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Midleton ushers in new era for Irish whiskey with Very Rare 2021

Irish Distillers is beginning a new chapter in its history with the launch of the Midleton Very Rare 2021 vintage - the first from new master distiller Kevin O'Gorman.

Now on its 38th edition, the Midleton Very Rare series has seen master distillers set aside small amounts of exceptional whiskey for luxury, limited-edition offerings for four decades. 

The 2021 release is a blend of rare and hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys, aged for between 15 and 36 years and matured in ex-Bourbon American oak barrels. 

For his first Very Rare selection as master distiller, O'Gorman spent several months exploring the Midleton inventory. In his finished liquid, he has elevated the grain whiskey contribution and used a mix of first and second fill casks. Irish Distillers says the result is "a whiskey of great finesse, with a floral, perfumed character".

O’Gorman said: "It is a great honour to become the custodian of this extraordinary Irish whiskey family and to have my signature adorn our 2021 vintage.

"The journey to launching this vintage began almost 40 years ago. Continuing the work of my predecessors was both a daunting and extremely enjoyable process that allowed me to explore some of our rarest casks and create an exceptional blend that sits seamlessly within the family.

"I am particularly proud to have been able to include distillate that was laid down in 1984, the year the collection was first conceived by master distiller emeritus Barry Crockett, from whom I have learned so much. 

"For me, this vintage adds a new dimension and elegance to the style and quality for which the range is renowned. I couldn’t ask for a better way to begin my chapter as Irish Distillers’ master distiller."

The Midleton Very Rare 2021 vintage will be the first to be released at the start of the year, in response to consumer demand. As this new calendar is established, Irish Distillers will retain an allocation for a second sales period in late autumn for Ireland, online platforms and other select markets.

Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2021 is available online and in Ireland now. It will hit shelves in the UK, US, Australia, Germany, France and Canada, as well as global travel retail, in the coming months (RRP €180).  

18 February 2021 - Bethany Whymark