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Irish Whiskey Magazine - Tastings - Midelton Very Rare 2016

Tastings – Issue 1 – Midleton Very Rare 2016

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 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.

John Moriarty Notes


You need to spend ages on this as it is layered and complex. It is balanced at an exacting level. It gently reveals aromas of tropical fruits, but in an orderly fashion. It is a bit like walking in to the new kind of old style sweet shops and identifying fruits as you walk around the shop. Marsh Mallow, Vanilla from the pod, chewy ginger, candied peel of orange and cut sweet apples.


Honeycomb honey at room temperature, gentle floral notes, underpinned by a very soft spice, vanilla, with ginger. Warm spice as it reaches the tummy.


This whiskey is like a big orchestra
playing in perfect harmony, with every note being heard and felt.





Stuart Irvine Notes


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.


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 an 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.


Dry and spicy with further green apples.


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 a 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 its 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.
Irish-Whiskey-Magazine-John Moriarty

John Moriarty

Bar Manager with 5* Park Hotel Kenmare, Co. Kerry for 34 years. Brings people to their ‘senses’ regularly conducts Whiskey Master Classes professionally within the hotel, the Dublin Bar Academy and throughout Ireland. Involved with the Whiskey school at Dingle Whiskey Distillery. Teaches but is a ‘Whiskey student for ever’ learning constantly from John C. McDougall, Rachel McNeill & Prof Paul Hughes. Has achieved a General Cert
in distillation with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

Irish-Whiskey-Magazine-Stuart Irvine

Stuart Irvine

Stuart Irvine is a whiskey blogger based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Since first getting into whiskey around 5 years ago Stuart has amassed an incredible knowledge of all whiskeys and he has since started up his own highly  respected blog “Whisky Belfast”, is active on twitter as @Whisky_Belfast and contributes regularly on Facebook. Stuart regularly attends whiskey events
both in his native Belfast, and further afield.

Irish Whiskey Magazine

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