Saturday, October 6, 2012

Midleton Very Rare - Blind Tasting

I'll point out right up front that the Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey is expensive with the typical range around $125 to $150 for a 750ml bottle.

This offering comes from Irish Distillers, a Pernod Ricard company, who also distribute Jameson, Paddy and Powers and up until 2009 also distributed Wild Turkey Bourbon.

This was selection #6 in the Irish blind tasting and I included it for the simple reason that it's a premium blend and I wanted something top shelf in the mix.  I first came across Midleton back in early 2010 and vacillated purchasing the bottle due to the price.  I ended pulling the trigger and for the most part am glad I did.

This blended whiskey comes from 50 hand selected casks by the Master Distiller and contains whiskey that is as young as 12 years up to 25 years old.  This label first appeared in 1984 as a special annual release.  Midleton has won many awards at various spirits competitions and is well regarded in the industry as well as world whiskey enthusiasts.

At 40% ABV, this is not a powerhouse whiskey but is instead an elegant dram exhibiting flavors of aged oak, honeycomb, summer fruits and baking spice.  The finish is long and smooth coaxing the drinker to take yet another sip. To me, a very good example of a high end blend and one to be savored and shared among those that appreciate a unique and rare whiskey.

This selection received good marks among the tasting panel

95-100 Classic Whiskey 1
90-94 Excellent Whiskey 4
85-89 Very Good, Above Average Whiskey 1
80-84 Average Whiskey 2
75-79 Fair Whiskey 1
74 and Under - Pass on This Whiskey0

Comments from the panel consisted of:

"Caramel, malt, sherry, spice, and a hint of citrus. As good as it gets."

"I like the fruit flavors but the metallic aftertaste was a bit of a turnoff for me."

"Wow! A stunner. Seriously I could drink this all day and all year."

"DELICIOUS !!!!  I really enjoyed this whiskey and it comes closest in our sample to date to the type of flavour profile that I look for when reaching for an Irish Whiskey."

"To me, a one dimensional whiskey, not unplesant, but not something I'd crave."

The Midleton Very Rare has a limited distribution and may be difficult to find in some markets.


  1. I usually end up loving Midleton Very Rare. I've had the 1994, 2006, 2008, and 2011. The flavor profile shifts a bit year to year. The 2006 and 2008 were more bananas-foster like in flavor and the 2011 and 1994 are more like an elegant Highland Scotch with butterscotch notes. Which year were you tasting in your blind?

    I don't know about the value equation - but this is certainly among the most refined and delicious Irish whiskies. Period.

  2. Josh - For this blind tasting, we were sampling the 2010 release. I also have a 2011 that, to me, is similar in nature. I agree the value proposition can be questionable but for someone into Irish Whiskey, this is a nice one to have.