It’s March and that means that Irish whiskey season has officially begun as we count down towards St. Patrick’s Day. What better way to celebrate than with a new vintage from Midleton Very Rare, one of the best high-end blends out there. And if you really want to splurge, there’s an extra special blend available now that will run you more than $100,000.
Midleton Very Rare is made at the Midleton Distillery outside of Cork, Ireland, the same distillery that brands like Jameson, Redbreast and Green Spot are made. 2023 marks the 40th edition of MVR, which is now overseen by master distiller Kevin O’Gorman (his third in the series after taking the job over from Brian Nation). The blend is made up of single grain and single pot still whiskey. Single grain whiskey means it’s made at one distillery from a mashbill no more than 30 percent malted barley with the rest usually being corn, and single pot still whiskey indicates it’s made at one distillery in a pot still from a mashbill of malted and unmalted barley.
The 2023 vintage includes pot still whiskeys that range from light and delicate to a more traditional heavy style. The pot still proportion in the blend is larger this year because O’Gorman wanted to highlight notes of spice, ripe fruit, citrus and grain on the palate. The grain whiskey’s effect is said to be less pronounced on this year’s vintage, but still brings in notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Refill casks are always used in the blend, but this year there are less so the wood element on the palate is pulled back a bit. “Each year, it is a privilege and an honor to pour through the samples of exceptional liquids stored in the Midleton warehouses to create the next pinnacle of luxury Irish whiskey,” said O’Gorman in a statement. “The 2023 vintage is no different… Finding the perfect blend of single pot still and single grain whiskeys for this year is a testament to those who have gone before me, while the presentation of the liquid in recyclable packaging is a step towards the future for this historic brand.”
But that ain’t all. The brand-new Pinnacle Vintage is a whiskey unlike anything Midleton has ever released before, and is touted as being the rarest bottle yet from the distillery. This is a blend that contains a little bit of each of the 40 MVR vintages released thus far, along with a bit of pot still whiskey distilled in 1984 by former master distiller and creator of the MVR series Barry Crockett. “Midleton Very Rare The Pinnacle Vintage is an Irish whiskey that can never again be replicated,” said O’Gorman—and that does indeed seem to be the case. And, as seems to come part and parcel with nearly every ultra-luxury (and not so luxury) whiskey release these days, this bottle has its own NFT. If you’re into that.
Midleton Very Rare 2023 ($250) is available now for purchase online, but check the details to see which vintage you’re getting. As far as The Pinnacle ($130,000) is concerned, you’ll have to head over to BlockBar to snag a bottle. And even if you’re not NFT-curious, you can feel good that a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit an organization dedicated to the conservation of the Irish forestry.