The Redbreast is an ever popular, award winning whiskey and for reasons unknown have slipped through my palms many a time. But it was a combo offer along with its older 15 YO sibling that got me reacquainted with this Irish tuple.
The Redbreast like many prominent Irish whiskies carries with it a very long history, one that dates over a century! Rewind to 1857 and a small basement near Oxford Street, the W & A Gilbey establishment was founded, initially distilling and trading imported wine. They gradually expanded to include spirits and towards the end of the century, tied up with John Jameson and Sons. While J.Jameson produced the whiskies, Gilbey’s provided the casks, no surprises there considering Gilbeys had no shortage of wine casks.
Redbreast first made a mention sometime in 1912, under the J. Johnson brand. The name was inspired from the bird, Robin Redbreast, influenced by then Gilbey’s chairman’s love for birds. Towards 1970, the Irish Distillers Limited, who owned John Jamesons began to limit supplies to wholesalers and independent bottlers due to increased market demand; Gilbey’s fortunately were lucky enough to negotiate with IDL to continue receiving supplies for another year or so. In 1985, Gilbey’s sold the Redbreast brand to Irish Distillers Limited, which reintroduced the brand once again in 1991.
The Redbreast 12 is a single pot still whiskey meaning that the spirit is made exclusively from malted and unmalted barley. Post fermentation, the wort is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills and matured in a combination of exbourbon American and Sherry Oak Spanish barrels for a minimum of 12 years. This unmalted-malted barley combo is a deviation from the standard Irish blend made from a combination of grain(s), in addition to unmalted barley, or Single Malt Irish whiskey that leverages only malted barley.
ABV : 40%
Eye : Amber | Chill Filtered, E150a Artificial Colouring
Nose: Soft vanilla cupcake, drizzled with honey, cashews and rich dried fruits. Grapes and red apples; green pepper, ginger, cardamom and old spice.
Taste : Butter and cereal, vanilla syrup topped over dried fruits, raisins, grapes and plums. Rich sherried nuances intertwined with woody hints and stewed fruits, accompanied with some dryness, bits of earthiness and a lovely spice that continues to whisper on the palate.
Finish : Medium | Rich sweetness emanating from dark fruits coupled with a warm, herbal spice.
Medium bodied with good viscosity, the Redbreast is a lovely amalgamation of rich, decadent sweetness and a warm and inviting spice, both wholesome and compelling. Lending layers of flavours on the palate, this 12 year old whiskey has great depth and an almost equivalent breadth! Every time I sipped, swirled and swallowed, it was re-affirmation as to how well crafted the spirit was and how it best exemplified what a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey should be!
For AUD $115, it may seem a tad expensive but I do recommend this dram to be part of anyone’s whiskey bucket list! At the lower ABV, I would think this might be best savored neat or with a splash of water, but nothing more.