Review #164 Redbreast Small Batch Cask Strength Irish Whiskey Batch 01/19
Distillery: Midleton Distillery
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Malted and Unmalted Barley)
BACKGROUND: Redbreast Irish Whiskey is a brand of Single Pot Still whiskey from Mideltown distillery. Redbreast is regarded by many as the definitive expression of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Redbreast was brought to market in 1903 by Gilbey's who were a Dublin spirits merchant who used whiskey distilled by Jameson's Bow Street Distillery. Redbreast has six variants always produced in varying allocation: 12 year, 12 year cask strength, 15 year old, 21 year old, Lustau Edition (sherry cask) and a 27 year old. In late 2019 Redbreast made a release titled Small Batch Cask Strength, consisting of 14-year-old age stated whiskeys matured in bourbon and sherry casks, with four batches of ~25 barrels each. The batches, A to D, were blended to achieve different profiles on the spectrum of pure ex-bourbon to pure ex-sherry. Since then, the age statement has been removed but this US only bottling is still produced in limited quantity. These whiskey are matured in a combination of the "finest Oak Casks" before being finished in Oloroso Sherry Butts and/or Bourbon casks. This specific bottle is from their B1/19 batch and was bottled at 117.4 proof.
NOSE: The nose is very reminiscent of a bourbon nose with scents of mature oak, butterscotch, and ripe cherries. The proof adds a really nice tingle to it. There are also some scents of dried fruit and vanilla. The scents are more on the shallow side and not overly deep and rich but still flavorful, balanced, and without a burn. Overall, this is more a sherry finished bourbon nose to me than a traditional Irish whiskey nose. (22/25)
PALATE: Up front are delicious malted barley flavors and creamy vanilla notes. The proof adds an amazing rawness to this that is not often found is Irish whiskey. There are also notes of well aged oak, cherries, blackberry, and some lighter vanilla. There are also the standard malted barley and slight copper notes attributable to the single pot still distillation technique. Overall, this is a delicious whiskey that is balanced, smooth, flavorful, and very unique for Irish whiskey. The traditional Irish whiskey notes blend together nicely with the notes from the sherry butts and bourbon casks to form a delicious flavor profile. The cask strength proofing adds a rawness that exemplifies how good this whiskey truly is by not watering it down. (36/40)
FINISH: The finish went on and on and on with notes of oak spice, dark fruits, and baking spices. The proof warms you right up without ever burning or being over the top. (22/25)
VALUE: With a $99 SRP this is a great deal but secondary prices on this are north of $150. We would pay up to $120 for this delicious and unique Irish Whiskey. (7/10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: I now understand the hype behind this whiskey. Redbreast Small Batch Cask Strength was an absolute treat. The traditional Irish whiskey flavors blended perfectly with the sherry and bourbon notes from the finishing. Even at cask strength this is an approachable and delicious whiskey that can be enjoyed neat or with a nice ice cube. We recommend this to whiskey to anyone and everyone.
Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Wild Turkey Master's Keep Revival
Similar & Equal Whiskey: Blue Spot 7 Year Cask Strength
Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength
Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!
96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods
90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey
85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this
80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there
75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf
70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this
60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers
50-59: Not my cup of tea
Below 50: Give away