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Redbreast 12 Year Old

Average score from 37 reviews and 137 ratings 85

Redbreast 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Redbreast
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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@cricklewood
Redbreast 12 Year Old

This review has more blab but feel free to skip ahead.

The whisky formerly know as "Pure Pot Still" has had a tumultuous history. It was created as a middle finger to the government, who imposed a malt tax in 1785. Irish distillers set about modifying their whisky recipes to include a portion of unmalted barley and other grains (often oats but wheat & rye were used). Not unlike the mixed mashbill of American distilleries.

Turns out it was pretty tasty and in turn it created a unique category of whisky that set them apart from their Scottish counterparts. Each facility used their own proprietary mix of grains in their whisky creating brands with a loyal following. The eventual decline of the Irish whisky industry caused all major players to consolidate under one large umbrella that became IDL. They continued to fabricate pot still whisky at Middleton but it was mostly used as "flavouring" agent in the blends they were forced to create in order to compete with the Scottish who had found much success with this formula earlier.

The variety of "pure" pot still whisky dwindled down to a few (Redbreast and the contract brand Green Spot) and the recipes used also were streamlined to the following rules. A minimum of 30% unmalted barley and a minimum of 30% malt with a maximum of 5% "other" grains.

As Midleton was the only producer of Pot still Irish whisky they were able to dictate that their preferred ratios be the one to define the category in the IGP, despite the fact that it flies in the face of the history of the many brands they actually use to market their products. There is an interesting set of articles about this controversial IGP on Blackwater distilleries blog blackwaterdistillery.ie/heritage-3/

Ok on to thew review.

Nose: Mineral, sweet dried fruits, slight varnish note, almonds, a subtle yeasty sherry note. Putty or perhaps plasticine, there's a touch of mint too. Some leather, plums, dusty grains and chamomile.

Palate: Light, all on the interplay between the dark dried fruits and the thick pot-still texture. Prunes, buttercream, old oak, spices, some bready notes too.

Finish: Lots of dark notes, paraffin, a slight sulfur. Rubbery notes at the end hold it back a touch.

Notes: Elegant and classy, I didn't understand the fuss about this whisky at first in fact I reviewed it quite poorly on this very board. It requires attention as it doesn't jump out at you.

@dloewen

This one has been in my cabinet for a few years now, thankfully I bought it just before the LCBO boosted the price up to the current $80. I bring this up because I feel like the place it held in my cabinet deserves to be renewed, but at current prices, it’s a bit of a tough sell. But such is life, and age statements now cost money. But cost aside, this is one of Ireland’s greats…period. I would stand by that. I haven’t had many Irish “premium” whiskies, but as far as my experience takes me, this one has got a solid place in my top 10 recommended bottles. If someone wanted to know what good Irish whiskey tasted like, this would probably shoot to mind as my first recommendation.

“Why?” you say?

Let’s start at the beginning. First of all, this is a SINGLE POT STILL whiskey, the quintessential Irish style. Single – meaning from one distillery, and Pot Still – meaning there is no column still spirit (sometimes referred to as neutral grain spirit). This is no blend. And what makes this different from a Scottish single malt? The mix of unmalted barley along with malted barley…and that is what makes it the quintessential style of Ireland. Add to it that this has been triple distilled, and aged in a combination of bourbon, and sherry casks, and you’ve got classic Irish whiskey, made by Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland. (Note: On the bottle packaging only sherry casks are mentioned, the mix of bourbon casks in addition to sherry is on the official website.)

Tasted neat from a Glencairn.

Nose: What jumps out first is clearly red apples, baked red apples, but without the common spices that go into a baked apple pie. This is baked apples with a candied element, like candy apples at a carnival or fair. There is a very light caramel that emerges, along with a pleasant mustiness after some time in the glass. It actually reminds me of a Calvados that I had not long ago. Barley sugar rounds things out.

Palate: It has a nice coating, oily mouthfeel…a testament to the pot stills. The flavour follows the nose quite predictably with the addition of (what I call) butter biscuits. They weren’t noticeable on the the nose, but they do have a place on the palate…wonderful, I love surprises! The finish doesn’t hold any surprises though, it gives you a medium length lingering taste of what you’ve just had…no flourishes, no twists or turns. Predictable.

Conclusion: I find this to be a wonderful example of a proper Irish whiskey. It does the job right, every time, and provides a benchmark by which other whiskies can be measured. It is also a great example of “Smooth doesn’t have to mean simple!” It’s complexity allows this to be shared among whisky aficionados, and it’s easy drinkability allows it to be shared among friends at a party. It seems to do it all well, and yet I find myself reaching past it often in the cabinet. Yearning for a whisk(e)y and admiring a whisk(e)y are two different things I suppose. This one gets much admiration here.

Yes, I have had Green Spot, and found it to be really good! If I could fault it in any way, it’s just too friendly. I like my whiskies to kick me around a bit! laughing

Nice review, captures the whisky well, I wasn't enamored with this whisky when I first had it but my palate has changed since and the bottle has bloomed as well. Have you tried any of the Spot whiskys? (Green, Yellow or red?)

@conorrob

Redbreast 12 has always been a christmas favourite of mine - £40 in the sales in the UK ... i just wish the cask strength was as reasonably priced here as in the US (£80-90 here )

Nose Dark fruits with cinnamon dashed baked pear and custard Raisins and fresh fig

Palate A thick creamy body with orange peel and raisins. Cinnamon plays a major role here alongside wood spice and baked pear. White biscuit much like that found on either side of a cream biscuit- nice for those in the uk. And a dash of vanilla ice cream

The finish is long and creamy. Butter, raisins and pear which seems to be a staple of this particular dram

This is an exceptional pot still whiskey which matches the dreaded ‘smooth’ness with character. Chef’s suggest that certain taste profiles go with eachother whilst others dont... this whiskey delivers with profiles that match and compliment eachother which in my opinion is a rare thing to find.

@conorrob - I think your score is about where I'd have put this, for what it's worth. I found it to be very enjoyable and a good example of pot still whiskey. I also hate to tell you that I picked up a 12 CS for c£70 on Amazon over xmas. Sorry! blush I agree though, £85-90 is way too much and I wouldn't have paid that.

Nom nom £70 nom nom .... might have to get me one at that grimacing grimacing grimacing thanks man

@cricklewood

Redbreast was a no-brainer when choosing a bottle to represent Irish whisky for our March whisky club meeting. There are few representative of the Single pot-still (formerly pure pot still) style of Irish whisky, it consistently receives praise across most of its expressions. With it’s proportion of Sherry matured whisky I thought it would be a style that would be familiar to our members, a good starting point.

I didn’t count on the 12 year old being austere to the point that it would go unnoticed, it didn’t help that it was preceded by the stunning Teeling single malt. I had another dram from this bottle recently that confirmed my feelings

Nose: Freshly poured concrete, sherried oak, soaked fruitcake, plasticine, a hint of pears. Marzipan, tobacco, buttered toast, wet cardboard, it’s not very fruity.

Palate: Despite it being 40% it’s got a nip, almost like a cognac, soaked raisins, honey nut cheerios, ginger, a carpenters shop floor, wood shavings, mineral oil. It then turns dry, a smidgen herbal, dried lemon zest, a bit of toffee with nutmeg and cloves.

Finish: astringent, green peppercorns and oak shavings a bit of the plum pudding and almonds but it’s gone so quickly and that’s perhaps where the low ABV hurts it.

There are elements of this whisky I love, the interplay of the robust grain and plasticine notes with that of the sherried oak. Airing out the bottle helped bring some definition to the palate but ultimately I’m still unsure how I feel about this whisky. It’s certainly well crafted and while I’m curious about the cask strength version, I’m not certain the higher proof would fix my qualms with it. Perhaps that short finish?

Interesting. Great review of course but interesting in that someone recently wrote highly of the same expression and I was wondering if the 12 and 12 CS had thew same 1-2 punch as the Benromach 10 and 10/100. Now I will definitely try before I buy

It's not about giving up. It's about the fact that we have a finite number of dams to drink so we ought to make everyone as good as possible.

@Megawatt

Nose: Mmm, sweet, fruity with juicy grape, some citrus peel, backed by a smooth, oaky character. Very nice.

Taste: medium-bodied, quite oaky with the sweetness leading into heavier spices. The character veers between citrus-fruity and chocolatey-rich. Mid-palate you get that hard, coppery kick that is unique to pure pot still whiskies. Subtle, but with tons of character.

Finish: oak-dominant, but not without some sweetness. On the short side.

Balance: everything works with this dram. From start to finish, a pleasant drinking experience, easy enough to keep you coming back but bold enough to make things interesting. As Irish whiskey goes, it doesn't get much better.

@Megawatt Yes it is a great whisky. Have you ever tried the Redbreast 12 yo cask strength? Or the Redbreast 15 yo? They are great drams too.

I agree, the 12 CS is definitely one of the 15 malts among my top 5.

F

This is the one that truly made me fall for whiskey and start drinking it seriously. This review is the Cask Strength edition (58.6%).

Nose: For me I get an initial hint of jerky that is quickly replaced with peeled bananas and citrus. There's a pleasant mixture of tangerines with a dash of lime. Overall a very nice and perfumy aroma full of fruit.

Taste: This whiskey is VERY soft in the mouth (that's the triple distillation). It is exceedingly sweet but not in a sugary way. Fruit takes the lead and is with lines of grain and oak interlaced throughout. Vanilla is present but only as a soft base line.

Finish: This is quite full bodied and the finish isn't overly long but that is because it is so exceedingly smooth. Even without water and at such a high ABV%, this is no problem to drink neat.

Overall: This is a great whiskey. It's so smooth it's actually hard to drink it slowly enough to pick out different flavors.

@Uisgebetha

Redbreast is Jameson’s brand of pure Irish pot still whiskey. The quality is consistent with their other products, although this seems to have got pricey of late which is disappointing, the 15 year old version even more so than this.

How to described pot still flavours/aromas? They don’t lend themselves to easy description, and blended Irish whiskies tend to be heavily influenced by them which is a problem when constructing a review. I liken pot still flavours to a combination of boiled cabbage, soap and petrol, but that makes it seem deeply unpleasant, it’s not, as most people who’ve drunk Irish whiskey know.

Lovely soft aroma of pot still characteristics with some barley malt and a variety of fruit. I get hints of melon, apples and even some mango. On the palate there is an ocean of pot still flavours complimented by some honey sweetness, fruit and barley again and some clove like spice. The finish is of medium length more bittersweet with that clove flavour continuing to mix with the white fruit flavours.

c

Redbreast 12-year single pot still Irish Whiskey is triple distilled and matured in the finest oak casks for not less than 12 years. I purchased this for St. Patrick's Day in 2012 as it was the only unblended Irish whiskey in the place, which after doing some follow-up research, was not surprising (Green Spot's the only other single pot still that comes to mind).

Colour is probably irrelevant since I suspect it's aided, no clue if the Irish chill filter but I don't see why they wouldn't.

The nose is certainly different from what I've generally experienced with single malt. I would say spice and green wood are the two main notes. Nutmeg, pine, freshness, orange peel emerges. It's a lighter nose and not overly compelling to me.

On the tongue it is sweeter and fruitier than the nose would have suggested. Spices, and also some sour citrus notes and a bit of salt. Some sherry as well, but married with the spices, salt, and citrus, it is not able to dominate as sometimes happens with single malts. Tasty stuff. The oak asserts itself in the finish, which is a bit bitter. At 80 proof it could use a little more muscle but it can still warm you up.

This was a real bargain when I picked it up, at $45 in Ontario. The price is now about $70, representing a 50% mark-up in two years. That's probably still a good deal relative to what single malts are currently doing, but even at that I don't think I'll be doubling down on the 12-year old. I note the 15-year is bottled at 46% and there is also a 12-year cask strength; these could really be something. So it will probably be one of those next, if anything.

@Belleville

We are writing our reviews together so the review below is a mix of all ours.

Au nez, vanille et caramel (toffee) chaud sont au rendez-vous. Fleurs séchées (dry flowers). Vieille prune à l'eau de vie(plum)

En bouche, notes de fleur (flowers) et de malt, avec épices (spices).Chocolat (cacao), miel (honey), de fleurs et de pêche brulée ("burned" peach).

Final : aigre (sour), épices et sucré en même temps (sweet and spicy in the same time)

@talexander

Redbreast is a long-standing Irish brand, dating back to 1903 when Gilbey's, a wine merchant, marketed their Jameson distillate as Redbreast due to the reddish colour imparted by Gilbey's maturation in sherry casks (which they had in abundance.) Irish Distillers have kept the brand alive, altering the recipe and shifting it to a single pot still recipe, distilled at Midleton. Redbreast has grown in stature and importance mostly through simple word-of-mouth. The 12 Year Old is a mixture of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks from Jerez (I believe Oloroso.)

Also, my math has been off - my original "Four Days To St. Paddy's Day" review of Teeling should have read "Three Days To St. Paddy's Day" and of course, "Two Days" for the following two Kilbeggan posts. I have no excuse for this moronic oversight.

The colour is a rich coppery reddish-gold. On the nose, juicy barley, rich sherry, rum-raisin, baked apples and cinnamon. Cadbury Fruit-And-Nut. Water brings out tropical fruit, malt and minty notes.

On the palate, more fruity pastry with cayenne pepper. Black liquorice, macadamia and 70% dark chocolate. Mouth-wateringly delicious, with rock solid pot-still character. Water makes everything a little spicier and even more chocolatey.

The finish is meaty, sherried, luscious, and mouth-watering, with late-arriving grape and dark chocolate. I've had this before (at an Irish pub many years ago) and it is no surprise to me that my rating is exemplary. Irish pot still is one of my favourite whiskey expressions (I share this love with Jim Murray, who scores this a 96) I scored the 15 Year Old a 90, and I score this even higher (then again, if I tasted them side-by-side, who knows what I might score? But alas, that is impossible as my father chugged the last of my 15 Year Old before I could even muster a protest.) My tasting notes above may be simple (due to it being almost midnight) but they are no less exemplary. I'm tasting this side-by-side with two other Midleton offerings: Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old (which I scored an 87 in November), a blend whose pot still character shines through, though with a little more balsamic and spice; and the 2009 Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, a darker, more robust blend which features more spice and port-pipe richness with that clean, sharp pot still character. These three side-by-sides reinforce my feeling that Irish whiskey is not appropriately appreciated by most of the whisky connoisseurs I know.

I accidentally hit "enter" and didn't type my tags. This may not interest you but: Nose - Sherry, Apples, Cinnamon. Body: Rich, Luscious. Palate: Chocolate, Spice, Pepper.

@talexander: Love this stuff....I'm a sucker for raisins...Cadbury fruit and nut, yep. I have a bottle that has been opened for three years+; still just as good as the 1st day.

@cheeserandyburg

"Time for something different" was the motto and Redbreast 12 was the choice.

Nose: Massive, rich and complex. Fresh licorice, hints of orange & citrus. Pungent fruit with dry bananas.

Palate: Creamy, chewy, syrupy, rounded, delicate arrival with loads of lustrous creamy warmth. A soft bite and woody dryness follows throughout.

Finish: Spicy, warm, and thick. Despite its faintness and soft-shy nature, it lasts quite some time.

With water, gets creamier on the nose and palate, sweeter (much sweeter) and nutty.

Conclusion: Go out and buy it. This is a down right winner. Doesn't try to imitate, instead, defines itself.

Time for a 2nd glass! :)

@conorrob

SO I've been looking forward to cracking this bottle open for quite a while. Its been sitting on my shelf for four months glaring at me... willing me to open it and give it a try. Unfortunately I had purchased it specifically for Christmas and so I have managed to resist its amber charm up until now. Being under two weeks till the big day I thought sod it !!

Nose: Wow.. the nose is all cream and treacle... the alcoholic twang that usually accompanies many great whiskies is smooth and mouth watering in this little Irish.

Palate: Immediately I get cream again. Even the texture is creamy.. coating the mouth entirely and allowing sweet sweet caramel to flower on my tongue. The warmth of the alcohol roasts the imaginary chestnuts that I could almost bite into. Elderberry? Definitely elderberry and heather. Full of character. Its an Irish floating coffee !!! 24!!

Finish: Short but sweet. No smoke here but the oily coating on my tastebuds warms them for a while. Heather is even more apparent while the sweetness of cream and caramel fades into the distance.

Plenty of punch with oodles of cream to help smooth out and hide any rough edges. Fantastic and so glad I waited !!!

Try to grab a cask strength from this one, it's wonderful:)

@tjb

The nose is sweet like chantilly cream and sherry trifle. Rich and thick and full of promise.

It is smooth and very creamy with vanilla, citrus, ripe fruits and sherry and a long finish.

What a great find. This is a bargain and to my mind and I really love it. If you haven't tried it, add it to your wish list now.

@johnkeating

I bought this bottle on a whim after hearing great things about it. After several sittings with it, I am very happy with my choice.

Before I begin, a reminder that I place different priorities on nose, taste, finish, and balance.

Redbreast is the Irish whiskey that I've tried seriously. After drinking many Canadian and Scottish spirits, the Redbreast's nose is unique. The nose presents a very breakfast cereal-like note. I am reminded of Cheerios. Further to that is various spices and very very subtle sour fruits; think lemons.

The taste surprised me, not because it was good or bad (it was quite good) but because it was almost completely different from the nose. There were still traces of cereal, but vanilla and brown sugar jumped out right away. Much to my surprise and delight, I also found just a hint of salt.

On the finish I noticed the flavours lingered throughout the medium length finish. It was also very creamy. Really interesting for a spirit.

I really liked Redbreast, and even though I am not overly experienced with Ireland's other offerings, I am confident saying this one is one of the best. My only criticism is that the whiskey is fragile. Water unlocks more flavour but much care is needed when adding it.

Nose 24/30 Taste 36/40 Finish 18/20 Balance 7/10

@PMessinger

Warm creamy spiced arival developes into a dried fruit sweet short finish.

Would you say this is the best of Irish whiskey? If not what would you recommend?

Thanks for your comment. I would say that this is my personnel favorite Irish whiskey. I have only had a few Irish expressions but this one is the best in my humble non expert opinion. :)

@Rantavahti

When thinking of Irish movies and Readbrest 12, The Commitments comes to my mind. Redbreast 12 years old is a product that has to be done with so much commitment, that it shows in the taste as well. I think this is a unique whiskey and a nice exception from other fruity whiskies. Actually I don't even know how to categorize this one. Is it a spicy or a fruity one? Never mind, it tastes brilliant.

Only thing that bothered me was the finish. I'm not saying it was bad. On the contrary, the taste of the finish was good. It should have just taken a bit longer. Not just for the pure pleasure it was giving but because of the long and warming nose and taste as well. It would've been a suitable continuum.

I think this is a holiday whiskey. I could imagine myself buying this for next Christmas dinner. This surely is not a Bloody Sunday whiskey (wow, another Irish movie reference!) but a great Sunday whiskey. Well done!

Nose: Sweet and very warming. Bit fruity with the smell of apples. Vanilla and ginger on the background.

Taste: Creamy/syrupy body with the warmth continuing to grow. This has warming spices in a gentle way. Great mix of cinnamon, pepper and vanilla.

Finish: I wish it had lasted longer, that's how good it was. with a bigger finish this would've definitely been over 90 points. It has a nice combination of warming spices and fruits though.

Balance: I can't explain it well enough but this has a unique taste. Though I've tasted only two different types, I'm starting to believe the claims that this is Ireland's best whiskey. Creamy and easy to drink.

I had a bottle of Red Breast Cask Strength and honestly I can't see why it's supposed to be so good. The pepper and vanilla you mention were nearly non-existent in the cask strength version. I see the bottle you rated was a fairly low ABV at 40%. Maybe that's why it was better, but I bought the one Jim Murray recommended. Usually higher ABV makes the bottle more interesting to me in terms of flavor, at least with bourbon and scotch.

A bottle of Red Breast in Oregon costs $65. For $5 less, I could have bought a bottle of Booker's Small Batch Bourbon, one of the best bourbons available in the liquor stores here.

I would rate my Red Breast Cask Strength at about 58. I actually gave the last half of the bottle away, once I realized it wasn't going to improve that much. I just couldn't drink the stuff, even after two months had passed in the bottle with some air in there. And I didn't have the heart to mix it with soda water or ginger ale or something else to mask the flavor, since it was supposed to be so good.

Then again, I've never been much for Irish whiskies. I just don't see why people like the majority of Irish whiskies out there. Sure, you can buy extra special bottlings and agings and such from Irish distillers that are deliciously unique and fantastic, but most Irish whisky does very little for me. And I'm actually part Irish, so that's saying something since Ireland is a part of my heritage and I value that highly.

That's funny 'cause I always tend to take the one with lower ABV. I always screw up the taste when I try to pour some water on cask strengths...well, these are just a matter of different tastes and habits.

n

From sample-

Nose: Resinous sherry residue and lots of vanilla. Coconut and an almost grain-like sweetness. The fruit's there, but not over the top. Baked pears and apples, in cardamom infused whipped cream. Slightly sharp point in it somewhere between green apple and lemon. Keeps it rather fresh. Tannins?

Palate: Entry is really nice. This is cask strength? Honey, oatmealy, and vanilla, though the mid-palate falls apart with bitter wood. Definitely wood. The vanilla is rich and creamy, but the wood is too much for me.

Finish: The essence of the nose is still in there, but my palate is loaded with the wood, which subsides a little with time. Water helped and brought out more of the fruit, but it was a bit one-dimensional.

@UisgeJon

Following my fantastic 43 year old vintage, the owner of the pub got up and came back about five minutes later with two more drams for me. I was shocked. This was just way too much fun! He didn't tell me what they were. Nudging one of them in my direction he said "Okay, so this one's first. Tell me what you smell."

And off we went... what an experience!

Nose: Wow, like banana cream, nutmeg, hazelnut, caramel... what is this stuff? Talk about an awesome desert wine!

(At this point, he told me what I had - the Redbreast 12, an Irish Whiskey.)

Palate: Wow, this is great! Easy, approachable, something you could easily enjoy as a desert Whiskey if you were looking for something sweet. I found bisquit, caramel, more orchard fruits and banana, and an awesome maltiness comes through... easy, light yet sweet, and entirely enjoyable.

Finish: Smooth, lovely, more fruit and malt... that malt is fantastic.

Nothing too complex here at all, but just a good, easy, Irish Whiskey that would go great with a creamy desert.

Bought it based upon Jim Murray's suggestion. I hate my bottle. Too bad you don't live in Portland Oregon. I would give it to you free. I think it tuns too hot, as in burning. Gotta leave it in glass for 30 minutes to drink it. Then it's palatable. I just don't taste the nuances in this one. Call me crazy. Oh well. . .. Tried mixing it with Caol Ila. No dice. I've been serving it to friends who come over. They all seem to like it. Diff'rent strokes. When I tell them that it won Murray's award for Irish Whiskey, then they love it. Before, not so much. . . . BTW: you wrote "desert" as in a dry arid burning place in the sand. I agree with that sentiment! To me, it is a desert, rather than a dessert! Still, I found your review quite interesting. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Maybe I should leave a pour in my glass for 45 minutes. Never done that yet. I also paid $70+ dollars for my bottle. Not sure why. Most bottles of Red Breast are cheaper in Oregon, I think. It was a fluke or a mistake at the liquor store. Just my luck.

Well I'm sorry you don't enjoy your bottle. That's a bummer. Thanks for pointing out my typo. Writing on a tablet, those things happen from time to time. Oddly enough I actually do live in Portland! Strange.

m

I am somewhat new to whiskey and this will be my first review. I bought this bottle based on many of the reviews on this and other sites, and was not disappointed. I returned to the bottle over a few days to get a whiff of it and grow accustomed to it.

Nose: Dried fruits and spices; vanilla, raisins, apricot (dried), ginger, almond

Body: Medium bodied; creamy, balanced

Palette: Starts sweet and fruity with a slight tartness; some malt, fall harvest fruits, vanilla. Then a bit of pepper and warmth with a non-resiny bittnerness.

Finish: Fading mild spice leaves a relatively long but gentle breads and maybe a little nutty.

Overall: It is not a BIG flavor whiskey, more gentle, but I really enjoyed this whiskey and it is more complex than I initially thought. It is very sweet, all holiday spice and dried fruit on the nose, but not as sweet on the palette as I expected it to be (it should be noted that I’m a little more used to bourbon). My wife laughed as I nosed this thing for hours, I love the smell. I also enjoyed the very creamy well balanced body and the finish, though not strong, lingered a long time with a lovely flavor like that of a light yeasty bread, but not an ultra sweet one. Very nice and well balanced Irish pot still, perfect for the oncoming winter.

@MaltySD

What can I say that hasn't already been said about this tasty whiskey. Sweet, brown sugar, honey goodness all rapped up together in this creamy, fruity delight! Only wish the happy ending lasted a little longer!

@WhiskyBee

Nearly two years into my single-malt journey, and you'd think I'd have ventured into the homeland of my mother (the Kelly side of the family) by now. Outside of the occasional taste of a Bushmills or Jameson, this is my first close encounter with an Irish whisky, and I now regret waiting so long.

Redbreast 12 yo is rich, layered, and flavorful, as well as one of the easiest-drinking whiskies I've tried. The old Irish proverb I chose for the title of this review may have been coined by a Redbreast drinker.

Nose: All that's sweet, creamy, and syrupy. Honey, caramel, vanilla, marshmallows, nougat, brown sugar...you name it, it's here. Yet there's also wonderful balance with some sour and bitter notes that add a deep richness and keep things from being too sticky-sweet. Marvelous.

Palate: Something to please every taste bud. Exactly what the nose led me to believe. Some hints of bourbon without the peppery bitterness. A touch of nuttiness (almonds?), a pinch of salt, and a dry finish keep the sweetness in check. As balanced as a ballet dancer on a tightrope.

As a half-Irishman, I've always worn the green proudly. And now I'll be drinkin' the Red(breast) heartily!

Sounds great. I just noticed there is also a cask strength bottling of this.

Thx for the good review

@Victor

The reviewed bottle has been open for two years and is 1/2 full.

Nose: lots of vanilla, light citrus from tart barley, high pitched wood flavours, sweet but understated in its sweetness

Taste: all of the nose flavurs translate well onto the palate. This is sweeter on the palate than in the nose, and also more so now that the bottle has oxidised a good bit. The tart lemon-tasting unmalted "pot still" barley component gives a nice edge

Finish: rich, sharp, and rather long finish, richer still and longer still with some oxidation

Balance: this is a well put-together whiskey which is for me much admired as it is to many others. "Balance" here is mostly between sharp unmalted and sweet and rounded malted barley. This is a relatively narrow range of flavours presented here, with a lot of high and middle notes and without much bass from either wood or grain. Within that world it is very nice indeed

Now for the Cheshire Cat part: the Cat tended to appear and at other times fade away into the background. My observation here is that Redbreast 12, because of its peculiar flavours, relatively narrow range of flavours, and 40% ABV concentration, is best consumed on a very clean palate to be appreciated

I have had Redbreast 12 in the company of others whiskeys and found its flavours to sometimes nearly disappear. So my advise here to get maximum satisfaction from Redbreast 12 is to drink it alone, or first in the queue

c

I love this Irish Whiskey. it is a great everyday/everynight Irish Whiskey to drink. I get in locally for around $50.00 USD. It is very pleasant, smooth and has a great amber color. I recommend that everyone try this and you will fall in love with it.

@galg

Nose: Sweet and spicy Very rich thick vanilla, golden syrup. Some rye notes too and Tangerines. A really different and interesting nose on this one. Full of character, and a great specimen this is. Palate: Spicy heaven then off to sweeter sherry. Down to cocoa powder. Nuts and toffee, some cake too, the spongy type, with hints of citrus inside. Finish: Bitter sweet,Double espresso with toffee going a long way.

This is perhaps the best Irish whisky you can get your hands on today. most definitely at that price range (There are some others but at three times or more the price of this one). It’s really unique, full of character, a lovely nose and palate, with power, finesse and roundness. Highly recommended at that price, offers amazing bang for your buck ratio.

If you like whisk(e)y, this wee dram should be on your whiskey shelf.

@Matthieu

Drunk Neat.

This is my first Irish whiskey. It is also my first triple distilled, pot-still whiskey.

Nose: I could just keep my nose in that glass and be content with it. It is a big smell: fruity and spicy, with vanilla in the background. It smells of comfort and warmth.

Taste: Creamy! That's the first thought as it hits the tongue and sloshes through the mouth. Unlike the nose, there's no big tastes at first, but the sweet spiciness of cinnamon starts to tingle the tongue as the whiskey warms.

Finish: The spiciness and fruitiness strike first, then are replaced by vanilla from the oak, before it too gives way to a warmth that goes on and on. It's a very comforting finish.

Balance: A tad on the spicy side, but the creaminess and the warmth helps balance the lot.

All-in-all a great comforting whiskey, and at $44 in Québec, a good deal. Will I buy it again? Yes, it's going to be my standard Irish whiskey and a great way to introduce newcomers.

Matthieu: Congrats on joining the crowd of Redbreast lovers who are helping fund the recent Irish Distillers expansion at the Midleton's location :-)

What the hell? I bought a bottle of Redbreast 12 at 44$ CAD in 2012 and now it's 75.50$! That's nearly double the price.

@dbk

Unlike malt whiskey, ‘pure pot still’ whiskey is distilled from a mash containing both malted and unmalted barley. Pure pot still whiskey came about as a method of reducing the taxable portion of whiskey (and beer) production attributable to using malted barley, which was subject to the British malt tax of 1692. There are currently four brands of pure pot still Irish whiskey on the market: Green Spot (which I reviewed here: connosr.com/reviews/mitchell-and-son/…) and Redbreast, which have been around for some time, and now Midleton and Powers, all produced by Irish Distillers (Midleton). Despite the long history of pure pot still whiskey (including the age of the name itself), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in the United States has recently required that the ‘pure’ modifier be removed from the labels, so Americans (and perhaps others) may see these whiskeys advertised as ‘single pot still’ whiskey instead.

The nose on the Redbreast 12 year-old has notes of sour apples, vanilla, white wine, permanent marker, banana custard, and pencil shavings, with hints of butterscotch and confectioner’s sugar.

The palate is oily, with a sweetness that turns to mild astringency. It begins with vanilla and becomes slightly chalky before a touch of dry, white wine enters the mix. Then notes of menthol and plums appear. The finish is beautifully tropical, ripe with pineapple and mango.

This is a treat of a whiskey: flavourful, complex, easy-drinking, and ‘moreish.’ It is also a great value, commanding a substantially lower price than many of its competitors.

@Dellnola

Nose: Sweet malt, marshmallows, lemon meringue, pie crusts, plenty of vanilla. Soft spoken and gentle.

Taste: Dry and tart arrival. Quite different from the nose. Lemons, barley, and a gentle sweetness like whipped cream. Light as a feather.

Finish: Some meringue cookies with soft vanilla and malt.

This is an easy and gentle one and that is what makes it good. I love how approachable it is. It's a great sipping whiskey when you don't feel like dissecting every little thing.

My favorite Irish whisky hands down and one of my top 5 all around whiskies as well. The bottle I bought on St. Paddy's Day this past year didn't even come close to seeing 2012. Loads of flavor, yet smooth enough to draw a crowd.

@jfpilon

The Redbreast 12 years of age. A Pure Pot Still Irish whose distiller's beer contains a mixture of malted and unmalted barley. And is what leads the way: this blonde barley, mild and sweet, succulent and mouth watering just like good bread.

A nose of grain, of white and red flowers (I often see colors when I taste) and a hint of esters. So, just with the nose you can see the expertise with which the master distiller creates his mashbill and chooses his yeasts and his cut. I also found hints of vanilla and fruit, which makes me think that both barrels of bourbon and of sherry were used to mature the distillate.

On the palate, the malt sugar dukes it out with the wood in the opening bars. Then the cherry and the cherry stones appears followed by vanilla and dried fruits.

With a little water, green notes comes to the mouth: mint, basil and bay leaves. Fresh tobacco leaves. Wow, it's well done.

Another Irish hit too well hidden, it goes perfectly with the music of the Pogues: strong and sharp but also sweet and soft. The best whiskey under $ 45 and one of the best under $ 100. In the top 10 all around.

For fans of Crangganmore or Clynelish . Also resembles the forty creek barrel select . De, light, ful.

@WTC

Redbreast is a pure potstill whisky, meaning it is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley and is distilled in a potstill. It is in our new grains tasting. Dominic says "After three gentle runs on the lower slopes this is grain on the slalom course, its complex flavours whipping back and forth at a different speed and with a different intensity to the three grains which have gone before it. This has an intense and more savoury aspect to it, and there are sour apples among the sweet ones. The influence of the wood makes this the lean older brother to the puppy fat youngsters which have gone before."

Combined notes and scores Nose: Big hit of toffee, green fruits and wood. Slightly coffee-ish. Taste: Red and green fruits and toffee. Nicely balanced. Finish: Quite rich, spiciness gives it structure.

@tabendar

I had a taste of this wonderful Irish single malt. Medium bodied with tastes of sherry and malt. Hints of honey and spice were also there with a low level of peaty-ness that I enjoy. Great bottle of Irish whisky if you are searching for something and are a hard-core Jameson drinker...

m

My first sip was a little disappointing. I expected a rush of flavors and instead was met with the stringency of alcohol and a slight dirt taste. I also wanted to be met with a sweetness I am so fond of in my sipping Bourbons. Not wanting to brush past a whisky so highly regarded by others I gave it another shot.

I was pleasantly surprised with my decision. The heat of the alcohol was replaced by a welcomed warmth seconds after my swallow. The dirt taste was no longer there and the vanilla and tastes of wood casks rushed to the front. Closing my eyes I could almost picture the casks eagerly waiting for their twelfth birthday. This whisky was smooth and easy to drink, once my palate grew accustomed. There's a slight floral quality to each sip, but I'm not able to place the source.

Sip this one over a few ice cubes and don't be afraid to have a second dram.

Funny thing, sometimes our palate changes. It can happen the opposite way as well, and I find that especially with scotch single malts. I bought a Glenfarclas 15 year recently, and it was sublime on the first tasting. Couple of days later, I took a couple of sips and poured the rest back into the bottle! I always find as well, that the second sip at any particular tasting is the one to judge by. The first time I tried Jameson Original, I had your experience. It was at home, and I couldn't even drink the glass empty. Later, on a visit to a local restaurant, I had one after dinner, then a second one - a double! After that, I have had it often. That is also one reason I don't really like to sample things in bars before I buy. If I do some research, on websites such as this, 99% of the time what I buy does not disappoint. I had a couple of Jameson Original today while I was out at a bar. Now, after I get home, I am having a couple of Jameson Special Reserve 12 year. The Original was great, but this 12 year is tasting like pure nectar! Goes to show, you just never know how your taste buds will react on any given day! Cheers, Carl

I have also had different experiences with the same whiskies. But some things can be controlled, so as not to waste the whisky. Such as, not eating before tasting, and priming the palate with some other, maybe cheaper, spirits before tasting something interesting. If you indeed prefer a dram after a meal, perhaps take a small sip first, to see if it is going to work.

@rwbenjey

Somewhat assaults the nose with a typical alcoholic shock, but moves towards the grain. Hits the palate with warm vanilla and wood and ends with the bitter signature that comes with the Irish whiskeys and certain bourbons. There is also a hint of fresh grass on the finish.

@hypersimian

Nose: Clean and pleasant. Like falling into a pile of freshly-cut alfalfa hay. Body: Light and fresh. I challenge a whisky-phobe to find something to complain about with this stuff. Palate: The gentle caress of fine silk on the tongue. This is a whiskey that is deceptively great. It's not trying to be a big, bold, knock your socks off and curl your toenails "Be A Man! I Dare You To Try Me!" Whisky. This stuff is as welcome and comforting as a sunny day in the middle of January. Although I'm such a newbie, I can definitely recognize the world-class quality of a whiskey like this.

One of the best whiskies in my modest collection. I've gotten one confirmed wine drinker to order (and pay for) his second glass of this stuff after I treated him to the first one. I'm still waiting to open my bottle of the 15 year old. I don't know what the situation is in Europe, but if Redbreast did more marketing in the States and Japan, it could give every other Irish brand a run for the money.

I guess when I wrote this review (my first) I was considering the ratings to be a "Best Of Class" type of thing, like a dog show or some other livestock competition.

Do I that Redbreast is a World-Class Whisky? Yes. Of all the Irish whiskies I've tried, this is tied for first place along with Green Spot. The other Irish whiskies that I've sample have all had their charms (with the exception of the bottom-of-the-line Powers), most of them are damn good and a few are truly incredible. Redbreast and Green Spot are just the Kings of the Irish Whisky Mountain as far I'm concerned. Of course that may change if I get a chance to try some of the new Irish whiskies I've been hearing about but haven't found yet.

Do I think that Redbreast is "Best In The World"? I don't think that is valid question for me at this point in my whiskey "career", if ever. I've tasted some great scotches, bourbons, ryes and Japanese whiskies since I've started this hobby. I'm not going to compare great porterhouse steak to an incredible plate of bar-b-que pork ribs. Can't be done, or it can't be done fairly.

I realize that I'm a newbie and that there are people here with far more experience and knowledge than me. I'll accept your suggestions and advice. But if and when I write another review, I'm sticking with the "Best Of Class" type of review, not a "Best Of Everything" kind or review.

Good review, and good comments ... and I pretty much agree with everyone. Just tried a dramlet (1/4 oz) of my Redbreast, and yes, it is one of the very top-shelf Irish whiskies: smooth, light, creamy, no smoke, and bourbon-like w/lovely flavors of vanilla and butterscotch. The best part is the lingering & delicious bourbon fragrance of the empty glass ... you don't find this with most scotch.

Since bourbon or scotch drinkers are accustomed to bigger & bolder flavors, they may likely not appreciate the lighter sophistication of Redbreast.

And, since there are few review guidelines herein, the review often expresses the honest opinion of the reviewer, at the current snapshot in time, regardless of experience. I would have no problem with a 9.5 score for Redbreast in the Irish category, or in the Light Whisk(e)y category. I would have to think about what exactly "best in the world" really means (and to whom) ... but I'll hold back for now :-)

@TheCasks

Along with Green Spot 8 Year Old Irish Whiskey, Redbreast is a rare, true pure pot still. Distilled from both malted and un-malted barley, Redbreast is aged for at least 12 years in sherry and bourbon casks.

The Nose: A wonderful heat, ripe orange, a little baked fruit...apple cobbler maybe, vanilla and caramel. I might be imagining a faint whiff of sweet pipe smoke as well. There's a rye-like zing that is really mouthwatering. The pot still gives it a sharpness and a quickness. You know from the moment you put your nose in the glass that this is a strong, lively whiskey.

The Palate: Great, smooth, viscous mouth-feel. A faint wisp of wet stone...then, strength. A baked sweetness and malt notes fly everywhere doing their sharp rye imitation again only to swell into a huge, rich peppery mid-palate blow-up, replete with vanilla, burnt sugar and a faint touch of fruit.

The Finish: Long and strong, that peppery-ness dances on the tongue while all the other flavors march past in a jumbled parade.

Thoughts: For my money, this is the best Irish Whiskey out there. The pot still quality really sets it apart from its Coffey Still-addled brethren. It's a strong, insistent, incredibly well-balanced, raucous dram. Not to be missed or missing from your cabinet.

I had the pleasure of having a dram of this irish gem yesterday in a bar. I absolutely loved it. It was quite interesting to notice how the whisky has a marked sherry nose while towards the finish it disguises itself as a bourbon. Chameleonlike.

Aye it is a glorious Irish whiskey, a highly appreciated bottle on my shelf.

@markjedi1

I purchased this bottle during a dinner at my local whisky restaurant. I love Irish dram!

The nose is a true fruit basket: a mixture of pear, banana and apricots, suffused with honey and an overdose of vanilla. You can even taste a little crispy read pepper in the background.

The body is oily and the whisky remains very fruity on the palate, primarily apricots and a little bit of coconut.

The finish is somewhat spicy, but the pears and honey dominate, accompanied by some nutmeg.

Very good whisky, indeed, and I hear the 15 Year Old is even better. Can’t wait!

Just wondering. You posted a score here of 71, but when another re viewer rated it a 78 you say that you would have rated this dram higher? Even this review gives me the suggestion that you like this dram much more than a 71 rating would indicate. I personally think this whiskey is closer to the average score of 85. Just wondering. I do enjoy your reviews and Utube videos. Jonesz

Hi Jonesz, you are referring to a tasting note by WhiskyNotes, which I commented on in 2009, while this review I wrote myself was done 6 months afterwards. Could be either batch variation or a type. I honestly cannot remember (it was over three years ago). I will have a Redbreast Youtube video soon for this one, so we will find out soon enough :-)

@DoubleWood

Nose: clean and slightly sweet

Body: well-rounded, not overwhelming in character. Unable to taste any distinct flavors.

Palate: the mellow taste makes you think that you will be rewarded to a nice finish. This is not the case, this whiskey is an extremely disappointing finish. Then again, this is a pure pot still. With only two distilleries producing pure pot still, if your looking for a "straight-tasting" whiskey, this is it.

@WhiskyNotes

Nose: creamy and fruity. Pear, banana and peach, with a layer of sweet honey. A bit of marzipan. Very rich vanilla pudding. Fresh cake and hints of sherry. Slightly waxy. Some red pepper in the distance. Mouth: oily mouth-feel, fruity again (cassis, strawberry). Coconut with peach. Gingery notes as well. Finish: growing spicier with hints of liquorice. Pears and honey. Quite some nutmeg, and a slightly winey aftertaste.

Couldn't have said it better, although I never tasted the tad of marzipan (but that's probably me). Also, I would rate this whisky a little higher, but again, that's a personal thought. One of my fav whiskies, this is.

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