First Midleton Very Rare vintage from Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman is unveiled
Irish Distillers, maker of some of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, has opened a new chapter in Irish whiskey as they reveal Midleton Very Rare 2021 – the 38th edition in the renowned and highly collectable range and the first in the series to be masterfully created by Irish Distillers’ new Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman.
The Midleton Very Rare legacy began over four decades ago when the then masters, ever keen to create exemplary expressions, began setting aside small amounts of exceptionally performing whiskey for a new luxury offering in the world of Irish whiskey. Today, Midleton Very Rare is globally renowned as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey. In keeping with tradition, Midleton Very Rare 2021 is a balanced blend of rare and hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys from Midleton’s extensive inventory. It includes whiskey aged between 15 and 36 years and matured in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
Making his first selection as Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman took several months to explore the finest casks in the Midleton inventory as he sought to put his own mark on this eagerly awaited annual limited-edition release. Drawing on his experience in both distillation and maturation, O’Gorman elevated the grain whiskey contribution for the 2021 vintage to create a delicate and elegant whiskey. In order to maintain a luxurious, balanced aroma and taste profile, O’Gorman selected a perfect mix of first fill and second fill casks to enhance the wood contribution while allowing the pot still component to express itself.
The result is a whiskey of great finesse, with a floral, perfumed character. The higher selection of grain whiskeys extends the spectrum of flavours and aromas to include baked orchard fruits, lime zest and kiwi, perfectly rounded off with mild pot still spices and soft waves of vanilla from the exceptional bourbon casks.
Celebrating the launch of Midleton Very Rare 2021, O’Gorman comments: “It is a great honour to become the custodian of this extraordinary Irish whiskey family and to have my signature adorn our 2021 vintage.
“The journey to launching this vintage began almost 40 years ago. Continuing the work of my predecessors was both a daunting and extremely enjoyable process that allowed me to explore some of our rarest casks and create an exceptional blend that sits seamlessly within the family.
“I am particularly proud to have been able to include distillate that was laid down in 1984, the year the collection was first conceived by Master Distiller Emeritus Barry Crockett, from who I have learned so much.
“For me, this vintage adds a new dimension and elegance to the style and quality for which the range is renowned. I couldn’t ask for a better way to begin my chapter as Irish Distillers’ Master Distiller.”
Beginning a new tradition under the guardianship of Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman, the Midleton Very Rare 2021 vintage will be the first to be launched at the start of the year, in response to consumer demand. As the new Midleton Very Rare calendar establishes this year, Ireland, online platforms and select markets will retain an allocation for a second sales period in late autumn to ensure availability before the festive period, in keeping with customer expectations.
Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2021 is available online and in Ireland now, and will hit shelves in the UK, USA, Global Travel Retail, Australia, Germany, France and Canada in the coming months at the RRP of €180.
Opens with a delicate floral perfume closely followed by roasted coffee beans, salted caramel and honeycomb coming to the fore. Hints of nectarines that linger in the background evolve over time along with freshly grated ginger and nutmeg spice. The American oak provides structure throughout, ranging in depth from fresh woodland notes to aged charred oak.
Baked orchard fruits with a touch of lime zest and kiwi. Mild pot still spices continue to build along with soft waves of vanilla, sweet coffee liqueur and cocoa powder. The texture initially round and full, gains additional wood spices with a delicate touch of clove oil and nutmeg adding a mild heat, giving balance to the sweetness.
Lingering finish with the pot still spices and soft fruits eventually fading, allowing the oak to have the final say, highlighting the many years of maturation.