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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?