Launched in 1984 the Midleton Very Rare is a yearly release of 50 exceptional casks that have been handpicked by the master distiller and blended together to showcase all that the distillery has to offer. This exclusivity and personal touch ensured that, from the first release, the Midleton Very Rare was to be revered and cherished. An iconic status soon followed and now these bottles are sought out all over the world to be placed as a star asset in many a whiskey drinker's collection.
All vintages are still available out there but be ready to pay a hefty price for the early releases with the Celtic Whiskey Shop, in Dublin City, offering the first release for a wallet beating €899.99. Incidentally the very same shop can offer all of the 30 releases that have ever been released....up to this date.
And it is with this statement that I shall move onto the, soon to be released, 31st vintage - Midleton Very Rare 2014.
A good few weeks ago I arrived home to find yet another Dublin post stamped parcel lying in my hallway and upon seeing this amongst the other nonsense, that had been posted that day, I instantly became utterly excited as I knew that this little package of joy contained yet another sample from "The Celtic Whiskey Club". Needless to say I was over the moon when I opened it to find a sample of the latest Midleton Very Rare neatly hiding within.
For a little more insight into the whiskey itself it's worth pointing out that all Midleton Very Rare releases are a blend of the many styles of pot still whiskey made at Midleton Distillery along with some older grain whiskey. The whiskey is matured in 1st fill bourbon casks which allows this to be regarded as one of the smoothest Irish whiskeys available. With regards to age many age ranges are used, starting from around 12 years old all the way up to just under 30 years old.
This particular bottling is bottled at 40% ABV.
As with all "Celtic Whiskey Club" samples a date and time is set aside for all lucky members to come together, via Twitter, for a "tweet tasting" and this particular tasting took place on Wednesday 25th June. If you're quick you can still check out the tweets from the night via the hashtag #midleton14.
Here's my tasting notes:
Nose - Tropical with banana, mild orange and a nice underlying sweetness. Unmistakably Irish and unmistakable pot still notes. Initially the wood is understated but towards the end a distinct wood sap note appears which also gives a slight green / herbal feel to the whiskey. Toffee and creme brûlée come through with the sweetness yet at the same time a lovely peppery spice sits in the background. There's a great balance here between fruit, spice and sweetness.
Palate - Sweet, brown sugar, arrival. Very, very smooth. Pepper and ginger take over then give way to a green herbal note which feels more vegetal. The fruit then starts to show with more banana, orange and now lemon juice. Then after a few tastes the vegetal note turns back to the distinct wood sap that was found on the nose. Very nice indeed.
Finish - Decent length with more fresh fruit and a tingling of ginger and clove all over the mouth.
Overall this is an impressive dram and an excellent start to the Brian Nation era of Midleton Very Rare. The whiskey is balanced perfectly and the casks used have been particularly excellent with clearly a fair amount of life in them to deliver a wood sap note I've only ever experienced before in virgin oak matured whiskey.
Long may his reign continue.
Thanks, once again, to the Celtic Whiskey Club and the Celtic Whiskey Shop for sourcing such a wonderful sample to enjoy. I for one shall be renewing my membership when the time comes.
As always you can find some relevant links below.
Until next time,
Celtic Whiskey Shop - http://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com
Celtic Whiskey Club - https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/Celtic_Whiskey_Club-objectid-1061-recordid-20-z-all.htm
Celtic Whiskey Club - Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/CelticWhiskeyClub
Celtic Whiskey Club - Twitter Page - https://twitter.com/CelticWhiskeyCl