Midleton Very Rare Irish Whisky 2022 Review

Created in 1984 and released annually since then, Midleton Very Rare is a super exclusive and sought-after, blended Irish whiskey. It’s 39th exciting instalment has just been released.

Somewhat of a collector’s piece, this is a blend of pot still and grain whiskey’s aged between 12 and 33 years, which have been matured in a combination lightly charred first fill and refill ex-bourbon American oak barrels. Due to the different blends, no two instalments are the same, which only adds to the collectable value. For this release, the distiller, Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman and his team have created something truly special.

“Drawing predominantly from our historic A2 warehouse, we have selected a blend of whiskeys that work together beautifully – from superb grain whiskeys dating back to 1989 with beautiful floral and rosewater notes, to some truly wonderful pot still whiskeys from 2009 that offer a delightful fruit element with citrus.”

Beginning the search for the perfect blend from Midleton’s inventory in summer 2021, O’Gorman sampled whiskeys from hundreds of casks that have been set aside over many years for potential inclusion in a prestigious Midleton Very Rare annual vintage.

Focusing on a small collection of casks considered to be at their optimal moment for selection, O’Gorman then worked with three prototypes that all offered an experience worthy of the pinnacle of Irish whiskey, only settling on his ultimate selection after taking all three home for a weekend of final tasting and consideration.

Honestly, this is really very good, and it’s only a pleasure to share my views below:

On the nose: There’s a lot of good stuff going on here; fresh mandarin citrus and candied apple meets grated nutmeg, which gives subtle spice over soft toffee tones. Charred oak from the barrels combined with the grain character is also in abundance, which then lead eloquently into fresh floral tones, vanilla and toasted wood.

On the palate: Toffee apples meets rich orange, with a nod to its ex-bourbon oak qualities. There’s some burnt sugar here, which provides waves of sweetness, which ends in a floral crescendo that will keep you coming back from more.

To finish: Long lasting rich spice that fades into balanced fruitiness.

This really is a treat, and along with its beautiful wooden box and £200 price tag, your biggest dilemma is going to be whether you add it to your prized collection or drink it. But if you debate this too long you’ll likely miss out on what has to be one of the finest Irish whiskeys I’ve tasted to date, as they are very limited and mostly sold out already.

If you are a collector, it’s worth considering that when Midleton Very Rare 1984 was launched in November 1985, it cost IR£40 a bottle – considered by some at the time as excessive. Today, that first vintage sells for about £2,500. That’s not a bad return!

Midleton £200

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