Touch of the Irish. Redbreast 15 Year Old.
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
With monks distilling whiskey as early as the 1100's AD, Irish whiskey predates scotch whisky production. Mainstream Irish whiskey is often viewed as a refined, triple distilled product for those with a more delicate palette, but it was not always that way. Back in the mid 1800's the more robust 'Irish pot whiskey' was the most popular whiskey in the world, but due to economic, political and commercial reasons the Irish whiskey industry declined and had almost disappeared by the mid 20th century.
However, a turnaround was triggered by the consolidation of a few remaining distillers under the new name of Irish Distillers in 1966 and the subsequent construction of the modern New Midleton distillery, completed in 1975. Irish whiskey is still riding the wave of this renaissance with over 30 operating distilleries and more to come.
The old 'Single Pot Whiskey' style is now promoted as the luxury segment of the modern Irish Whiskey portfolio and is led by the Redbreast and Spot ranges, both produced by Irish Distillers (now a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard) at New Midleton. As the name suggests, the whiskey has to be distilled in a traditional 'Pot Still' using a batch process. More importantly, perhaps, is that the mash is not the 100% malted barley of a single malt whisky, but a mixture of malted and un-malted barley. The un-malted barley tends to add a bit of a bite with some spices and a richer, heavier feel.
Lets taste the Midleton 15 year old Single Pot Whiskey.
Basics: I can find no 'official confirmation' but rumor has it as a 50-50 malted / un-malted barley mash blend. Matured for 15 years in a mix of first fill and refilled oak casks, (origins of these casks is unclear) and bottled without chill filtering. ABV = 46%, 15 years old, $80/750ml bottle.
Bottle: Is it me or is the bottle shape suspiciously like a pot still (?)
Color: Deep Copper: 1.0 (Whisky Magazine Scale)
Swirl: Looks medium viscosity, with well defined but thin rim and average sized ‘legs’ running quickly down the glass.
Nose: Quite strong, with wood aromas, some baked goods, and berries in the background. Very traditional and much as expected. Comforting.
Taste: Orchard fruits and shortbread sweetness, a little brown sugar with hints of baking spices. Some restrained wood tannins kick in, keeping it balanced. Wonderfully mellow as the heat develops slowly but firmly, reminding you that this is an Irish whiskey. Delicious.
Finish: The taste profile fades, leaving a medium/long cereal based finish on the tongue.
Verdict: Really pleasant. A very fine, easy going, full flavored, quality Irish whiskey. Bit of a bargain at the price.
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