Redbreast Dream Cask Ruby Port Edition

Redbreast header article

It’s a bit like Christmas, isn’t it, the launch of the next Redbreast Dream Cask? The release happens once a year – usually to mark World Whisky Day in mid-May – I can barely sleep the night before, and when it does arrive, the parcel is hand delivered by a slightly rotund, ruddy-faced chap in a red uniform (my local Royal Mail postman). Redbreast launched the first Dream Cask expression in 2018, which, I should mention, was right up there as my top whisk(e)y of that year; a 32yo single pot still whiskey finished in a first fill oloroso sherry butt. They then followed that up last year with a 20yo single pot still whiskey finished in a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt.

This year‘s Dream Cask came about whilst Redbreast Master Blender Billy Leighton and the team were tinkering with the liquid for Redbreast 27yo, the oldest permanent expression in the range, which itself was released just few, short, pre-lockdown months ago. 2020’s Dream Cask contains single pot still whiskey from a couple of bourbon barrels, an oloroso sherry butt, and a ruby port cask all aged 28 years or older. The liquid from these casks was then vatted together and married for 15 weeks in that aforementioned port pipe.

The full cask make up is:
Cask 1: a 1989 vintage ex-bourbon barrel which was re-casked into a ruby port pipe in 1995.
Cask 2: a 1991 vintage which was matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Cask 3: a 1991 vintage which was matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Cask 4: a 1991 vintage ex-bourbon barrel which was re-casked into an oloroso sherry butt in 2011.

Leighton commented: “It’s more than three decades since my predecessors went to the Douro Valley and hand selected the cask which would become Redbreast Dream Cask 2020. I’m delighted to be able to share its creation with whiskey lovers around the world. Our third Dream Cask was created with a very significant fortified wine component. This imparts a unique balance of flavours, with less vanilla sweetness and more fleshy fruits that are associated with port.”

Blender Dave McCabe said: “Because a Dream Cask is not constrained by volume, we have great licence to select a unique expression with a bold flavour which couldn’t be replicated in a permanent offering. Thankfully, Billy and I were in absolute agreement that this was the right time to release this year’s Dream Cask.”

If you’ve read my previous pieces on the 2018 and 2019 releases here and here, you’ll understand why I’m so hyped to taste this Dream Cask. Let’s not waste any more time then.

Redbreast Dream Cask Ruby Port Edition
28 years old
Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
915 bottles
51.5% ABV
€490 via ballot here (opens May 25th)

Nose: Bursts out the glass with all manner of juicy fruits – melons in syrup, cooked pineapple, banana fondant, orange and cherry blossoms, pink grapefruit, and apricot. There’s sugared almonds, coconut husk, and nutmeg too, with rich syrupy notes underneath; cherry liqueur, brambles, sweet vermouth, a syrup of figs. There’s also a real herbal edge, with thyme, caraway, and dill.

Palate: Top notes of pink marshmallow, blood orange, charred pineapple, toasted coconut, and vanilla pods. Then the richer notes power through, with dark cherry chocolate, faint molasses, rum soaked raisins, blackberry, and plum jam. Cinnamon, cardamom seeds, and a touch of coriander seeds are complemented by firm, juicy oak.

Finish: Antique furniture, boot polish, walnut, and chewy oak linger.

Overall: Utterly brilliant. No no, I mean UTTERLY BRILLIANT. I’m already a huge proponent of the regular Redbreast range, and if you look more widely at the Irish Distillers portfolio, I’m also a fan of the Spot range, and the well-known Jameson blended whiskey range. These Dream Casks really are right at the top of single pot still Irish whiskey, much like the Midleton Very Rare range sits rightfully on the throne at the top of the blended Irish whiskey tree. If you have nigh on 500 Euro to drop on a bottle of Irish whiskey, make sure it’s this one. If you’re not already a member of Redbreast’s online community, The Birdhouse, sign yourself up and enter the ballot. I implore you.




Leave a Reply

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

Book us for a tasting

Book Us For A Tasting! Looking for a whisky tasting experience? Look no further! We've hosted thousands of tastings catering for all budgets and themes. Let us tailor a bespoke whisky experience for you - click here or drop us a line now at!

Connect with us

Find us on Facebook!    Follow us on Twitter!    Follow us on Instagram!    Connect with me on LinkedIn!    Subscribe to us on YouTube!    Email us!   

Judging honours & awards

Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year 2020            World Whiskies Awards Judge Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Judge         Independent Bottlers Challenge JudgeJudge Global Scotch Masters Judge           Scottish Whisky Awards Judge EWA Certificate                    EWA Diploma