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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.