Celebrating the 60th anniversary of a Parisian retailer, this represents the most mature Redbreast of the modern era. Rich dark prunes, papaya, and the aroma of polished antique furniture. Treacle, oily and weighty, baked apple, Black Forest gateaux, char, and sizzling spices, with new flavors appearing minute by minute. Water encourages cherry to the nose and pomegranate to the taste buds. The faithful will respond to the call. (540 bottles, La Maison du Whisky only) €490
Very elegant, complex, and stylish. Honeyed and silky in texture, with toffee, toasted marshmallow, nougat, maple syrup, banana bread, and a hint of toasted coconut. Bright fruit and golden raisin blend in nicely with the layers of sweetness. Impeccable balance and very approachable. Classic Irish whiskey! (Value Pick)
Wow! After the wonderful 12 year old cask strength, Redbreast does it again. This is a different beast altogether, but it is a stunner. This is Roger Waters doing The Wall: over the top, unsubtle, and totally entertaining. There’s lots going on: fermenting apples, juicy oils, spice, and dark cherry and berry fruits zip and fizz over the palate, the wood influence is sublime. I'm comfortably numb.
Irish Distillers has already released two 90+ pot still whiskeys this year, but this is the knockout blow, an immense take on the wonderful Redbreast. The nose gives little away, all damp autumn leaves and fermenting forest fruit, but on the palate it's a fireworks display, a colorful mix of apple and pear, berries, vine fruits, chocolate liqueur, and oily pureed fruit. It's coming to the States soon, and rumor has it there's more to follow. But this will do. I can't think if I've ever tasted a better Irish whiskey. €75
Redbreast Cask Strength 12 year old (Batch B1/17), 58.6%
Irish Single Pot Still | $80
The latest release pits plum, damson, fruitcake, and rosehip against wild, untamed pot still spices straining at the leash. Clove vociferously trumps raisin as the mouth-drawing power is realized; spices deflect off the tongue’s surface like sparks off an anvil. As its grip slackens, the fruit ripens, bruising slightly, yet sweetening deliciously, and vanilla pod, toasted stave, and cinnamon bark emerge. I swear you feel more Irish with every sip. Editors’ Choice
The 120 year old sherry house Lustau originally operated as an almacenista, but now produces a broad portfolio of wine styles in Jerez. The nose is intensely fragrant, bursting with fat dates and squidgy prunes, red apple and Battenburg cake. It’s fruity, yet bone dry, with oak, walnut, and spices. This is full-bodied yet refined Redbreast: the Spanish oak sherry butts shaping the red berry fruits, apples, marzipan, and creamy yet oily consistency. Clean, sweet oloroso finish. Qué delicioso!
Redbreast 12 year old is a classic pure pot still Irish whiskey; where can you go from there? This new 15 year old expression is more muscular (bottling at 46% and not chill filtering certainly helps), but there are trade-offs. It’s a bit closed on the nose (like a great Bordeaux wine that’s too young). I do enjoy the silky/oily texture, the bold resinous oak spice grip on the finish, and the rich nutty toffee, fig, black raspberry, chocolaty, chewy nougat throughout the palate. Still, it’s not as eminently drinkable, refined, or balanced as the 12 year old.
First you think you love Redbreast, and then they go and release a triple-distilled single pot still sherry single cask from 1999. Coffee beans, chocolate buttons, nougat, wet leather jackets, macaroon, and black bananas. A sweet sherry baptism of fresh fig fruit and dark toffee, with blackened char wriggling delightfully under the tongue. Thick and oily, a savory tone surfaces, closed by coffee and heavy clove. Chicory coffee and licorice finish. Epic: extroverted northern cardinal to the chirpy European robin. (576 bottles, The Whisky Exchange only) £180
Oh, hello there. Meaning hand in hand in two languages, this Redbreast was solely matured in Galician oak seasoned with oloroso for 2 years at the Páez Morilla bodega in Jerez. A slightly closed nose of eucalyptus, menthol, and apple pre-empts a rich, fruity, cherry bomb of dark sugars, strawberry laces, morello, and clove. The fabulous pot still character ends on a sliver of mint as the fruit gently dulls. (2,000 bottlesexclusively for The Stillhouse, Midleton’s single pot still club) €65
Bursting with hawthorn, red currant, cherry, pomegranate, baked sugar sweetness, roasted spices, cardamom, dark honey, and plum pudding. This pot still whiskey from 1985 is mouth drawing with fruit flesh and skins, tasting of stewed fruits, baked orange, apple, and pomegranate, with a very fine shimmer of spices that sparkles on the tongue. Adding to their canon of single cask Redbreast releases, this is absolutely smashing. €500