Tag Archive: Red Breast


Red Breast: Cask Strength 12: 2018 Edition (Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey: 12 Year: 58.2% ABV)

Visual: Bright honeyed gold, streaks come down as a thick sheet.

Nose: Dried apricot. Vanilla. Honey. Green grapes. Sultanas. Thick and smooth. Shredded wheat. Smoke wisp. Water makes more gentle. Touch of liquorice. Golden syrup sponge.

Body: Honey. Warming alcohol. Apricot. Plums. Mince pies. Water adds oats and muesli. Lots of honey. Buttery. Vanilla fudge.

Finish: Honey. Apricot. Vanilla toffee. Brandy cream. Fig rolls. Water makes a more spirity air. Buttery.

Conclusion: This is very rich and strong – as you may expect from a cask strength whiskey this has more alcohol weight that your average Red Breast, but thankfully still manages to come across fairly smooth. The flavours are pushed up a bit as well – fruity apricot notes matched with a huge amount of sherry influence, giving lots of dark fruit and brandy cream styled notes.

Neat it is intense and fruity, full bodied despite the smoothness. It has a tad too much alcohol, but generally great. I minorly prefer their exceptional Lustra Edition of Red Breast for overall balance and smoothness. This however has a weight and quality all of its own. Water makes it a little smoother, but with that it loses a lot of the range, weight and joy that makes it special. Still, it has a lot to offer even then – still lovely with crumpet like notes and toffee, more gentle sweetness and because of that more towards a standard 12 year Red Breast. Which is still good. However if you have gone to the effort of getting a Cask Strength I would guess you want that, otherwise you could just buy a standard edition.

So, if you want this, accept its weight and the alcohol that will come with it and all that comes with that. This is a rough edged gem if taken as it should be – neat – but gives you plenty in exchange.

Background: Uber whisky time again at Independent Spirit. I love these events, where you get to try some pretty rare whisky that would normally be prohibitively expensive by the dram. As always with events like these, it was a busy event, with talking and other people describing notes so I may have been influenced by that and my notes may be shorter and more incoherent than even normal.
Now this is something interesting as it is hard to find since Jim Murray labelled this batch, Batch B1-17, as best best Irish whiskey and best Irish pot still whiskey. As was pointed out at the tasting this year’s batch will be out soon at far more reasonable price and for far less cost (for a while at least). I’ve become a huge fan of Red Breast over the years, so this was a rare treat to check out.

Red Breast: Lustra Edition (Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey: 46% ABV)

Visual: Deep rich gold with fast, thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Brandy cream. Rich sherry. Pencil shavings. Warming alcohol. Brandy snaps. Honey. Spirit soaked raisins. Water makes lighter and citrus touched. Lime notes.

Body: Smooth, but warming. Honey and toffee. Sugared orange sweets. Madeira cake. Brandy cream. Custard slices. Spicy sherry. Fig rolls. Sweet chocolate liqueur. Water adds soft lime, soft orange and lot of caramel.

Finish: Fudge. Spicy sherry. Madeira cake. Slight chocolate. Slight oak. Orange jelly sweets. Choc toffee. Spirit soaked raisins. Water makes much more chocolate and choc orange and brings out honey.

Conclusion: This is smooth, but so big! So sweet, but with spicy sherry keeping it grounded. It has so much of the Irish pot still whiskey mouthfeel evident, that lovely smooth but robust character, here expressed in a richer and fuller way than I have previously seen for a Red Breast.

Neat it is full of different spirity notes – brandy cream mixed with honey, and the time in a Oloroso sherry cask has given it lots of sweet and spicy sherry notes here. It very full on for such a smooth dram. Here, taken neat, I love it. Such a rewarding spirit flavour, with (again spirit soaked) dark fruit notes that feel like they belong to a heavier whiskey but are delivered so smooth,

With a touch of water this becomes even creamier – full of caramel and fudge notes. The honey notes that existed in the neat whiskey now is accompanied by a host of sweet notes to fight against the spirity character. Like this I love it! Smooth as silk, matching big sweetness and creaminess with everything that came before, just mellowed out. So very rewarding.

More water makes it lighter, allowing some of the more traditional Irish whiskey elements to come through – most notable some light and smooth citrus notes. Now all the elements are toned down for an easy drinking citrus, but still chocolate and sherry touched thing. Gentle orange notes mix in to bring out choc orange joy late on. So, yes, like this I love it.

Such a good whiskey all the way through. I recommend it without hesitation.

Background: Ok, first up – the background of the box describes this as having an “Endless” finish. I have tested this empirically and the finish has, as you may have guessed, ended. The lying toerags. Anyway, that aside, this is a version of the single pot still whiskey that has spent time in American and European oak before being moved into Lustra’s first fill Olorosso sherry casks. Been enjoying revisiting Red Breast recently so this very much caught my attention when I saw it in Independent Spirit. Was fairly warm again when I was drinking this. I hate the heat, so had fans on all around trying to keep the air moving. Went with Getter – Visceral for music while drinking.

Red Breast: 12 Year (Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey: 12 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Light banana skin to gold.

Viscosity: Generally very slow puckering that barely breaks into streaks.

Nose; Light ripe banana skins. Some alcohol prickle. Shredded wheat. Caramel. Pineapple. Water lightens the aroma.

Body: Still an alcohol touch. Pears in custard. Banana. The alcohol effect picks up over time. Water really mellows the fire and makes the flavour more malt and biscuits styled

Finish: Pear and malt chocolate. Apples. Smooth sheen. Water makes digestive biscuits come out and adds banoffee pie.

Conclusion: After visiting this one many a time I thought I had best review it.  Oddly this sampling found the whiskey the most flavoursome that I have ever tried it. How auspicious.

This has always seemed a slightly fiery whiskey when taken neat, so it took me a bit of time to unveil the flavours within. It isn’t badly burning, but there is a noticeable alcohol element. Water does a great job of dampening the fire, but it does remove some of the high points from the main body. The finish seems bullet proof though and works the best of the whole drink.

I’m getting ahead of myself again though aren’t I? This is a whiskey with a lovely feel, like banana skin. Coincidentally it has the flavour of banana as well which makes for a nice thematic touch. The whole thing is wrapped around a predominantly apple and pear body. In a way it makes me think of what St Georges Whisky may be like when it grows up – we can but see.

It has a good balance of texture and flavour, a lasting sweetness and good fruit elements. Despite the occasional fire it still feels dessert like, the alcoholics cheesecake perhaps.

With water it is very easy to drink and the banana touch complements the green fruit well. The combination givens the result of a thicker flavoured whisky than those elements would usually match. Despite that it never feels heavy; in fact at times the spirit feels like it could easily evaporate from your tongue. Overall a fine fresh whisky, light in feel but not in taste.

Background: Drunk at the Raven. This is part of my attempt to branch back out into Irish Whiskies after not giving them the attention they deserve for a while.  I had a bottle of this a while back and enjoyed it, and since The Raven do nicely over sized measures it seemed like a good time to revisit and see how it holds up to my memory. Investigating the term “Pot Still Whiskey” it seems that it is generally triple distilled but what makes it distinctly “pot still” is that does not use purely malted barley. Ok I copied that off wikipedia, but it hold up with what I had heard before so may not be a complete lie. The term seems odd as best I can tell Single Malt whisky uses pot stills the same as “Pot Still” whiskey so it seems a not overly useful descriptive term. Huh. Maybe I should look into it more.

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