Redbreast Single Casks
Colour: Weathered bronze.
Nose: Refined & inviting. Cherry menthol mixed with toasted oak, anise & nutmeg. Seville orange marmalade & creamy milk chocolate. Toasted hazelnuts, fresh tobacco leaf & aged leather. Creme caramel alongside peach, apricot & barley sugar. Time brings dark fruit too....dates & sultanas.
Palate: Warm & comforting. Sticky toffee pudding with dates & walnuts. Terry's dark chocolate orange & stem ginger. Pot still spice grips the mouth segueing into cinnamon, nutmeg & orange zest. Black coffee & dates. Underlying all this is orchard fruit notes of peach & apricot. The cherry menthol appears too.
Side note - I didn't add water to this as I found it so glorious at full strength.
Finish: Long with the orange zest theme continuing alongside cocoa & warming spices.
If there is one thing that Redbreast always, and I mean always, does very well is giving the consumer a really engaging nose. All these reviewed here are whiskies you could literally nose for hours quite happily and still pick out different profiles.
In the case of the Whisky Exchange exclusive it's downside is that that really rather pleasing nose doesn't quite translate to the palate where things just become a bit of a spice fest, even with water. You kind of have to fight your way past the spice to uncover the flavour profiles below.
The Midleton and Bow Street exclusive definitely ups the ante. While being sherry dominant there is still enough of the distillate that cuts through the cask allowing the stone fruit quality of Redbreast to shine through especially when water is added.
The Palace Bar raises the bar further with great balance between nose and palate. Again those Redbreast stone and tropical fruit notes are evident on both nose and palate and allow a nice interplay between the fresh, fruity character of the distillate intertwined with the syrupy and woody spice notes from the cask. The addition of a little water brings out the distillate even more.
I know liquid perfection doesn't really exist but the Friend at Hand exclusive is 99.9% there. The best All Sherry Redbreast expression I've tried (even better than LMDW), in fact the best Redbreast I've tried....period (including the Dream Casks).
One word describes it well: Harmonious.
The nose, palate and finish are all exceptionally well balanced & integrated. I think that where the Friend at Hand expression really comes into it's own is not only the fact that it's 'trad' pot but that it had such a long period of time in 1st fill bourbon before being re-racked into the sherry cask. this has allowed those orchard fruit notes of the distillate come through alongside the earthy notes of leather and tobacco before being layered in sherry sweetness and spice. No one note dominates, they all sing off the same hymn sheet and combine to form something quite beautiful. We'll done to all involved in producing this stunning liquid.
The Whisky Exchange exclusive 16 year old - 6 out of 10
The Midleton & Bow St exclusive 19 year old - 8 out of 10
The Palace Bar exclusive 17 year old - 9 out of 10
The Friend at Hand exclusive 25 year old - 10 out of 10