Whiskey Review: Redbreast 12

A lot of people don’t know what whiskey is.

Oh no, I mean I know people understand that whiskey is hard liquor and have probably had it in some way: be it by a mixed drink or be it by shot. We all have had Jack Daniels, Glenlivet, Jameson, or Wild Turkey at some time. But what many people don’t understand is that all of those are whiskey.

Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey are a type of whiskey; bourbon.

Glenlivet is a type of whiskey; scotch.

Jameson is a type of whiskey; Irish. This is the genre I will be reviewing today.

Our friends in Ireland have been making whiskey for as long as the the rolling hills o’Erin have been green as emeralds. And they have been doing it very well.

The problem is that there are not as many Irish whiskies anymore. Since the Great Potato Famine, many of the distilleries had to shut down. Many did not reopen.

But luckily for us, more and more are getting resurrected. And what is even luckier for us is that Jameson; a distillery that owns many Irish labels, is still alive and kicking as we speak.

And their best seller? Well, Jameson….duh.

But their best seller as a single pot? Redbreast 12.

So what is single pot? Well, it is a style of Irish whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot (a uniquely Irish thing) still. This is like a single malt Scotch whiskey, the style was defined by its inclusion of unmalted raw barley in the mash in addition to malt.

Why is it the best seller? Because it is very good, that’s why.

Enough with the background, let’s taste it:

Nose: Butter biscuit and orange. A bit of honey and cereal, but those light citrus tones are the main event on the scent.

Taste: Oh so smooth and dry. So well rounded and subtle, it is like drinking not-whiskey. It is creamy with orange tones, sweet without being like candy, rich, vanilla notes, and just plain savory. There is a lot going on in this one dram, so to catch even more of the tastes, you have to pay attention.

Finish: Medium. It slowly fades away in the sunset, but does leave a savory umami note that makes you want more. I am not sure if the reason I want more is due to this taste or just because I love the taste.

Overall, this is the best lower budget Irish you can get. Now by lower level, I am talking about $50-60, so not too cheap. But it is definietly worth the extra $15 over Jameson. If you want to get even fancier, you can nab the Redbreast 15, which has all those good tastes in 12 but at a higher volume. If you get a raise, you can delve into the 21; some say the best whiskey around under $300 (it is around $250). But in the meantime, start with the 12. You won’t be disappointed.

Warning: if you start with a stronger whiskey like a bourbon or a peated scotch, that my destroy the subtlety of the Redbreast. So either start your night with the one or clear your palette before enjoying this one.