You voted for an absolute corker this week, which meant Jess got to taste the delicious Redbreast 21 Year Old. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it, right?

This week our Whisky of the Week was all about Irish whiskey. So I guess it should be Whiskey of the Week really, but you know what I’m talking about. Redbreast 21 Year Old came out on top, which meant I got to sip on this gorgeous single pot still whiskey. 

This is one of the oldest releases from Redbreast, first released in 2013. Produced from a combination of malted and unmalted barley, it’s then aged in a mixture of bourbon barrels and first-fill oloroso sherry casks. With over two decades of maturation under its belt, it’s no surprise that this is a decadent, complex whiskey. 

The Redbreast story

Redbreast’s story starts with the wine and spirits merchants Gilbeys, founded in London in 1857 and expanded into Dublin in the 1860s. As an importer of sherry Gilbeys worked with John Jameson & Son which was distilling at Bow Street in Dublin, supplying the distillery with sherry casks to rest the Irish pot still whiskey in. This whiskey was then bottled under a variety of different names.

The Redbreast name didn’t appear until 1912 however, referring to the robin redbreast attributed to the current chairman of Gilbeys who had a fascination and love of birds. Though the Bow Street distillery closed in the summer of 1971, Redbreast is now made at the well-loved Midleton Distillery, now owned by Irish Distillers Ltd.

Jess’ Redbreast 21 Year Old tasting review

Nose: It’s immediately quite sweet, with these lovely rich notes of toffee, sticky ginger cake in there, and backing it all up is this quite mature woodiness, like a polished oak.

Palate: The fruit comes through again, but it’s more tart this time, almost like a cranberry. The sweetness becomes a little mellow – it’s more like vanilla and gentle caramel. and on the finish

Finish: The spices return, but they’re much drier, with dry baking spices now rather than the stickier spices we have in the nose as well as more of that fruitiness, but the fruit is a little sweeter now – more like a homemade jam.