For my first Irish whiskey review I decided on one of my favourite Irish whiskey’s, the Redbreast 15 year old from New Midleton Distillery. It was matured in a combination of Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and American Bourbon whisky barrels. The whiskey was bottled at 46% ABV and was non chill filtered. In 2006 it was chosen by Jim Murray as the Whisky Bible ‘Irish Whiskey of the Year’.
Style: Single Malt
Age: 15 Years
The Redbreast 15 year old is a pot still Irish whiskey. So what exactly is a pot still whiskey? According to the Single Pot Still website, it is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland (in general) and it is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey. It is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still.
The first official reference to the brand name ‘Redbreast’ appears in August 1912, when Gilbey’s were selling “Redbreast” J.J. Liqueur Whiskey 12 Years Old. The name ‘Redbreast’ itself refers to the bird, Robin Redbreast, and is attributed to the then Chairman of Gilbey’s, who was an avid bird-fancier. In December 1991, Redbreast was re-introduced by Irish Distillers Limited, after an absence of almost 10 years. In 2005 Redbreast 15 is released.
Colour: Deep gold to burnished with long medium legs.
Nose: Wonderfully complex, full and rich nose with a striking oiliness. Sweet wood notes and teasing nuttiness. Delightful sweetness to it, mostly in the form of mixed berries, black currant (fruit pastilles) and icing sugar. Also get some spicy hints on the nose.
Palate: Full bodied and very nicely balanced, while also being rich with lots of full flavour. Very pleasant full mouth feel, oily and mouth coating, luxurious. Nice sweet spicy burn on tip of tongue (and back of mouth). The fruitiness I find coming through is tangerines, oranges and gooseberries. The spiciness is a hot and spicy woodiness while still being a sweet.
Finish: Long and very spicy with enjoyable warmth at end. The spice stays on the tip of tongue for the whole ride. Also get a lovely sweetness in the finish, mostly burnt sugar and custard.
Overall: A pleasingly full, rich and balanced whiskey with an interesting sweet and spicy flavour profile that still has a juicy fruitiness to it. A lovely introduction into the world of Irish whiskey.
My Score: 85