Inside the Old Master Distiller's Cottage at the Old Midleton Distillery.
The annual release of Midleton Very Rare is awaited by Irish whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.
The Irish whiskey that will impress your friends, even the ones who don't know Irish whiskey.
There are few jobs in the spirits business more coveted than Master Distiller at Midleton. Most notably associated with Barry Crockett--who succeeded his father Max in the position--Barry eventually passed the torch to Brian Nation, who held the title until he left for an opportunity in the U.S. in 2020. Kevin O'Gorman was then promoted to Master Distiller after having been Master of Maturation since 2007. Like his predecessors, one of Kevin's more enviable tasks is selecting the casks and blend recipe for the annual release of Midleton Very Rare.
The Master Distiller selects what he believes to be the best Midleton casks, some aged 20 years or more, and decides the composition of the blend from the many available barrels of single pot still, grain whiskey, and malted whiskey. The exact blend changes every year but there's a certain identifiable consistency to it as well. At 80 proof, this is not an ethanol-forward whiskey...we detect notes of baked apple, pumpkin spice, and toasted oak. You'll likely pick up a touch of vanilla and even a little spiced cocoa.
Retail price: About $225
Midleton Very Rare 2021: 98 POINTS
You don't need to be convinced this is a sought-after whiskey. It isn't cheap, but its price compares favorably to plenty of top-shelf scotches and bourbons. Fortunately the 2021 release is much easier to find than last year's edition, which had a more limited distribution due to the pandemic.
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