Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Review

Prices within the Irish whiskey realm are a bit crazy at present no doubt inspired by the renaissance of Irish whiskey worldwide. It is the fastest growing premium spirits sector in the world at present and with the launch of brands old and new plus massive investment in new distilleries going on, it is fair to assume that this growth is likely to continue at least into the near future. 

When no age statement blends of dubious quality are selling for £45 a bottle and early teen age statements are north of £65 a bottle it does make you question are you getting value for money? These are not insignificant sums to be splashing out for most people, but the price becomes even more important when you are taking a punt on a hitherto unknown label especially as most of the whiskey bottled in Ireland is still coming from Bushmills, Cooley or Midleton. In fact its often cheaper to buy the equivalent 'Big Three' expression as it is to buy from one of the new kids on the Irish block.  

Often when I'm looking at an Irish whiskey I'm considering what I could get for the same money from Scotland (or elsewhere in the world) that in many cases will offer much better value and a better experience....especially if you are breaking away from the Irish 'Big Three'. Treading carefully through the minefield of marketing hype and mediocre but costly whiskey will continue unabated for some time too. It is going to be many years before we can judge the new start-ups/up-starts 'teenage' malts, grains, pot stills and blends against the existing trio that have dominated Irish whiskey over the last 25 to 30 years.

Until such times then can we find value and quality within the Irish market? Thankfully yes and I will get around to reviewing more of these standouts either here or on Malt. For me though the preeminent expression that offers both value and quality is Redbreast 12 year old.

Redbreast 12 is a single pot still whiskey, that is, the mashbill is made up of malted and unmalted (or green) barley in a 60/40 split (although the producer can choose any ratio they want). This combination of barley imbues a creaminess and spiciness to the spirit. Redbreast 12 is made up of 75% ex-bourbon cask matured spirit with 25% ex-sherry cask matured spirit, it is bottled at 40% and is chill filtered and has a little e150 caramel added and is produced at Midleton Distillery. You can buy it at Fairleys for £44.95




A lovely surge of aromas greet your nose - quite oily but fruity, pears, apricots, orange zest. Now hazelnuts with a slight floral edge apparent. This moves into dark chocolate and spice.


Rich and complex for the age. Honey, vanilla, orange, candied fruit, stem ginger, a hint of camphor then the hazelnuts come through again, bitter cocoa, nutmeg and a liquorice note.


Long, moving between citrus, spice and dark chocolate.


This really is an Irish classic and represents excellent value for money. For me if this was my desert island whiskey I would be more than happy. I also feel that if you have never really liked Irish whiskey this could be the one to convert your taste buds. It has great complexity for its age, each mouthful providing more flavours to savour.  I think it could only be bettered if Midleton bottled it un-chill filtered and at 46% abv like the rest of the range....but that would likely increase the price. Can't have everything I suppose. 

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  1. What turned me in to whiskey.... no more JD on ice

    1. You became infinitely more classy after your introduction to Redbreast!

  2. currently £31 bottle in Sainsburys !


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