Congratulations to Midleton Distillery on the Midleton Very Rare Vintage Release 2023, the 40th edition of the annual series.
Midleton Very Rare (MVR) represents one of the most anticipated and sought after Irish whiskeys each year. Compiling a complete collection is a rare and expensive accomplishment. MVR bottles appreciate in value each year and are a very popular item on whiskey auction sites. MVR is a blend comprised of single pot still and single grain of various ages and cask maturation. Bottled at 40% abv, the blend has whiskeys as old as 30 years.
Started by legendary Master Distiller Barry Crockett back when the Irish Whiskey industry was in the doldrums, MVR has become a standout of the Midleton portfolio, rewarding his vision all these years later. It is now arguably the most collectible Irish Whiskey. Each year's limited release originally retails for ~$250 and may ultimately sell for thousands at auction years later.
The 40th edition in 2023 was crafted by current Master Distiller Kevin O'Gorman, his 3rd MVR iteration. The 2023 edition abandoned the traditional wooden box presentation package and replaced it with a luxury, recyclable package as part of the IDL's new sustainability initiative. This year's vintage also increased the pot still component relative to the grain while using more refill casks. The result is a more distillate forward variety compared to recent prior releases.
Official tasting notes:
Opens with an intricate medley of fruits including nectarines, ripe melon, green apple, and apricot. A solid foundation of pot still spices, showcasing notes of freshly peeled ginger and crushed peppercorns, work in tandem with the aged grain’s perfumed notes of dried flowers and delectable golden syrup. The oak continues to reveal itself, adding notes of vanilla, combined with a honeycomb sweetness and freshly roasted coffee beans.
Luscious at first with succulent fruits and a distinctive creaminess along with a herbal quality akin to camomile tea. The pot still spices add depth and intrigue as they weave amongst the floral grain qualities found lingering throughout. The charred oak’s influence continues to build over time creating additional complexity as the wood-derived spices complement the ever-present fruits of candied orange and dried apricot.
The fruits and pot still spices build to a crescendo before giving way, leaving the final say to the oak tannins and antique grain whiskey.
MVR 2023 was released in the USA at the end of February. The Limited Edition will likely see a second release later in the year if recent history continues. For a more complete history of the MVR collection check out this article.