Time flies when you're having fun!! It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting myself down to enjoy a sample of the Midleton Very Rare 2014, the first to be bottled under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Brian Nation.
Fast forward to the present day and we now have Brian's third release of the iconic Midleton Very Rare.
First 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.
Since taking over the role of Master Distiller I know that Brian Nation has already overseen many other new releases, across the whole Midleton portfolio, but with the Midleton Very Rare, being so revered the world over, it will be interesting to see if he is starting to make his mark on this famous whiskey.
Onto my notes:
Nose - Upon first pour I immediately pick up some vibrant orchard fruits with fresh green apple to the fore. Once this settles down there's a gorgeous mix of pot still spices and cream. The spice is prickly with a touch of ginger and pepper. The creamy vanilla is deliciously smooth and binds the nose together. The orchard fruits become slightly more stewed and combine with the grains to give a sense of apple crumble. As it develops I now get some of the tropical notes I've noted in previous Very Rare releases with light banana / foam banana sweets. A very classic Midleton nose.
Palate - Clean and crisp with green apples continuing from the nose. Spicy pot still character also comes through and combines with the grain to play around the mouth. Cask influence adds an extra dry spice whilst enhancing the vanilla notes. Throughout the whiskey there is a underlying toffee sweetness but this is kept in check by the grain spirit which seems to be a major player in this whiskey. With time a little stewed orange comes through and the experience becomes a lot richer.
Finish - Dry, spicy and very fruity.
Overall this is another excellent addition to the Very Rare range. Thinking back to my previous experiences this 2016 release doesn't seem to have just as much citrus, as what I may have experienced before, but this seems to have been replaced with an fresh orchard element.
Whilst the sweetness is still easily found within this whiskey it feels like it has taken more of a back seat to allow the natural spirit to shine through. This is applicable for both the pot still and grain elements with both combining well to hold the whiskey together.
For me this is the quintessential Irish whiskey showcasing the perfect blend of spirits to achieve something that is much more than the sum of it's parts. I certainly get the sense that Brian Nation is making his mark on this whiskey and it's a taste journey that will develop brilliantly over the years.
Until next time,