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Redbreast 15-year-old single pot still whiskey, 46% ABV
Star rating: 5/5
Redbreast is a respected brand in Irish whiskey and is now the biggest-selling single pot still whiskey in the world.
Their 15-year-old is a pure pot still whiskey. It’s a blend of malted and unmalted barley and is triple distilled. Like the name suggests, the whiskey has been aged for a minimum of 15 years, and it doesn’t go through chill-filtering before bottling.
On the eye, it’s a rich deep copper. On the nose, it has a full, almost viscous air, with honeyed malt, intense spices, dried fruit and gentle woody notes that fades into creamy vanilla.
On the palate, the interplay of honey, spice, fruit and wood notes carry on, held aloft by that oily, coating mouthfeel.
There’s a slightly savoury restraint to the whiskey that holds back the richness from getting too sweet, and then the finish is long, cinnamon outlasting the other spices and leather and tobacco joining the wood, with a rich toffee underneath.
Redbreast originated with the wine merchants, W&A Gilbey, whose Dublin branch stored and sold Jameson whiskey from the 1860s, aging them in the store’s emptied sherry barrels, before bottling it under their own label.
Redbreast more or less defines single pot still whiskey for a lot of people, and the 15-year-old adds complexity and heft to an already impressive 12-year-old. While it is indisputably a great whiskey on its own terms, if you have a hankering for rich, sherried Speysides, then a snifter of this gives you many fascinating parallels to explore.
The perfect pour
Water opens it up, giving the constituent parts more space without wiping them out, especially the toffee, which also gains a buttery smoothness. It does also accentuate a slight bitterness before the finish.
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