When I tell people about my love for whisky, they often presume that I must mean Scotch. Now, don’t get me wrong: a good chunk of my all-time favourite drams come from Scotland. But I always tell those who are inquisitive about this site that it I really try to take a look at as many whiskies as possible and, in doing so, have found some serious gems elsewhere.
One of the countries that falls into my firm favourites is Ireland. And of those that I’ve tried, I’m consistently pleased with those products coming out of the Midleton distillery. You’ll have to wait until the end of this year to find out my top drams of 2013, but I can confidently say at least one of those will be from Ireland.
Of those products that are released from Midleton – which is the major distillery based just outside of Cork in southeast Ireland, where Jameson is also made – one of my go-to drams has to be Redbreast. I use the 12 year old in the consumer whisky tastings I run and it always wows people.
So it was with unbridled excitement that I found out the company was going to be releasing a 21 year old to join its 12-year old, 12-year old cask strength and 15-year old editions.
As background, the 21 year old has been matured in a combination of ex-bourbon American oak casks and first fill Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at the fairly punchy strength of 46%. There’s no word yet as to how much it will cost in the UK but it’s retailing at $180 in US markets.
I was lucky enough to get a sample of this, so here are my thoughts on the latest release from this fabulous distillery.
Redbreast 21: 46%:
(c): Dark mustard
(n): At first, a wave of BBQd tropical fruits washes over me. Then it’s attack of the pineapples – ah, so many pineapples. Lovely, sticky, tinned, sweet pineapples. Ahem. Sorry. Where was I? Oh, right…guavas and melons edge their way in before some red currents come to join the party. This is my kinda dram.
(p): Oily, sticky, gooey – an amazing mouthfeel. And then…wow…just huge bursts of amazingness. You want me to be more specific? Okay…I’ll try to stop daydreaming about how much I love this. Vanilla dusted pineapples twirl away with blackcurrants, blueberries and pink peppercorns on a tropical dance floor before they all run away to splash in a dark fruit tea pool.
(f): I DON’T WANT IT TO FINISH!
Right, so…as you can probably figure out, I bloody well love this whiskey. I’m starting to discover as my journey goes on that tropical fruit laden drams seem to hit the right notes for me. Just the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, it’s a flavour profile I seriously enjoy. And this Redbreast 21 falls squarely in that corner. Happiness in a glass.