Distillery/Brand: Redbreast | Region: Ireland | ABV: 46% | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 21 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 86
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. Toffee. 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?
Distillery/Brand: Redbreast | Region: Ireland | ABV: 57.7% | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 24 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 95
Oh yes! These are the moments you wait for. When simply bringing the glass to your nose gets your pulse racing because you know if it smells this good it’s going to taste even better!
Irish whiskies are making a huge comeback of late. I read some where that for the first time since 1930 the US consumes more Irish whisky than Scotch whisky. Quite a remarkable statistic that.
Must be all those awards they’ve been picking up in the last year or so. This cask strength liquid gold being one of them.
Owned by Irish Distillers this cask strength version is basically their standard 12 (which is bottled at 40%) but with more bite.
While matured almost exclusively in Oloroso casks it does not allow the sherry to overpower. Instead it maintains a firm grasp on the integrity of the spirit.
This style of whiskey is now exclusive only to the Irish and is known as Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (by law). This basically means that a combination of malted and un-malted barley is used in the production process and the spirit is triple distilled in a single pot still.
Nose: Absolutely gorgeous. Very sweet. Almost winey. But has a pinch of salt too. Honey on pink lemon. Love hearts. Nectarines on top of vanilla sponge cake. Ripe figs and unripe bananas covered in sweet lime. This one renders you almost speechless.
Palate: Lots of spicy citrus. The same honey on melon but now with a dash of oaky cinnamon. All of this against a backdrop of soft fruits expertly complementing the spices.
Finish: Arrives late but when it does it stays. The fruits are back. So are the spices.
I know the Scots and the Irish are always arguing over who invented whisky. I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know who just might end up doing a better job.
Distillery/Brand: Teeling | Region: Ireland | ABV: 46% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 94
I don’t know a hell of a lot of about Teeling Irish Whiskey. Actually I don’t know a hell of a lot about Irish Whiskey either. And I sure as hell do not know much about grain whiskey let alone single grain whiskey.
So I was very intrigued when I found out that an Irish Single Grain had been making quite a bit of noise of late by winning the World Whisky Awards Best Grain Whiskey.
What’s interesting is that most grain whiskies are blended but this one is a single grain – meaning it’s from the same distillery. What is even more interesting is that it’s spent pretty much all it’s life in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon casks (which would explain the reddish hue when you hold it up to the light).
Teeling refuse to tell me how old it is and, frankly, I don’t think you need to care. And what I really like is the $65USD price tag on this whiskey which is a pleasant contrast to exorbitant NAS expressions of late. And for that I will give it an extra point (not that it needs it!).
Nose: This one makes you wait. Almost teasing you because you can feel there’s something special hidden down there but it’s not ready to present itself yet. Twenty minutes later it’s resolve weakens and it starts to open up. Very sweet vanilla and black pepper with hints of fresh coconut shavings. Followed by butterscotch on brown cereal and finely chopped almonds. Wait a bit longer for red grapes, apples and creme brulee with a hint of cigar leaf. The aromas are delicately layered on top of one another in near perfect harmony.
Palate: One of the great deliveries of late. Unlike the nose the spirit pounces on your palate in a dizzying tumble of flavors. First the apples and walnuts layered in expertly between soft slices of banana bread drizzled with a winey nectar. Almost sherry like. The grapes are back (both red and green) accompanied by a strong dark cinnamon & licorice dusted with cocoa powder.
Finish: Restrained at first but boisterous after a bit. Pinging the mouth with chocolate and mocha prickles.
This expression has such an exotic flavor I’m not sure how to describe it. It takes you totally by surprise. What ever these guys are doing with those Californian Cabernet Sauvignon casks they’re on to something.