Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey


This 100% pure singly pot still whiskey is made by IDL (Irish Distillers Ltd.) which is the same distillery in New Midleton where the company produces their other brown spirits – Powers and Jameson. These are blends of pot still whiskey and grain whiskey that are produced in the same four pot stills and three column stills as the Redbreast. Green Spot and Tullamore Dew are also made here by contract. Some would even say that Jameson is in fact a watered-down version of Redbreast – having been “watered down” with grain whiskey.

There is a similarity in ethos between Irish single pot-still whiskey and single-malt whiskey. The difference is that although the mashbill contains both malted and unmalted barley, which is usually to a ratio of 40 to 60, unlike single malt, traditional copper pot stills are used in distilling the combination of both. This infuses, into the spirit, a lot of character – in contrast to the very small amount of natural character experienced in the  grain spirit which resembles vodka, produced using column stills of stainless steel. The result is a complex whiskey with a distinctive oily, full mouthfeel. While this greasy style of body is difficult (at least for me) to discern in blends like Powers and Jamesons, that contain as little as 40% pot still whiskey, Redbreast clearly has it in spades. My fondness for Redbreast, and the reason it will always have a place on my shelf is because of its unique character in addition to the fact that its reasonable price point is a perfect fit for my rotation of regular, as well as the myriad of awards it wins.

Redbreast 12 year Irish Whiskey

Nose: This is a shock of bacon fat and greasy toffee with a suggestion of industrial solvent. White pepper and spicy dried coconut also abound. It needs a few minutes in the glass, undisturbed, to mellow the sharpness of the young unmalted barley which is present when right out of the bottle. Do not add water! This dulls the nose.

Palate: The main feature of the palate is the delectable chewy mouth coating and pot-still greasiness. In addition, there is a lot of root beer, marshmallow, and molasses or brown sugar. Black licorice and more dried coconut. Again, do not add water. It will only thin the body.

Finish: Drenched in mixed dried herbs, lavender and coconut, the finish is very long. It goes with the coconut degrading into the bitterness of impure cane sugar. The best way to wash away this bitterness from drinking Redbreast is with more Redbreast!

For that unique toothy quality, Redbreast 12 is a must-try. Considering this level of quality is not available at the price when you compare it with competing single malts, it is a definite must-have. Remember, do not add water! It will only mess with the mouthfeel! Get the most out of the Redbreast experience by taking it just as it is.