Redbreast Dream Cask 2020 - reflections

The Dream Cask - the most hyped whiskey release of the year. For good reason, probably. It’s Redbreast after all, a top class whiskey brand with some fabulous whiskeys out there. Some of my all-time favourite whiskeys are Redbreasts - the 21-year-old, the 12-year-old cask strength and the Mano a Lámh.

Still, I’ve never engaged in the dream casks. First of all, they are too expensive for me. Even before we used our big savings to buy a house in West Cork, I didn’t want to spend €500 on a whiskey. Second, I don’t like that “I may not get one even if I'm happy to spend that kind of money” kind of thing.

If I've decided to buy something, I want to just be able to buy it without having to compete with others. This is why I don’t use auction sites, why I don’t hype about super limited whiskeys that sell out in two seconds and why I’m sceptical about free tweet tastings where you sign up and if you’re lucky enough you will be chosen.

Of course, I do these things at times. This week I tried to get a bottle of Kilchoman Feis Ile 2020 edition (but sadly got stuck in a conversation and was 4 minutes too late to the game), and actually signed up for another tweet tasting. But I prefer to just pay the money and get that thing, whatever it may be, without annoyances.

Midleton distillery

Although the dream cask is mostly an “in-your-dreams” whiskey for me, I'm happy about the work that Midleton distillery does, I’m always curious about what the dream cask of the year will be and curious about whether people will open it and what they will think of it. This year I was surprised, and a bit disappointed.

A 28-year-old Ruby port cask.
Probably a very nice whiskey, but - isn’t that a bit like, been there done that? How does this one differ from the Method & Madness, or the 27-year-old Redbreast (other than the extra year, obviously)? 

I do realise that there may be other components in it, whiskeys of other ages and characteristics, that can make it different from the other Ruby port whiskeys. Still, I guess I expected something different, something new, something cool.

Midleton distillery

What about an older whiskey from an extra charred bourbon cask, Madeira cask, extra years in Marsala, or something else that is somewhat different from their previous releases? 

Yes, I get it, it’s popular. People have been over the moon about the other Ruby port cask whiskeys. But for a Ruby port whiskey, I’d rather skip the annoyance of a ballot and get a bottle of the 27-year-old instead, that is available without trouble.

So why do I bother when I don’t plan to enter the competition to get a bottle anyway? That’s a good question. But I love the Midleton products and I like to follow the dream cask to see what they’ve been up to.

I suppose I’m a bit spoiled with other innovative things coming from Midleton. But they have the Method & Madness brand for that, I guess.

To all of you who do choose to enter the competition, I wish you the best of luck. And of course, Happy World Whisk(e)y Day!