Thinking back, this whiskey was the one that changed my ways of adding a mixer to a whiskey, a game changer in my love affair with Irish Whiskey. It only took three sips of this delicious liquid gold to capture the essence and craft of creating a top whiskey. Redbreast 12 year old is grassy, clean, and smooth. The slight grassiness makes sense, the fact that this is a single pot whiskey, which means it has green (AKA unmalted) barley in its mash bill. It’s smoothness is likewise unsurprising given it is, like most Irish whiskeys and despite the confusing connotations of the phrase “single pot,” triple distilled. The initial swirl in your mouth is light in the mouth as it washes around your tastebuds, it nonetheless has a delicate and refined host of flavours ranging from a caramel to grain.
Redbreast is distilled at the Midleton Distillery using copper pot stills and aged in Oloroso sherry casks. The Distillery is home to several other single pot still Irish whiskeys, such as Jameson. Compared to Jameson, Redbreast 12 year is smoother but also more diverse in flavours. The sherry brings sweetness, but subtlety, the finish is smoother and but hangs around for longer.
"Stupendous nose....just a sip is enough to fill your mouth with a multi-layered attack of malt and pepper plus a few sherry notes with the pot still arriving on the 2nd wave and refusing to budge...this is a marvellous whiskey"
Jim Murray, A Taste of Irish whiskey.
A 100% heavy pot still whiskey with a high sherry ageing percentage. One of my all time favourite Irish Whiskeys. Redbreast was a brand name for Jameson's pure Irish pot still, bottled in bond by Gilbeys. First made in 1939 with Jameson filling Gilbey's own casks. Two sherry casks were used for each bourbon cask. The brand died off with the closure of Jamesons distillery but was recently relaunched and is a huge favourite with both whiskey drinkers and connoisseurs. Really deserves to be marketed worldwide! Awarded 'Irish Whiskey of the Year' in Jim Murray's 2010 Whiskey Bible.
What exactly is 'single pot still whiskey'?
Fundamentally, it is a whiskey that is made from malted and unmalted barley and no other grain. It is unblended (hence the “single pot”) and it must be made in Ireland to be considered as such.
Irish whiskey used to be made entirely from malted barley, then at some stage around the 18th century, malt taxes came down hard and heavy on Irish whiskey producers and, to get around them, they started introducing unmalted barley into their mash bills.
The Irish being crafty and savvy business people, because one man’s tax evasion is another man’s choice of whiskey. Not to mention, the mixture of malted and unmalted barley is now considered the standard for Irish whiskey, single pot still or no single pot still.
Tasting Notes: Redbreast 12 Year Old
Appearance: Clear yellow-gold, like an IPA. Thin viscosity with light swift legs.
Nose: Clean, fresh. Hint of linseed. Nuts. Cake.
Palate: By far the biggest of this selection. Assertive and complex, with lots of development and seemingly infinite dimension. Ginger cake, brazil nuts, treacle and marzipan
Finish: Liquorice-like sherry notes.