Midleton Very Rare 2012 Release; a special blended Irish Whiskey
So I spent all day working on my taxes, and I actually got everything done that I needed to do, which means that I deserve something to celebrate! But what to have? Well, since it also happens to be St Patrick’s Day 2017, that something really ought to be an Irish Whiskey, right?!!! Lucky for me that I have an open bottle of the Midleton Very Rare 2012 Release in my closet!
The Midleton Very Rare is an annual, limited release from the Jameson Distillery. First released in 1984, each bottle of the Midleton Very Rare is numbered and signed by the Master Distiller. For the 2012 release, the Master Distiller was the legendary Barry Crockett, who was born and raised on the distillery grounds. Mr Crockett retired in 2014, so bottlings of the 2014 and later releases now carry the signature of the current Master Distiller, Brian Nation.
The Midleton Very Rare is a blended Irish whiskey, meaning it contains both pot still whisky and grain whisky, but, again, there are no details available about the ratios between the two – at least that I could locate. This whiskey also follows Irish tradition and is triple distilled. While the 2012 Release is officially a No Age Stated bottling, there are reports circulating around that this contains whiskies aged between 12 and 25 years; however, as that is not published by the distillery anywhere, these are non-verified ages.
Review: Midleton Very Rare 2012 Release, Irish Blended Whiskey, Bottle No. 035320, 40% abv, L212531113 09:26
Color: Medium amber.
Nose: (N) Huge notes of vanilla, in a number of forms. Dense, sweet, and rich, the vanilla remains the central pillar of the nose. There is a strong undercurrent of malt, delicate hints of the oak, a soft floral aspect, warm honey on toasted bread, and some soft orchard fruit notes: I get mostly peaches and ripe apples. The nose is very enjoyable, with the malty vanilla and honey remaining front-and-center. (W) Given the low abv, I respectfully added just a couple drops of water to this one over concern that it would not handle water well. Happily, the tiny amount of water I added didn’t bring it down too much, but it did seem to bring out more influence from the ex-bourbon casks. I started to get coconut and a little mint on top of the remaining vanilla-centric notes. The orchard fruits also picked up a little more life.
Taste: (N) Delicate, light-bodied, and with a softer vanilla, which does allow the other flavors to make themselves known. The maltiness is much more pronounced, the honey, too. The orchard fruits remain subtle, very much the supporting cast. There is a very nice oakiness, here, bringing just a softly bitter, sharp edge to complement the sweet vanilla and rich malty notes. (W) Here the addition of water did seem to alter this whisky. Already delicate and light-bodied, just the small amount of water I added thinned the body even more. Beyond that, the palate remained very consistent with the nose, loads of vanilla and honey sweetness on top of the malty-bready notes, soft fruits, with the addition of the coconut and mint that I also picked up on the nose.
Finish: Exactly as you’d suspect, the finish is very heavy on the vanilla and maltiness, some soft oak spices, ending with just a hint of the coconut. Reasonable length to the finish.
Overall: Well, this one is a bit of a mixed bag. The nose is a beautiful, vanilla-bomb nose, supported by the malt, fruits, and floral notes. After the vibrancy of that beautiful nose, though, the palate suffers a bit from the high expectations and can’t quite live up to the promise. The body of this whiskey is extremely delicate, extremely delicate, and just a tad too thin to hit the high standards set by the nose. Had the body been a bit fatter, the flavors would have made a greater impact and I’d have rated this higher. Despite the minor disappointment on the palate, though, this still is an elegant, well-crafted whiskey that stays true to the Irish traditions. But this is one to try before you splurge!
Distillery: Jameson, Midleton, County Cork
Type: Irish blended whiskey
Age: No Age Statement (reported as being between 12 and 25 years)
Maturation: ex-bourbon casks
Price: $150 (2014)
Availability: Secondary market
Sample Source: My own bottle