An Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey from Redbreast is always a certainty to receive a “cask driven” whiskey, starting in ex-Bourbon casks for a number of years before being recasked into ex-Sherry casks for another year or two, three before they are bottled. From cask #41207, a surprise 10cl sample at cask strength that was delivered to WhiskySpeller HQ, and it is no different in that matter – it was transferred into an ex-Sherry cask in 2011 after spending its first years in ex-Bourbon casks, since October 10, 1985. Quite some time for Irish whiskeys to spend in wood, and we were among the 100 lucky ones worldwide to receive the generous sample and join Billy Leighton himself in a live Facebook video-tasting, where we were guided through all the details about the cask.
46.7% abv, € not for sale (yet?)
single pot still
Nose: a thick nose of warm spiced wine with hints of cinnamon, laurel and fresh menthol notes. A sweet whiff of creme brûlée and candied ginger, with a strong presence of vanilla and candied ginger. Gingerbread with large chunks of stone fruits and figs, make it a pleasant, nasal experience.
Palate: rather quickly, the mouth feel turns semi-try to reveal a lot of sharp cinnamon and allspice notes. When the hotness dissipates, the sweeter notes of blood oranges and thick, juicy plums get out in the open, together with figs and sweet blueberries and cherries. A touch of star anise and liquorice introduce a pleasing menthol in the back of the throat upon swallowing.
Finish: Long and fresh menthol stuffed liquorice go hand in hand with sweet cranberries and sweet (very ripe) gooseberries. An initial, rough tannine note dissipate into nothingness over time.
Conclusion: Surprised by the arrival of the package and the age of its contents, this is by far one of the most unique Single Pot Still whiskeys I have ever encountered. 31 years of age, and with only a small amount distributed to the lucky few, leaving most of the contents still in the cask where it has spent the last few years maturing into what she, the whiskey, has become today. I believe there should not be a reason not to bottle this and share it with the rest of the world as a great example of where Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey is today, in the place it has always belonged and never really left; at the top of the world, wearing her unique, flavorful and spicy coat, distinguishing herself as one to take into account, never again to be ignored or left alone.