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KCM Spirit Reviews

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review 150: Redbreast 12 Yr

Review 150
Redbreast 12 Year Pot Still: 40% abv

Background: Redbreast is another whiskey out of Ireland, but the whiskey comes from the Midleton pot stills in Cork. Now recall that in Scotch whiskey, all single malt scotch is aged in pot stills, whereas Irish whiskey can be produced in column stills which are a faster and cleaner process. This isn’t considered a great think to some, because grain whiskey (produced in column stills) tends to lack certain flavor that they strive for in Scottish distilleries. So when you see an Irish whiskey that is pot stilled, you can assume it to have a much different character than your traditional blended whiskeys you buy for $20 or so. The second thing we’d like to emphasize is that Irish whiskey uses malted and unmalted barley in production. Malted barley is taxed differently in Ireland, so the Irish found out that they could get favorable results out of a mixture of barleys by triple distilling their whiskey, instead of double distilling like is done in Scotland. This saved money and also produced a smooth, unique spirit that stood out from Scotch. Redbreast, triple distilled in pot stills, represents one of these whiskeys that checks all the boxes, although we are still frustrated with the abv being at 40%. Maybe a more craft presentation will come forth with time. 

Nose: Oaky, honey, barley, wheat, acidic white wine, graham crackers, cinnamon, floral rose notes, slight hints of rough alcohol (nail polish)
            A/W: creamy, oaky, slight solvent notes, lemon candy, grape
Arrival: Soft, grainy, vanilla, slight spice
            A/W: No significant change
Body: Vanilla, oak, spice, hot cinnamon, ginger
            A/W: Tart, citrus, sugar, rock candy, more creamy, balanced
Finish: Lemon candy, charred oak (ashy, slight roasted nuts), berry, ginger, heather honey, cinnamon, caramel
A/W: Citrus, more herbal, vegetal

Final Comments: Redbreast jumps ahead of the other Irish whiskies in the game, simply because it is a more complex alternative to the blends. It is characteristically Irish because it is a clean, fresh tasting whiskey, with that traditional Irish taste to it. You can certainly suggest that Irish whiskey is easy to spot out of a crowd, and this isn’t an exception. We struggle to see why we are paying $50-$60 for a spirit at 40% abv, but that doesn’t take a lot from the whiskey. This isn’t the most complex whiskey, and compared to a lot of Single Malt Scotches, it frankly doesn’t hold a candle to them. Still, it could be worth your consideration this holiday season.

Why you’d buy it: You want an upgrade from the basic Irish whiskey choices

Why you wouldn’t: You want something that will shake your foundation.

Score: 8.75/10

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