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Redbreast 12 Year Old Impressions


What is it? 

Distillery: Midleton Distillery Co., Cork, Ireland
Name: Redbreast 12 Year Old
Make: Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Extra Info: All whiskey (with an 'e') produced in Ireland can be referred to as 'Irish Whiskey' since its origin is the only true factor that makes a whiskey Irish. Not all Irish whiskey is the same, but most is triple distilled. This means that the spirit is distilled three times (most Scotch is distilled twice), which removes more of the heavier components and produces a lighter, more aromatic and higher alcohol spirit. The somewhat confusing term 'Single Pot Still' refers to distilling the product of a mash made from both malted and unmalted barely, at a 'single' distillery. For the majority of whiskey, barley, is 'malted' or made to germinate or sprout in damp conditions. This process converts hard starches within the grain to soft starches, which are able to be converted to sugars by plant enzymes when heated (cooked). Yeast feeds on this sugar during distillation. The unmalted or 'green' barely isn't broken down in the same way as the malted barely so it imparts a unique character to the spirit.

Why did I buy it?

I had tried some of the more commercial Irish Whiskey's before (I used to work in an Irish theme pub when I was younger) and wanted to try a more quintessential Irish Whiskey. There are very few Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey's on the market to choose from so I started with Redbreast 12 Year Old.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Bottled in a very dark green glass bottle, the whiskey looks almost black through it. The label is yellow with burgundy and black writing with a matching burgundy stopper and neck. I think it looks quite 'Irish' but admittedly, I do not know exactly what I mean by that. Classy and traditional with a little mystery thrown in for good measure. Bottled at 40% ABV.

Appearance: Bright amber, producing very few legs on the inside of the glass.

Aroma: Fragrant, fruity, sweet, almost bourbon-like, vanilla, green grass.

Flavour: Light, but not thin. Sweet,  then spice builds as the liquid warms in your mouth.

Finish: The spice falls away suddenly as you swallow, replaced by a burst of fresh fruitiness. Faint spice returns and lingers with subtle warming for a long finish.

Would I buy it again?

Yes. This is a very enjoyable whiskey and a perfect introduction to both Irish and Single Pot Still whiskey. It is complex but light and easy to drink with enough activity in the finish to keep it interesting. I am very keen to try the Redbreast 15 Year Old for comparison.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.


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