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Redbreast 15 Year Old

Average score from 7 reviews and 20 ratings 87

Redbreast 15 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Redbreast
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 15 year old

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Redbreast 15 Year Old

The last time I put the Redbreast 2015 on the lips, dates back to 2010. Today the same whiskey is in the glass, but admittedly from a more recent bottling, namely 2019.

The nose is a panoply of apples. Really, you can discover different species, but the dominant species is the Granny Smith. Some pepper and cinnamon on top and we have the essence. In the background some caramel and vanilla and a relatively firm spiciness (as I can actually expect from pot still).

It is nice and creamy on the tongue (and in that sense a big step up from the 12-year-old) and in addition to the fruit and caramel, I get a lot of honey and a cartload of spices here. Nutmeg, hint of cloves but especially a lot of pepper. And it works. Delicious whiskey.

In the finish it becomes drier, but it remains sufficiently juicy and fruity to resist the tannin.

This is a really good Irish whiskey. And worth its price tag from 90 to 100 EUR. Thanks again, Benny!


Apologies if this review is longer than usual.

I'm a history teacher by trade. Since I majored in history, I tend to be "that guy" any time I read historical fiction or watch a period drama on tv or on the big screen. I can suspend my disbelief most of the time and enjoy a "creative" telling of a historical event, such as the Zack Snyder fantasy-action film 300. I don't have the time or energy to outline all the historical inaccuracies in Braveheart or Kingdom of Heaven here, but I suppose we shouldn't be looking to Hollywood for history lessons.

Queen Elizabeth I has been represented many times on film, and I think the most accurate representation of her temperament and personality was Dame Judi Dench's portrayal in Shakespeare In Love. While many viewers might prefer Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth or Elizabeth: The Golden Age, historians have criticized the two films starring Blanchett for portraying the Tudor queen as flighty or easily manipulated by the men around her. Hint: she wasn't. Elizabeth was intelligent, clever, insightful, witty, and had a fiery temper. Most of her contemporaries couldn't predict her actions or her intentions, much less control them.

I've found the same type of phenomenon in discussions with fans of Redbreast. Just about everyone seems to adore Redbreast 12 Year Old, but fewer appreciate Redbreast's 15 Year Old expression. I've heard all kinds of reasons for this preference, from the price difference (which is fair) to the difference in flavour profiles. Some have said Redbreast 15 isn't as smooth as Redbreast 12, but if you know me at all, you'll know that smooth isn't something I look for in a whiskey. In fact, when someone describes a whiskey as smooth, I'm hesitant to buy it. Water is smooth; whiskey should let you know you're drinking something stronger. Calling a whiskey smooth is akin to telling me I have a great personality: you may think it's a compliment, but it's not really something I want to hear. And in the case of my "great personality" it's also completely untrue.

Redbreast 15 Year Old is bottled at a higher abv than Redbreast 12, which might explain why the latter is more popular. The 15 Year Old is bottled at 46% abv, it is chill-filtered, and has added caramel colouring. I wish it was presented unchill-filtered and at its natural colour, but I won't let those details prevent me from buying a whiskey.

Tasting Notes

March 4 2020 Neat from a Brilliant Highland Glass

  • Nose: classic Single Pot Still spiciness, herbal, Thai lime leaves (for real, I promise), orange zest, figs, brown sugar, a touch of butter
  • Palate: rich and oily, dark fruits (figs, raisins, and plums), a bit peppery, becoming a touch waxy, hard caramel candies
  • Finish: long and warming, more dark fruits, cinnamon, caramel sauce, a touch of citrus returning, perhaps a hint of high quality, fruity olive oil. The tail end keeps the sweetness from becoming cloying. Wonderful.
  • Initial Rating: 91/100

April 24 Neat from a Canadian Glencairn

  • Nose: spicy with pepper and cloves, herbal, oranges, figs, toffee, butter
  • Palate: rich and full-bodied, creamy texture, dark fruit (figs, dates), flax seeds, caramel, a touch of cinnamon, a bit of fennel, black pepper
  • Finish: long and warming, with caramel, butter, cinnamon, some citrus near the very end, and then a pleasant touch of orange zest bitterness (Very subtle)
  • Final Rating: 91/100

All subsequent tastings revealed similar notes. This bottle didn't really change much with time and air exposure. I can safely say that I've never tasted a Redbreast I didn't enjoy. While many enthusiasts prefer Redbreast 12 Year Old, I prefer the 15 Year expression. It may not be as easily accessible as the 12 Year, but the 15 Year's vigour and complexity are better suited to my palate. I suppose you could say Redbreast 15 is Dame Judi Dench's Elizabeth whereas Redbreast 12 is Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth. Both have their charms, but I prefer the more fiery presentation.

  • Would I accept a glass of this if someone offered me one? Without a doubt
  • Would I order this in a bar or pub? Yes
  • Would I buy another bottle? Only if I could get it at a better price than it goes for in Ontario.

@OdysseusUnbound given a choice between a bottle of Rebreast 15 or the 12CS. Which would you go for?

And $65-70 USD is an outstanding price for Redbreast 15. Obviously in the UK we're a lot closer to Ireland than the US and Canada and the price in the UK has consistently been around £70-75 which is roughly $90 USD for a few years now.

@OdysseusUnbound - I might this my next Redbreast purchase. This and the 21 look very tempting.


I have to make it clear right from the start, this dram is much better than The Boondock Sainst movie. Redbreast 15YO has complexity and it strikes with force especially in the finish – a mobster movie comes to mind immediately. And of course it has to be an Irish mobster movie.

After experiencing the 12YO, my expectations were high of course. High hopes were also well filled. Redbreast 15YO is stunning. It has everything you need from a good whisk(e)y: complexity, character, sophistication.

Nose: Dry citrus notes start the show with some red grapefruits and dash of sherry. The sherry notes get stronger with time. Bit sugary, black currant is present. Water adds dark fruits and notes of hay.

Taste: Starts with bitter notes. Dry and sweet sherry with dried fruits. Reminds sweet red wine a little bit. Water brings fresh, yet bitter grapefruits and hints of dark chocolate.

Finish: Bitter and peppery. Very, very fresh – like Fisherman’s Friend. Amazing salty and sweet licorice notes along with some sherry notes. Purely amazing this finish and aftertaste, full 25 points.

Balance: Nicely in balance with a gorgeous finish. Rich whiskey, which starts with good aromas and gets better in every step. Great Irish Single Pot Still whiskey!


I recently reviewed the Redbreast 12 Cask Strength and it was days before I could get it out of my mind. It was so insanely good.

I had a bottle of it's 15 year old older brother lying around as well and so tonight I decided to give it a whirl. Given the fact that I was positively giddy over the 12 Cask Strength you can imagine my anticipation at trying out the 15 year old.

Distilled using the legendary Irish method of employing a mix of malted and un-malted barley and then triple distilling in copper stills. This method produces a unique spirit known as Pure Pot Still Whiskey. And Midleton Distillery, where Redbreast is made, are masters of this craft.

Which is why this whiskey is a bit of a disappointment for me. Not that it's horrendous but when it follows on the trail of the 12 year old Cask Strength it is average at best.

Matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks the spirit is bottled at 46%.

Nose: My glass was left covered for over 20 minutes to allow all the aromas to accumulate. The first nose was quite sour. Tamarind water. Light soy sauce. Let it breathe and the grains come through next. Barley. Gets sweeter over time. Warm honey. Toffe. Berries. Dark chocolate. Spicy next with clove and other spices. Almond husk. Oils. Not my favorite nose. The sourness threw me off.

Palate: Feels grainy. Quite sweet and fruity. Hard boiled sweets. Apricots. Peaches. Oily. The berries are back. So is the fennel and the clove. With hints of oak. The flavors are quite unique but they're not really doing it for me for some reason.

Finish: Long. Oily. With a hint of bitter oak.

This is drinkable and some might even say enjoyable. I have no arguments on that. Is it gorgeous like it's 12 year old sibling?


@MaltActivist, thanks for your review.

I'd much rather drink both Redbreast 12 Cask Strength and standard Redbreast 12 than Redbreast 15.

For me this is one of those whiskies which features mainly flavours from old re-used wood. Not a preferred profile for me. Others in this category are Jameson 18 and Glenmorangie 18. None of these is undrinkable. They are ok. But I'll likely never buy a bottle of any of these three. I like them less than the younger expressions from those same distilleries, PLUS, these three are much more expensive than those younger more vibrant whiskies from those same distilleries.

@Victor I seem to have stumbled upon a good batch of the Glenmorangie 18 at a recent tasting prompting me to pick up a couple of bottles. I thought it was quite nice. Not sure if our tastes are different or if there's some major batch variance.

But yes I agree that many a time the younger expressions are much much better - Glenlivet 15 French Oak and the Glenlivet 16 CS much better for me than the 18, 21 and a XXV that I had tried.

Glenfiddich 18 possibly better than the 30 or maybe just as good. Just some of the examples that spring mind.


This afternoon at the office, I poured my second of three Irish whiskies I'll be reviewing over the next couple of days. I've always wanted to try this one, as I had never had a pure pot still Irish whiskey before.

I'm sure glad I did! It's colour is a light honey colour, somewhat oily in the glass. Nose is an amazingly subtle mix of toffee, lemon meringue, nutmeg, tropical fruit and also apples, vanilla, and plum pudding. The more I inhale, the more fruits come through.

In the mouth it turns into Christmas cake with candied cherries, but there is some heat on the tip of the tongue that overpowers it a little, and water does little to tame that down. Oaky but not overpoweringly so. More spices (cloves) and malty notes in the mouth. Oily mouthfeel, which I really like.

The finish is long and hot, and a little metallic. Nicely balanced between the smoothness of triple distillation and the rawness of a pot still. Puts it somewhere between an Irish blend and a single malt Scotch - but it is unmistakably Irish. I really enjoy this and am very eager to try the 12 year old. This was a big hit in the office as well!

Great Review,Tom: Pretty much as I found it with my emphasis on 'silky smooth'! Expensive here; Haven't seen the Cask Strength but by the Aussie pricing standard I would, probably, have to sell a kidney to get one.


@A'bunadhman, it is silky smooth. I have a bottle of the 12 year old, which is also pretty great! I don't expect to see the cask strength, nor the 21 year old, here in Ontario any time soon. Planning a trip to Ireland with my girlfriend in 2015…good thing she loves Irish whiskey!


This is my review of the 2009/2010 version.

Nose: starts in a flatter way, the fresh grapefruit and tropical fruitiness of the 2005 edition is almost gone. More cereals, more dust, more toffee. Camomile? Quite rubbery as well. Hints of nougat. After a while, fruit confit comes through, but very restrained.

Mouth: basically the same differences: more spices (gingerbread, cardamom), less fruit (some bramble maybe). The stunning clarity of the 2005 release doesn’t repeat itself in this 2009 version. More green, vegetal notes.

Finish: medium length with hints of gooseberry and hints of vanilla.

In comparison, it fails to live up to the standard set by the previous (2005) edition.

Full review and comparison between the two versions: whiskynotes.be/2010/world/…

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