Tasting Notes by Rob Allanson for Whisky Magazine
Yellow bananas, dates and parma ham, warm copper, Christmas cake and a little sherry hit.
Big, dried fruit and aromatic spices. Jaffa cakes, fresh vanilla pods. Sweet creamy oak.
Warming and massively complex, a touch of butterscotch.
Serious stuff, actually just stunning and a very welcome addition to the growing pot still canon.
Tasting Notes by Gavin D Smith for Whisky Magazine
Oily, fruit cake mix, honey and sherry.
Mouth-coating, unctuous, with vanilla, rich spice, jaffa oranges and dried fruits.
Long and druity, with sherry, grain and ginger notes.
Redbreast is one of the world's great whiskeys. Delicious!
Tasting Notes by Tim FNose:
Rich sherry notes contributing lifted brown sugar notes to the familiar potstill porridgey-ness: this is why potstill and sherry work so well in my opinion. Freshly-polished oak – yes, it’s time to dust off the beloved ‘old church pews’ tasting note, which is never a bad thing. Develops raisin fudge, cocoa, cassis, honeyed oat bars, cake-icing, marzipan, macaroons; gets very syrupy and appley with a bit of time in the glass. I already know what the Forbes household will be drinking this Christmas.Palate:
A burst of oak, then the porridge and raisins muscle in. Big and full-bodied with the wood staying in the foreground…but what wood! Lasting notes of bitter chocolate, coffee, burnt oat biscuits, blackcurrant lozenges and milky bran flakes add complexity. Concentrated raisin syrup, yet less sweet than the nose would suggest, but it’s by no means soft or flabby – there’s a real edge here, with plenty of welcome flinty minerality and oaky astringency to keep the tastebuds alert.Finish:
Dry, long, some bitterness; blackcurrant leaf and quite upfront bitey oakspices. This is not a bad thing, in fact it just increases the urge to refill the glass.Comments:
Challenging in places and perhaps not for everyone, but I confess that this is dangerously close to my favourite Irish whiskey ever, maybe even my perfect Irish dram. People approaching Irish whiskey for the first time should probably start elsewhere; for lovers of the style, this is a new benchmark and, in this blogger’s opinion, deserving of a place in the pantheon alongside the first edition 15yo.
Tasting Notes by BillyNose:
Sweet spicy sponge cake, soft vanilla sugar, sugar dusted raisins, marzipan, good milk chocolate, butter and grape skins.Palate:
Not as sweet as the nose but big, oily and rich with a nice fieryness. Bitter, tannic wood runs down the sides of the tongue, and sour red grape and raisins dominate the middle with some dark fruit liqueur, grown-up fruit cake, fruity dark chocolate and a bit of olive oil. Water adds more spice and vanilla, and highlights the vine fruit, but it stays well away from syrupy sweetness.Finish:
Not all that long, with blackberry leaves hanging around after liquorice & blackcurrant sweets and toasted almonds fade away.Comments:
Reminiscent of obscenely sherried whisky but without being the over the top – it somehow manages to balance the sherry fruit and spice with the more delicate vanilla end of its flavour profile. A drop of water doesn’t turn it into regular Redbreast but keeps it big and spicy while keeping the fruit and light waxiness of the regular strength 12.
Tasting Notes by Cigar Aficionado
APPEARANCE: Light, almost Champagne color, with nimble legs that seem as though they’ll never drizzle down.
NOSE: Not a particularly informative aroma, slightly floral with honey and pear, but then…
PALATE: ...when it hits the tongue it opens up in wondrous ways. The fruit quotient burgeons, bringing on peaches, currents, berries and grapes. The honey searches out the roof of the month and becomes slightly spicy. Also flavors of ginger, cinnamon, graham cracker, toffee and even some cocoa arise. The high proof gives it a slight burn—which is welcome especially for lovers of Bourbon who appreciate a good bite.
FINISH: The bite lingers a bit on the tongue and then dissipates to reveal even more honey and graham cracker. The next act is a fruit encore before the finish slowly fades. At this point rise and give it a standing ovation.
Tasting Notes by Whisky ApostleNose:
Fig newtons, bananas foster, and candied caramel apples right out of the bottle. In the glass vanilla and fresh cut wood come out but the alcohol is a little overpowering.Palate:
Oily and spicy in the mouth with a little lime zest. With water is gets a little sweeter, even more so than the regular Redbreast 12 Year Old.Finish:
Spicy and grainy initially. As you would expect from cask strength whiskey it’s pretty hot on the finish. With water the finish is a lovely interplay of peppery spice, buttery sweetness, and a touch of wood.Comments:
I was skeptical. I admit it. I’m not one of those guys riding the cask strength wave in all things whiskey. I enjoy a lot of bourbons at higher proofs but when it comes to scotch and especially Irish whiskey I tend find it too delicate to get much from the higher proof beyond more alcohol for your coin. If it’s possible this dram has changed my religion. This is a richer, fuller, more fragrant and tasty representation of Redbreast. When I tried the 15 Year Old I mistook some of my displeasure for the additional proof rather than it just not being as good as the 12 Year Old. This is an amazing Irish whiskey that everyone should experience.Rating:
Tasting Notes by Dominic Roskrow for Whisky Advocate
In a normal year, any one of the six Irish whiskeys released in 2011 could have staked a claim as Irish whiskey of the year. But 2011 wasn’t normal, not least because in a normal year it’s not likely there would have been six releases in total, let alone six potential award-winning contenders. Unsurprisingly, given the last decade or so, Cooley was never far from the headlines, and the company bookended the year with Kilbeggan 18 year old and Greenore 18 year old at the beginning of it, and Connemara Bog Oak toward the end.
But it was the stunning triple whammy of single pot still whiskeys from Irish Distillers in between that provided the greatest surprise in a generation for the Irish whiskey category. All three were wonderful, but it was the last of them, the cask strength version of the much-loved 12 year old Redbreast, that carried off the honors.
A rich, bittersweet plummy, red berry, oaky-spiced delight, the increased strength gives an already great whiskey a richer, fuller, fruitier dimension, and makes an already complex whiskey…even more complex. For me that makes it not just the best Irish whiskey of this year, but of any. An utter joy.