Tag: Redbreast

A couple of whiskeys I’ve come across since moving to Ireland

Obviously living in Ireland makes it easier to taste new goodies on the Irish whiskey scene, but also to find older whiskeys that are unavailable in Sweden, where I come from.

At the moment we live in a rental house that is adapted for people staying short term for holidays or such, so there are no obvious places to store things and we don’t want to buy bottles of whiskey (we have plenty packed down in boxes) since most can be tasted in bars here and there, but sometimes we can’t resist. Some of these are unpacked and some are new purchases.

I know, I know, they are unhappy there with sun exposure and all that. I do have a better plan, and will move them soon.

However – I have some nice ones here in the window, that we inexpectedly found in the local Off Licence shop. Dingle single pot still batch 2 is one of them – it should be sold out by now? We saw two bottles of it in the shop when we just had moved here, and finally bought one on St Patrick’s day, and if nobody else has done the same, there is still a bottle left in the shop. Red Spot, the first batch, was also supposed to be all gone, or so we were told (at least outside the distillery visitor shops), but my husband bought one for my birthday, also from the Off Licence.

Here are some of my thoughts of random whiskeys I’ve come across since coming here.

Redbreast Pot Still blend, Edward Dillon & Co bottling

This bottle took me by surprise. I wanted a dram for the trad session, planned to have a Redbreast and suddenly saw this one. I had never seen it or heard of it before and didn’t even recognise the logo. Was it a premium bottle? Old? Rare? I didn’t dare to taste it that time because I thought that if it was an old bottle of true Redbreast it should be.. costly.

I posted the picture on Instagram to maybe get some more info. It seems like it’s a special Redbreast bottling for Edward Dillon & Co which I can see is a spirit & wine distributor that is still going strong as it seems, but I haven’t found more info about this bottling than that. It seems to have been bottled in the 90’s so the spirit should be from Midleton, in the early era of the rereleased Redbreast brand. This is a blend of pot still whiskey and grain whiskey.
If anyone who reads this knows more, and/or finds what I’ve written here is inaccurate, please let me know in the comments!

I was informed on Instagram that this bottling was a low seller and didn’t hold the quality of other bottlings with the Redbreast brand. On St Patrick’s day, I decided to taste it.

Nose
Newly cleaned wooden floor. Reminds me of a Swedish allround soap made from, among other ingredients, pine tree oils. Maybe some lime or tangerine.

Palate
Fresh. Bitter, woody, with a touch of lemon. I miss some sweetness. Soft in the beginning but dry on the palate. The citrus-ey feel makes me think of washing -up liquid. Fresh. Barely any finish, perhaps a bit of pepper.

I’m not impressed. It was interesting to taste it, but I don’t think I’ll do it again.

Sexton single malt

This is a whiskey that we actually brought with us from Sweden, but I haven’t had much of it since we bought it, which was after Whiskey Live Dublin 2018.
The people from Sexton were the first exhibitors we stumbled across at Whiskey Live, and they were really cool with high hats and fancy clothes, and with a whiskey in a hexagonal shaped (or what I call concertina shaped) bottle, like the rocks at the Giant’s Causeway in county Antrim. It’s not the easiest bottle to pour from but I love the design, it’s very creative.

It’s a young 4-5-ish-year-old if I’m not mistaken, triple distilled and must be made at Bushmills. It’s been matured in Oloroso sherry casks, and is bottled at 40% ABV.

Nose
Dark fruit, cereals, light sherry, varnished oak, oxidated apple, perhaps some orange?

Palate
Cereals, cinnamon, light toffee with a peppery twist. Light-bodied.

With added water I get more sweetness but it’s still very dry on the palate. Aromas get more intense and with more citrus and something herbal.

This is a true sherry bomb which is quite uncommon for new Irish whiskeys. Very interesting though. I quite like it, but miss sweetness and some body. It’s also a fact that I’m not as fond of heavily sherried whiskeys as I used to be – still it’s nice to see a whiskey brand that stands out and does something different.

Glendalough 13 years old, Mizunara cask

This is one that I had planned to taste at Whiskey Live, but among all new people and interesting whiskeys, I forgot about it. At Whiskey Live this year I’ll stick to my plan much better!

A year ago when we were going back to Sweden after a week in Ireland, I was recommended this whiskey at Dublin airport, but I didn’t want to buy it at €90 without tasting it first. A couple of weeks ago when I went to Shelbourne bar to have lunch and kill some time , I finally tasted it.

Glendalough is a brand I’ve been very impressed with. I have their 7-year-old, and have tasted the “normal” 13-year-old as well as a single cask release, a whiskey finished in a burgundy cask. They are all very good, and I’m looking forward to seeing what their own produced whiskey will be like.

The Mizunara cask is Japanese oak, and I see that some other distilleries/producers also try this finish. There’s some good information about Mizunara oak here.
The Glendalough Mizunara cask finish was quite hyped for a while, and I’m not sure I think it’s so much better than the other 13-year-old, but it’s certainly a good whiskey.

Nose
It has a nice woody aroma with vanilla, toffee notes, cereals and orange.

Palate
The flavours are hard to define, but very nice. Warm, sweet, peppery, hints of orange. Sweet and soft on the palate. Short finish and some bitterness at the end.

With water, it gets more intense on the nose and gets a longer finish, but loses some of its sweetness and soft mouthfeel.

I really liked this whiskey – but I’m not sure it’s so much better than the ordinary (and probably cheaper) 13-year-old. Nice on my palate though, and it’s always interesting to taste whiskeys with unusual cask finish.

West Cork Black Cask

The last but absolutely not the least. I absolutely love this whiskey. It’s a blend made by West Cork Distillers, that has been matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in double charred casks. It’s bottled at 40% as most other whiskeys from WCD.

Nose
The aroma is absolutely beautiful. Floral, light wood, pineapple? Tropical fruits, something herbal.

Palate
The floral character comes along to the palate. There’s a nice honeyish sweetness but also a nice peppery finish. Quite a short finish but nice soft mouthfeel with pepper.

Very nice blend that has an extra twist fresh, sweet and floral. . I generally always like the whiskeys from these guys. West Cork has become my go-to whiskey, when I want a little dram but don’t know what I want, only that I want something good. They have very good prices too so it doesn’t hurt to get an extra bottle from them.

This week I’m going to kick off my weekly reviews again – now on Fridays. Look forward to the Friday dram series!

Redbreast – the king of pot still whiskey

It’s a new year, and what other way is there to celebrate it other than to finally start this blog? I meant to start writing right away after our trip to Ireland in August, but the autumn has been crazy busy, and I had to leave it aside for a while.

Now I’m ready to get started, and I spent a lot of time to think about what is a good way to start a new blog, so instead I’ll just kick off, by writing about the wonderful Redbreast range from the Midleton distillery. I’m crazy about single pot still whiskey and I’m happy to now see other distilleries and future distilleries finding interest in making single pot still!

Since I started exploring Irish whiskeys, I’ve found so many great drams, but my favourites are always pot still whiskeys, or blends with pot still components that shine through. From the Redbreast, in the past I had only tasted the 15-year-old, that we used for the first whiskey tasting I led, but during 2017 I tasted quite a few of them – the 12-year-old cask strength, the Lustau edition, the all-sherry edition, and finally the 21-year-old.

About Redbreast

Apparently, Redbreast is the most best-selling pot still whiskey in the world. It started its existence in the late 1800s, when John Jameson & son’s distillery in Dublin collaborated with Gilbey’s wine & spirit, whiskey bonders that marketed Jameson’s whiskey. Gilbey’s were importers of wine, and had a good selection of sherry casks, that they used for whiskey maturation. The casks were sent to the Jameson distillery, filled with fine qualtiy whiskey, and then sent back to Gilbey’s for maturation. The brand name, Redbreast, is said to be attributed to the chairman of Gilbey’s, who had a large interest in birds. The Jameson distillery in Dublin closed in 1971 and the Redbreast brand nearly disappeared but was revived by the Irish distillers company in 1991.

Redbreast 12 years, cask strength edition

I haven’t tasted the regular 12-year-old Redbreast yet, but I tasted the cask strength edition in Dublin in April 2017. A very nice dram, I really like how the higher alcohol content adds flavour and oily texture to most cask strength whiskeys. This one is bottled at 58,6% ABV and matured in especially selected ex-bourbon casks and ex-sherry butts.

Nose
Intense sweet spiciness with an earthy feel, along with fruit, grass, and malt scents.

Palate
Very strong and intense character. Oily feel. Sweet and peppery at the beginning, then smooth creamy feel with a bit of vanilla and lots of dark fruits. A wee bit of bitterness with a peppery finish. With a drop of water added, the alcohol burn disappears a little, vanilla scents take over, and all flavours increase. Soft and creamy despite the high alcohol content, with a long peppery finish. Very nice indeed and definitely one of the winners of the Redbreast whiskeys.

Redbreast 15 years

The first Redbreast whiskey I tasted was the 15-year-old, a nice whiskey that was limited edition to begin with but it’s now added to the regular range. 
A very nice whiskey, matured in first-fill sherry butts and ex-bourbon casks, and is bottled at 46% ABV.

Nose
Spicy with lots of wood and dark fruits.

Palate
Nice wood character with dark fruits, citrus fruits, pepper and a very nice sweetness and smoothness. Nice oily feel – actually this whiskey was the one that made me realise that a whiskey can be “creamy”. Spicy finish.

Redbreast 21 years

I tasted this whiskey for the first time in August 2017 in Dublin, and fell in love. I loved the “warehouse” feel to it, the type of woody damp characters I think come with most well matured whiskeys, but along with all the smoothness and spiciness of a classic pot still whiskey.

Nose
Fresh fruit, both dark fruits and citrus, and wood. With a drop of water added, the wood takes over.

Palate
A feel of old damp warehouse. Oak, classic pot still spices, dark fruit. Strong spicy sweet finish. With a few drops of water added, vanilla enters the room and the flavours become more intense, with a softer smoother feel. A fantastic, long, spicy and woody finish.

This really is a fantastic dram if you like lots of flavour and whiskey that has taken a lot of character from the wood. I really like how this whiskey gives the “old damp warehouse” feel. It lacks some of the fudge-like sweetness that I’ve found in other pot still whiskeys but I like how the oak mixes into the other flavours here without taking over too much.

Redbreast Lustau edition

This whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon casks and sherry butts for 9-12 years but then finished in a special Oloroso sherry cask – from Bodegas Lustau – for a year. This has, as far as I know, been added to the regular Redbreast range.

Nose
Grass, oak, nuts, malt, dark fruits, pot still spices. Very sweet. With a drop of water, vanilla and sweetness take over.

Palate
Very spicy. Lots of wood and sweetness, nice creamy feel. Rich sherry flavours with a nice long spicy finish. A nice complex whiskey lots of things happening.

What else?

So what do I have left from the Redbreast range? I tasted the all sherry edition at the Malt Lane in Kinsale, I remember I didn’t like it very much, it was too dry and had less sweetness than the other Redbreasts. I don’t remember if this was the cask strength or not, but I don’t think so. However, it would be interesting to taste it again.

Also, I haven’t tasted the ordinary 12-year-old, which I definitely will try to do as soon as possible, either I’ll buy a bottle or I’ll wait until we go back to Ireland in March. Redbreast overall is a very nice selection of whiskeys, and something you definitely will have to try. Pot stil whiskey is so much smoother, but still very powerful in flavour, than most blended whiskeys, although Irish blended is top class.

Source of Redbreast facts: redbreastwhiskey.com and irishwhiskey.com. All tasting notes are my own.