Color: medium amber
Nose: vanilla, citrus, spice
Taste: vanilla, cloves, orange
Finish: long and warm
Value: …let’s not go there
I’ll lay this on the table:
The first time I ever had Midleton was an ounce that someone bought me at my local Irish pub. I was really very grateful as the local charges $30 a shot. With my first sip, I was entranced.
But, as I don’t do reviews at bars/pubs/restaurants, I couldn’t write it up.
Now, I can.
Let’s not mince words:
Midleton Very Rare is unlike any other Irish whiskey I’ve tasted.
Irish whiskeys are known for being light on barrel notes, but smooth in finish. Midleton Very Rare, on the other hand, has beautiful barrel notes and still remains smooth.
I started my journey into whiskeys with American Sour Mash… which made me swear off of the stuff. I then leapt to Scotch Whisky; a fantastic journey from Blended, to the Highlands, to the Lowlands, quickly through Islay, and eventually settling me into Speyside. And from there, I branched out into Irish whiskeys and American Bourbons.
It’s easy, once you’ve made that journey, to come to expect certain things from certain whiskeys. That is what makes Midleton Very Rare so sublime: the unexpected. I never expected an Irish whiskey to remind me so much of an aged Speyside Scotch whisky. Slight vanilla, citrus, spices, long & warm finish… all the things I cherish about Speysides and they’re present in this exquisite bottle of Irish whiskey.
So now, you’re thinking “Well, then couldn’t I go get a bottle of Glenrothes Special and save myself $80?” Sure you could, but it’s not the same. Speysides are quite light, a touch sweet, and always have a mineral note: these qualities are missing in Midleton Very Rare. While you might get a whiff of candied ginger, you won’t taste it. And this is why Midleton Very Rare is singular.
That is what makes Midleton Very Rare so sublime: the unexpected.
As Irish whiskeys go, Midleton Very Rare is unique, an outlier. As whiskeys go, Midleton Very Rare is a touch tame, very smooth, and easy going. If it were a car, it would be a fully restored 1971 Plymouth Sport Fury GT: Rare, enchanting, and smooth… but let’s face it: completely impractical.
I love the stuff, I really do. But it’s hard to find and quite expensive. It’s right up there with most Orphan Barrel Bourbons in terms of “hard to acquire” and “painfully expensive.” And for the price… well… I’d rather have the bourbon.
Still… I do love the ’71 Sport Fury…
Final Rating: 93 out of 100