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Water of Life - Redbreast

For many moons, every time I have harped on about my favourite Irish whiskies to other connoisseurs, the question was raised if I had ever tried Redbreast. Until very recently I had not.

Shame on me.

The trademark of Irish whiskies at large and specifically New Midleton Distillery, where Redbreast originates from is their Single Pot Still approach that skims the cream of the crop from a mash containing different barley varieties before triple distilling it, opposed to the process prevalent in Scotland and the new world where only one-dimensional malted barley is used.

The golden coloured Redbreast 12 is Midleton’s easy-to-procure entry level expression, whose aromas reel one in instantaneously with a complex bouquet that serenades one through fruity, spicy, citrussy, floral and sweet nuances. Yup, that’s quite a bit of territory being covered.

What I like about Redbreast is that instead of getting lost in a maelstrom of flavours, on the palate the dominant malt foundation that sits on a nutty backbone serves as a stage that strings the equivalent of the aforementioned aromas together while still highlighting them individually.

The long finish is just beautiful as it bookends what was promised on the palate and it seals the perfectly balanced experience with warm coppery grain forward unmalted sweeter flavours. I can only imagine what a flavour explosion their high-octane cask-strength version would provide.

As the name suggests, the Redbreast 15-Year-Old is left in the barrels for an additional three years, which adds new layers of complexity in that both bready, spicy as well as apple and cider notes are added to the mix.

What tickles the nostrils is grain and malt forward, with zesty apply highlights being accompanied by citrus zest, vanilla and sour-dough notes.

On the palate the journey continues with sweet barley accentuated by cinnamon and dark chocolate that is sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

The elongated finish has a crescendo that meanders between sweet- and spiciness.

A subtly, wonderfully calibrated whiskey.

Redbreast Lustau is the latest addition to the Redbreast portfolio with a mere decade of maturation under its belt, of which one tenth however is spent for refinement in first fill specifically selected sherry butts. Being the product of a collaboration between the Bodegas Lustau and the Midleton Distillery.

Copper in appearance, the aroma is quite enticing as it is a melange of thick malt, dark stone fruits, honeyed nuts and very light spicy nuances that live in the high octaves.

On the palate, what the nose hinted at comes to fruition in a very buttery and oily manner with predominantly the dark, stone fruits standing out against a backdrop of citrussy vanilla, almonds, framed by the subtlest of spices.

The great sense of calibrations finds itself in the elongated finish as the flavours are married with apple, caramel and a veil of sherry-tinged flavours that culminate in highlights of lemon and dark fruits.

For the calibre of whiskey Redbreast and specifically their Lustau variant is offering, it reigns supreme in its price ranging compared to a lot of Scots with a much heavier price tag.


image from company website

September 5, 2020

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