Everyone who knows me knows about my deep-rooted love for Irish whiskey. That being said, I do not know much about the Midleton releases. Sure, I have tasted a few of them while visiting a variety of bars in Ireland, but I can not say that I have ever tasted one I have fallen in love within the same way as I have with a couple of others. When I had the chance to snap up a sample of the Midleton Very Rare 2020, I decided to take one for the… blog and taste it again (while sober).

This is the 37th edition in the annual range, master distiller Brian Nation’s last release, and it showcases both single pot still and single grain whiskeys aged from 13 to 35 years in lightly charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels.

The very first thing I notice is the pronounced nose. I am getting the aromas from the glass, long before even holding it up to my nose. It is actually luring out a smile, as I instantly know how much I am going to enjoy this amber coloured dram. There is a lot of things going on on the nose, and the first notes apparent to me are almonds or rather marzipan, sweet vanilla and creamy white chocolate. I am also finding fresh and juicy orchard fruits – mainly pears, fudge and some peach. When nosing the glass about ten minutes after finishing the whiskey, I am getting a rather heavy treacle note.

On the palate I am met by cane sugar, orange peel, some unknown component reminding me of Fazer Liqueur Fills and vanilla. MVR 2020 is a very fruity whiskey, like biting into a plump and juicy yellow pear on the very verge of over-ripening, juice running down your chin. I would never describe this whiskey as having oaky notes, but there is some oak waiting last in line, sprinkled with a tiny little bit of crushed chilli flakes for an extra sting, right in the back of my throat.

Despite the relatively low ABV, it is a delicious whiskey. I am not saying that a low ABV equals low quality or vice versa, but it does not feel thin or watery in any way. It is mouth-coating, pleasant and absolutely one I would be finding myself going back to if I had the pleasure of owning a full bottle.

Nice, long oily finish, typical pot still. A little bit of spice, very complex and deliciously fruity.

The MVR 2020 is, as I have already said, a delicious dram. It is very much the kind of whiskey I tend to have a sweet spot for, but at the same time, it is not leaving the impression I would have thought it would. A pretty bottle in a wooden box tells a tale of exclusivity, sure, but at the end of the day it is what is in the bottle that matters – and I am much more a drinker, than a collector.

Now, would I pay €180 for this bottle to drink it? Honestly? No.

ABV: 40 %
Country: Ireland

The Midleton Very Rare was created in 1984 and has been released annually in very limited number of bottles since then. Their master distiller hand selects the finest and rarest whiskeys available and carefully blends them to create each annual vintage of MVR.


Tasting notes and opinions about this release are strictly my own.