Whisky Focus - Midleton Very Rare 2018 Review

Midleton Very Rare 2019

4th October 2019
Midleton Very Rare 2019, the 36th edition of this pot still rich Irish blended whiskey.

Midleton Very Rare 2019 is believe it or not the 36th edition in this renowned series of mature pot still rich Irish blended whiskey's that was first launched back in 1984.

The very nature of this annual vintage release means that no two releases are identical which really is part of the pleasure of each new release, it has varied in quality over the years, varying from let me say being a little disappointing due to my expectations of this whiskey to absolutely outstanding, for example in the past 10 years Vintage 2009 was absolutely outstanding, 2014 was disappointing and 2016 was good.

This latest release in the series, the Midleton Very Rare 2019 has been has been crafted by Midleton Master Distiller Brian Nation, each of the single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys that has gone into the 2019 Vintage has been hand-selected by Brain with each whiskey having been matured exclusively in lightly-charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels for between 13 and 34 years, which Midleton tells me is the oldest collection of casks used to create a Midleton Very Rare and having now tasted it I wouldn't argue with that fact.

Commenting on the Midleton Very Rare 2019 Brain Nation said: "Each year, for over forty years, we have been setting aside very small amounts of the finest single pot still and single grain distillates so that the Midleton Very Rare legacy can continue. I am delighted that our 2019 vintage is once again a whiskey of exceptional quality that fits beautifully into the family. This vintage features an extraordinary blend of whiskeys from the rarest casks in our collection, with the youngest whiskey in our 2019 vintage having been aged for 13 years, and the oldest dating back to 1985."

To mark the release of its 2019 Midleton Very Rare vintage, Irish Distillers has launched the ‘1825 Room’, a members’ site to pay homage to Midleton Distillery’s outstanding influence on Irish distilling since its foundation in 1825. Offering exclusive content and features about Midleton Very Rare, the site which you will find at midletonveryrare.com will also include an exclusive online store, with five rare vintages for sale from 2nd October for one month. To celebrate the launch of the 1825 Room, members will have the opportunity to purchase a bottle of the very first 1984 vintage at the price of £40 Irish punts, which equates to €50.80. In anticipation of demand being exceptionally high, purchasers will be selected through a ballot system.

"The new 1825 Room gives us a unique opportunity to offer rare releases, which we have acquired over time or released from our archives, to whiskey fans and collectors around the world."explains Brendan Buckley, International Marketing Director at Irish Distillers.

Midleton Very Rare 2019 as always is bottled at 40% ABV, launching globally from this month at the RRP of £160/€180, you will soon find it available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

Midleton Very Rare 2019 Review

Bottled at 40% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet vanilla fudge, fresh pear and a touch of lemon citrus, sweet coconut ice and a little nutmeg and some lovely gentle pot still spices lurking in the background.

Taste: Slightly barley sugared apple and pear with a lemon twist leads, closely followed by some delicious mildly peppery pot still spices along with some sweet mature charred oak adding to the pleasure and complexity.

Finish: The fruit and soft pot still spices cling to the palate for an age with the delicious spices having the longer staying power but these bow out to leave some lovely lingering oak and barley grains.

Comment: I have to say that I am a big fan of the Midleton Very Rare, I became hooked on it over 20 year ago while attending a wedding in Northern Ireland and the hotel bar had a few different vintages, that was a good night. I haven't bought a bottle every single year since then but it has certainly been my most regular purchase of any premium annual release, Scotch or Irish whisky and this 2019 release is up amongst the best Very Rare expressions I have tasted, an outstanding mature Irish pot still rich blend, not a cheap pour these days but if your pockets are deep enough I don't think you would be disappointed with the 2019 release.

SMW Irish Blended Whiskey Score 92/100


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