Midleton Very Rare (2018)

"A very elegant Irish blend that shows the labor of Midleton's past, albeit slightly expensive"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Today we will have the 35th bottling of the yearly released Very Rare selection from Midleton since Barry Crocket started the series in 1984. This years release contains specially selected malt and grain whiskies by current master distiller Brian Nation. These are matured between 12 and 28 years in lightly-charred American oak barrels that formerly contained bourbon. What I have read is that each year is the master distiller tries to bring a slightly different aspect of the casks to the front. This also means that one year can be much more to one liking than another. Since 2017 the new design lifted the appearance from old-school to new age.  Even though I find this design really fancy. Typically less than 2,500 bottles are released, so it is prone to be snatched by “collectors”.

Nose

Maybe a tiny bit shy at first. Very fruity, but different from most of the modern ultra-fruity Irish with more depth and a less in-your-face mentality. Also there are few spices. I find some dried apple, fudge, biscuits, a hint of pineapple, dried mango and peanuts. It develops very nicely with more vanilla, custard, cake, a little bit more spices like ginger, cardamon and cinnamon. I also find a hint of cut grass. Really lovely.

Taste

Smooth with lots of fudge, caramel, a little bit of apple, grape skins, golden raisins. It is all very light and extremely well balanced. A hint of lemon juice, old leather, old wood, vanilla, and apple cake. The fruitiness becomes more apparent after some time in the glass with smooth peach sauce, raspberry liquor and strawberry sauce. Oranges in the aftertaste with sweet ginger, curry spices, pineapple, a whoosh of Ikea wood, maybe also some cherry wood, and again fresh cut grass.

Overall

Good solid Irish whisky, which does not at all resemble any blend I have had. Not that I expected that. However, I am not sure if it completely full fills the expectations that I have had based on the reviews and the substantial amount of coins that you have to put on the table to acquire this elegant bottle. I did enjoy it very much though. A case of balancing arguments.

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.32 (25 votes)
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
55%
Sweet <-> Spicy
55%
  • Fudge
  • Dried apple
  • Oranges
Nose 88%
Taste 87.5%
Balance 89%
Depth 87%
Finish 88%
Score