Irish Distillers unveils Midleton Very Rare 2020

Irish Distillers has unveiled the final whiskey created by outgoing master distiller Brian Nation during his final days in the role.

Midleton Very Rare 2020 continues a tradition started by master distiller emeritus Barry Crocket all the way back in 1984.

Crocket handpicked the finest and rarest pot still and single grain whiskeys available at Midleton Distillery – which is also responsible for producing famous brands like Jameson and Redbreast – and blended them in an effort to create the ultimate expression of his art and expertise.

He continued to release Midleton Very Rare on an annual basis until handing over the reins to Nation in 2013.

It has become an eagerly anticipated annual event, with Nation continuing the tradition until this year. Each vintage differs and is only released in very limited quantities, making Midleton Very Rare a highly coveted and collectible whiskey.

Kevin O’Gorman has now taken over from Nation as master distiller, and his name will be on the bottle next year, but right now he is enjoying his friend’s final creation.

O'Gorman (pictured, right, with Nation) said: “As a colleague and friend to Brian for many years, I could not be prouder to present his final Midleton Very Rare vintage and his legacy as Irish Distillers’ master distiller to consumers across the globe. 

“Selected each year with passion and precision, this expression offers an initial burst of tangy fruity sweetness on the palate, with pot still spices building over time to add a mild prickle of chili oil.

“Indeed, Brian’s love of a single pot still is reflected in this exceptional whiskey, while preserving the balance and beauty for which Midleton Very Rare is renowned.”

Nation is a huge fan of pot still whiskey. He selected a higher pot still inclusion for the 2020 vintage when compared to previous releases, while also increasing the use of refill barrels amongst his choice of casks.

The result is a luxurious and exquisitely balanced whiskey with rich pot still notes and elegant grain distillates. The whiskeys featured are aged from 13 to 35 years in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels. 

Midleton Very Rare 2020 is bottled at 40% abv and has an rrp of €180. It is available online and in Ireland now, and it will be rolled out across the UK, USA, global travel retail, Australia, Germany and Canada in the coming months.

O’Gorman will break from tradition by releasing Midleton Very Rare 21 in spring next year, honouring a rare changing of the guard at the Midleton Distillery.