Midleton Very Rare Just Dropped a New Ultra-Premium Irish Whiskey

The luxury Irish whiskey category is relatively small, at least when compared to single malt scotch or bourbon. The one name that leads this market, however, is Midleton Very Rare, and the latest release from this high-end blended whiskey celebrates 40 years of the brand which is produced at the same distillery as the ever-popular Jameson.

The distillery in question is Midleton, which is located just outside of Cork and is the home of not just Jameson, but other popular Irish whiskeys like Powers, Redbreast, and Green Spot. Midleton Very Rare is released annually as a unique vintage blend of grain and pot still whiskey compiled by the master distiller. Since 2020, that role has been held by Kevin O’Gorman, who has worked at Midleton since 1998. He has been responsible for the last three MVR releases, with the latest being the new 2024 edition. We got to try this year’s release, and O’Gorman’s winning streak continues with big pear notes on the palate along with citrus, tropical fruit, raisin, vanilla, and cocoa.

The blend might change, but the one thing that remains consistent with Midleton Very Rare is that the whiskey is aged solely in ex-bourbon barrels, some of which have been used several times before. For the new 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition, however, O’Gorman decided to try a different tactic. He selected three different barrels for this blend, two of which were overseen by previous master distillers Brian Nation and Barry Crockett (who created Midleton Very Rare in 1984), and one from his first year as master distiller. These were blended together and the whiskey was put into a port cask to finish for nine months, a unique step for MVR. We got to sample the Ruby Edition and it’s excellent. The nose leads with cotton candy grapes, plum, and orange. That’s followed by dusty oak, leather, chocolate, tobacco, dark fruit, cedar, and cherry on the palate, with some toasted oak and a bit of tannin on the finish. It was bottled at cask strength of 53.1 percent ABV.

Apparently the whiskey NFT market still has some legs, because the first bottle will be sold through BlockBar. This special bottle was designed in collaboration with Cork-based Keanes Jewellers, and has 18-carat gold on the neck and 32 rubies encrusted on the collar. One bottle is available to bid on through March 7 with a reserve price of $60,000, and the winner will also get a VIP visit to the distillery, a one night stay at the nearby Castlemartyr Resort, and the chance to try some rare Irish whiskeys. The other bottles of the 40th Anniversary Ruby Edition are available to purchase from specialty retailers for $20,000 (you can register to find out more here), and you can find the current and previous editions of Midleton Very Rare available to purchase from websites like ReserveBar.


  • Jonah Flicker

    Flicker is currently Robb Report’s whiskey critic, writing a weekly review of the most newsworthy releases around. He is a freelance writer covering the spirits industry whose work has appeared in…

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