Malt Advocate Whisky Awards “Irish Whiskey of the Year”: Redbreast 12 year oldFebruary 20th, 2011
What makes Irish whiskey unique? Some say because it’s triple distilled, and Scotch whisky is only distilled twice. Others note that it is not smoky like Scotch whisky. But there are Scotch whiskies that are triple distilled and others that aren’t smoky, and there are smoky Irish whiskeys and Irish whiskeys that are only distilled twice.
However, pot still whiskey — the process of making whiskey in copper pot stills from both malted and unmalted barley — is unique to Irish whiskey, and we think it is what gives many Irish whiskeys their character. Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Power’s, Paddy, Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, and many other Irish whiskey brands contain a portion of pot still whiskey.
Only two whiskeys currently on the market, Redbreast and Green Spot, are 100% pure pot still Irish whiskeys and only Redbreast is available in the States. Redbreast has, for many years, been sold only as a 12 year old. This past year, a 15 year old was introduced to the U.S. for the first time. Knowing how great Redbreast 12 year old is, we eagerly awaited the arrival of its older sibling. Could it actually be better than the 12 year old? That’s a pretty high hurdle to jump.
Well, in our opinion, it isn’t. It’s not that the Redbreast 15 year old isn’t a great whiskey. It is. It’s just that we still like the 12 year old better. In fact, we like this most recent bottling so much, it’s our “Irish Whiskey of the Year!”
Redbreast 12 year old is deftly balanced, very elegant, complex, and stylish. It’s honeyed and silky in texture, with toffee, toasted marshmallow, nougat, maple syrup, banana bread, and a hint of toasted coconut. The bright fruit and golden raisin blend in nicely with the layers of sweetness. Classic Irish whiskey, and affordable too!
Next to be announced is our “Scotch Whisky Blend of the Year”. See you back here tomorrow.