Irish Distillers has unveiled the eagerly awaited Midleton Very Rare 2020, a unique parting gift from former Master Distiller Brian Nation!
In his final days as Master Distiller, Brian continued the long-standing tradition of hand-selecting whiskeys reserved for this coveted annual expression from Midleton Distillery’s exceptional inventory for the last time.
The result heralds the 37th edition in the world-renowned range.
Chosen from the most outstanding quality single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys laid down over the past four decades in Midleton, Co Cork, Midleton Very Rare 2020 showcases an expression of whiskeys aged from 13 to 35 years in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
This year, Brian Nation selected a higher pot still inclusion when compared to previous vintages, while also increasing the use of refill barrels amongst his choice of casks. The result is a luxurious and balanced whiskey with rich pot still notes and elegant grain distillates that take centre stage thanks to the inclusion of refill casks – a fitting legacy from one of Irish whiskey’s great Master Distillers.
As a colleague and friend to Brian for many years, I could not be prouder to present his final Midleton Very Rare vintage and his legacy as Irish Distillers’ Master Distiller, to consumers across the globe.
Selected each year with passion and precision, this expression offers an initial burst of tangy fruity sweetness on the palate, with pot still spices building over time to add a mild prickle of chili oil.
Indeed, Brian’s love of a single pot still is reflected in this exceptional whiskey, while preserving the balance and beauty for which Midleton Very Rare is renowned.
– Kevin O’Gorman: Master Distiller at Irish Distillers
In a break from tradition and in response to consumer demand for the annual vintage to be made available earlier in the year in question, newly appointed Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman will reveal Midleton Very Rare 2021 in spring next year, honouring a rare changing of the guard at the iconic Midleton Distillery.
Only the third Master Distiller to influence one of the world’s most sought-after whiskey collections, the unveiling of Midleton Very Rare 2021 will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the world of Irish whiskey.
Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2020 is available online and in Ireland now, and will hit shelves in the UK, USA, Global Travel Retail, Australia, Germany and Canada in the coming months at the RRP of €180.
I was lucky enough to be invited to an online sampling of this years Midleton Very Rare. Many thanks to midletonveryrare.com (Instagram: @midletonveryrare) for the invite – the beautiful sample and glass set & the chance to try such an amazing dram!
So, what did I think? Here are my tasting notes …
Tasting Notes – Midleton Very Rare 2020 (40%)
For those who are curious, keeping the brand at 40% ABV (rather than have cask-strength versions) is designed to keep the balance of the whiskey just right and to maintain consistency over the yearly releases.
Colour: Golden sherry!
Nose: Gorgeous orange, tangerine and honeyed, vanilla toffee – delightful! There’s orchard fruits – mainly apples and heavy shades of dusky rooms, furniture polish and plasticine – love it!
Palate: Similar to the nose with increased lemon and orange citrus. The vanilla caramel combines well with delicate tropical fruit.
Finish: Incredibly smooth finish with a soft, spicy pepper.
Overall: This dram is like nostalgia in a glass – I’m getting very wistful!
Too be honest, it’s TOO drinkable, so restraint is required, unless you want to gaze upon an empty bottle in double-quick time!
I also Love the bespoke glasses which are very swish! They’ll be going on my display shelf for sure!
About Midleton Very Rare
Midleton Very Rare is the ultimate expression of craftsmanship from Irish Distillers’ Midleton Distillery. Released once a year, Irish Distillers’ Master Distiller hand-selects the finest and rarest whiskeys from the inventory of Midleton Distillery before blending them to create a true whiskey masterpiece, often referred to as the ‘pinnacle of Irish whiskey’.
Created in 1984 by Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett, to date only two Master Distillers, Barry Crocket and Brian Nation, have had the privilege of preserving its legacy.
Midleton is also available to buy from these Merchants:-