Irish Distillers has marked the beginning of a new chapter in its history with the unveiling of Midleton Very Rare 2021 vintage –  the first from new Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman.

Now on its 38th edition, the Midleton Very Rare series began over four decades ago when the then masters began setting aside small amounts of exceptional whiskey for a  new luxury Irish whiskey offering.

The 2021 expression is a blend of rare and hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys from Midleton’s inventory, which includes whiskey aged between 15 and 36 years and matured in ex-bourbon American oak barrels.

For his first selection, O’Gorman spent several months exploring the casks in the Midleton inventory as he sought to put his own mark on this early awaited annual limited-edition release. Drawing on his experience in both distillation and maturation, he elevated the grain whiskey for the 2021 vintage to create a delicate and elegant drink.

In order to maintain a luxurious, balanced aroma and taste profile, O’Gorman selected a mix of first still and second still casks to enhance the wood contribution while allowing the pot still component to express itself.

Showcasing a floral and perfumed character, the higher selection of grain whiskeys also extends to the spectrum of flavours and aromas, which includes baked orchard fruits, lime zest and kiwi, rounded off with mild pot still spices and soft waves of vanilla.

The texture initially round and full, gains additional wood spices with a delicate touch of clove oil and nutmeg adding a mild heat, giving balance to the sweetness, while the lingering finish with the pot still spices and soft fruits eventually fades, allowing the oak to have the final say, highlighting the many years of maturation.

O’Gorman comments: “It’s a great honour to become the custodian of this extraordinary Irish whiskey family and 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.”

Beginning a new tradition under the guardianship of Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman, the Midleton Very Rare 2021 vintage will be the first to be launched at the start of the year.

As the new Midleton Very Rare calendar establishes this year, Ireland, online platforms and select markets will retain an allocation for a second sales period in late autumn to ensure availability before the festive period.

Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2021 is available online and in Ireland now, and will hit shelves in the UK, USA, Global Travel Retail, Australia, Germany, France and Canada in the coming months at the RRP of €180.

Irish Distillers is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines, and producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys.