The King of the Irish: Midleton Very Rare (2011)
When Paul Pacult published his massive book of spirit reviews “Kindred Spirits 2” in 2008 he held a tasting session at Keen’s steakhouse in Manhattan modestly titled “The Ten Greatest Spirits in the World”. It was an astonishing night but perhaps the biggest surprise and delight was the penultimate selection – a rich and buttery waxy whisky with a luscious bananas foster flavor and an amazingly polished and elegant manner. I had to be told twice that it was an Irish whisky. Most in attendance had the same incredulous reaction. “Did he say an IRISH whisky?”
Colour: rich old gold with coppery / amber glints.
Nose: A very distinctive and Scotch-like nose like a very elegant Highland malt: salted butter, butterscotch, toffee malt, heather and gorse, clover honey and bee’s wax and a whiff of distant sherry.
Palate: Is like sugar sautéed in sweet butter then banana (bananas foster). Mid-palate lays sweet cream, peppery heat, a hint of mint, yellow and red fruits, quince, gooseberries and a touch of pineapple on top of a well built chassis of richly honeyed firm cereal. Finish is gentle and drying – long and clean and elegant without a trace of burn or bitterness. Over the long finish the highland Scotch quality keeps showing itself in the malty-sweet and lightly oaky and salty combo of flavours.