Ask any fan of Irish whiskey to recommend their favourite drop, and there’s a good chance they’ll mention Redbreast. It’s a delightfully fresh and smooth whiskey that’s accessible and easy to enjoy, yet full of complex flavour. This particular bottling is the classic – some might say definitive – 12 Year Single Pot Still version.
Redbreast 12 Yeae Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is one of the many whiskeys produced by Midleton in County Cork, a renowned distillery with a history dating back to the 17th century. Although there are many brands under the Midleton umbrella, such as Green Spot and Yellow Spot, Redbreast in particular has become synonymous with excellence in the realm of Single Pot Still Whiskey.
What is Single Pot Still Whiskey?
Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is a unique and distinct expression within the world of whiskey, offering a rich heritage, a meticulous production process, and a flavour profile that sets it apart from other spirits.
Originating from the green hills of Ireland, Single Pot Still Whiskey is deeply rooted in the country’s whiskey-making tradition. You won’t find this style of whiskey production in Scotland, the USA or anywhere else – it is uniquely and exclusively Irish.
The key to Single Pot Still Whiskey lies in its carefully chosen ingredients. Unlike most other styles of whiskey, which typically feature only malted barley, Single Pot Still also contains fresh, unmalted barley.This imparts a silky texture and a touch of fresh, spicy, fruity flavour to the final product. This combination, coupled with soft, pure Irish water, contributes to a whiskey that is simultaneously robust and smooth.
Crafting Single Pot Still Whiskey is a labour-intensive process which is steeped in tradition, but nevertheless open to innovation. The term “pot still” refers to the type of still used in the distillation process – an enormous copper pot. Like most Irish whiskeys – and unlike those from elsewhere – Redbreast is distilled three times in these copper pot stills. This painstaking process is key to the characteristic smoothness and approachability that Irish whiskey in general is known for, and Redbreast in particular is loved for.
The maturation process adds another layer of refinement. Redbreast 12 Year is aged in a succession of casks, starting with bourbon casks imported from the USA, followed by American oak, and finally Spanish oak butts which have been used for Oloroso sherry. Each of these barrels imparts their own characteristics on the whiskey, resulting in a complex mix of vanilla, oak and dried fruits, and a beautiful golden colour. Cosmopolitan, yet uniquely Irish.
So what does all this mean for the flavour? Single Pot Still Whiskey is known for its balanced and nuanced flavor profile. The profile of Redbreast 12 Year is often described as full-bodied and robust. On the nose, you may detect aromas of tropical fruits, nuts, and a subtle hint of spice. On the palate, you’ll encounter a harmonious blend of sweet and spicy notes. Think of honeyed malt, complemented by hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and a touch of orchard fruits. The finish is long-lasting, with lingering notes of toasted oak and a gentle warmth. The mouthfeel is often described as creamy, owing to the unmalted barley.