Redbreast 21 Year Old

Redbreast 21 Year Old - Lifestyle Image

Redbreast is best! Or at least that is what I always say when it comes to Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Ever since I tried the Redbreast Cask Strength 12yo I have been well and truly smitten with all of their releases. Excellent news then when I was invited along to the launch of the new Redbreast 21 year old release.

Master Hoban has only recently returned from the new home of Redbreast at the recently revamped Midleton distillery, which can now produce in excess of 60 million litres of whiskey a year. About 20 million of that is pure Irish pot still whiskey used for Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Paddy Powers, Jameson and Redbreast (read about Hoban’s trip here and here). Redbreast 21 year old is the latest in the Redbreast family, carefully chosen by Master Blender Billy Leighton to fit in with its current siblings the 12yo, 12yo Cask Strength and the 15yo. Billy, drawing on his 38 years of experience with the company, was tasked with finding the next age statement whiskey in the range, and so the 21 year old was born. He was present at the launch, in the trendy surroundings of Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous Restaurant in London, to answer any questions we may have about the spirit. His words are best used to sum-up the thoughts behind this release:

“Redbreast 21 year old is a very special Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and one of which I am immensely proud. Once my team and I tasted the Redbreast 21 year old whiskey, there was never any question about whether we should release a younger expression – the older whiskey showed such stunning levels of depth, flavour and taste.”

Redbreast 21 Year Old Whiskey

As he was talking you could tell this was a man who loved his whiskey. He was very interested in maintaining the DNA of the Redbreast family and we were offered the chance to try the Redbreast 21 year old beside the other three expressions. The 12 yo cask strength has long been my favourite, I just love the rich, spicy fruit notes, apple strudel, vanilla, ginger, and this theme does develop across the range. Does Redbreast 21 year old match up? Lets find out!

Redbreast 21 year old is Pure Irish Pot Still Whiskey, meaning a mash of malted and unmalted barley and triple distilled in copper pot stills. The spirit is then matured in both American bourbon barrels and first fill Oloroso sherry casks for a minimum of 21 years, I believe Billy said that there is whiskey up to 28 years old in the mix though. It is then bottled non-chill filtered at 46% ABV, which is about as strong as they could realistically make it at that age. Genuinely the most excited I had been to try a new whiskey for a while, let’s see how it fared…

Redbreast 21 Year Old Whiskey

Redbreast 21 Year Old
Non-chill filtered
46% ABV
€180 available this week

Nose: Fresh exotic fruits hit the nose immediately, pineapple being dominant. Crisp dried berries, caramel, spiced apple and ginger. Pineapple upside down cake!

Palate: Wow, Billy has really done his work. The beautiful apple strudel note from younger expressions is there with a bit more spice. A very herbal menthol note is present, in fact it could be the most menthol-y whiskey I have tried. All rounded off with dried apricot and a mature sherried, nutty and leather note.

Finish: Long, and vibrant, the exotic fruit notes are tangy and spicy and the rich dried fruits are still there.

Overall: This is excellent. It gets better and better every time I try it, there is always something new and exciting to find in the Redbreast 21 year old. Being able to try it side-by-side with the younger expressions, and with Billy Leighton, made the experience even more interesting as you can really see the development of Redbreast from the 12 to 21 year old. The rich, fruity and spicy notes that are in the 12 and 15 are even more developed in the 21 and fit very well with the strong menthol and the drier, mature leather notes.

Drinking it whilst eating a Wakamomo (baby Japanese peach) from Dabbous was one of the greatest taste experiences I have encountered, and got me and Jake from Master of Malt into a massive geek/pleasure fueled fit of excitement. The Redbreast 21 year old is brilliant, it may even topple the 12 year old Cask Strength as my favourite Irish Pot Still Whiskey. Try it!

The amazing wakamomos @ Dabbous in London, perfect with Redbreast 21 year old


Graeme Gardiner


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