Thanks to /u/cpfselfbuilt for this sample.
It’s about time I got around to this dram. I mean, I somehow waited until after it was noted as one of the whiskies of the year, for all that means. I mean, it means that everyone who isn’t a whisky nerd is going to be asking about it and we’ll be explaining that one person who writes a book isn’t the unified thoughts of the entire community, however that’s a rant for another day that was summed up better by The Whisky Lady.
Redbreast 21 is the oldest standard release from Redbreast. They are produced by Irish Distillers, and while they were originally produced by Gilbey’s, who sourced it from Jameson’s. It’s still sourced from Midleton, however it’s now owned by Jameson, who also owns Midleton.
Redbreast 21 is specifically chosen from ex-bourbon and first-fill Oloroso casks. It’s also one of the few single pot still whiskies on the market, with the other having a finger print on it.
That’s a joke son! Don’t you get it! You hear!
That was a quote from an old cartoon for you young kids who are of the drinking age.
So yes, Redbreast is a unique product on the market. It’s Midleton doing single pot still whiskey.
And this is it after 21 years, specifically chosen for each batch. So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: $250 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 6/8
Nose: Strawberry blossom, plum jam, apple, tangerine pop, raisin, brown sugar
Initial floral/strawberry nose. I’m partially worried because one of the things I don’t typically like about Oloroso cask whiskies is the lack of that rich red cherry/plum note. However here it’s kept that light fruity note and developed it. Oh, and it also has that molasses note too.
Lots of raisin here. Perfect for an Autumn day. I could nose this all day. Well I could if I wasn’t cooking a turkey while reviewing it (far away from where I’m reviewing it, to avoid contamination). Minor things like life getting in the way of being a snobby alcoholic, I tells yah.
Taste: Tangerine, almond, currant, rum sauce, caramel, grass
Fruity, less complex than the nose. Light citrus with a continuing rich red fruit flavour that develops. It’s quite nice with a tiny bit of water. Just a little.
Interesting mix of nuttiness, caramel, and some grassiness. Nicely balanced. Again, could sip on this all day, save for being an adult with many busy things to do.
Finish: Sultana, lemon, effervescent, grapefruit, Wheatabix, teriyaki
And we have the complexity back at the end. An odd mixture of the grass and brown sugar has lead to this teriyaki flavour. Also the cereal is really, really well developed. Medium finish on this one.
Conclusion: All in all a good dram to have. I kinda kick myself for not picking up a bottle when I had the chance. Lots of raisins, great mixture of well developed Oloroso casks and those interesting complex flavours you get from ex-bourbon casks.
Honestly, I have very little to complain about here save for the taste. I feel like it was good, just not as well developed as I would have liked.
I like the whole package overall. Is it my whiskey of the year? No. Seriously, no. I feel like Redbreast could give me something more, and single cask stuff from Midleton has impressed me more.
That said, if you need something to convince people that Irish whiskey is worth it, this is that whiskey. Or if, like me, you don’t like Oloroso casks, this will make you pause and yet again question everything you do and leave you curled up questioning your entire life.
You know, the usual.
World Whiskey review #283, Ireland review #69, Whiskey Network review #1246