Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links. We do receive a small commission when you click on our links and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you). We always give our honest opinions, and these opinions are fully our own. See our Disclaimers →
Redbreast 12 Year
About Redbreast 12 Year
As we head into the holiday season and the weather gets colder, I always find myself craving the warm feeling of a glass of whiskey. So after focusing on American whiskey for most of this year, I thought Irish whiskey would be a nice change of pace. And Redbreast 12 Year seemed like a perfect option because of it’s reputation and rich history.
Redbreast 12 Year is a single pot stilled Irish whiskey that stays faithful to the history of Irish distilling. Some of the first distilled spirits in Europe came from Ireland so there was already a well-established distilling culture that endured through the tumultuous relationship with England. Modern Irish whiskey begins around the late 1600’s when Irish spirit makers started producing whiskey with a combination of malted and unmalted barley to avoid English taxes.
Another key component to whiskey is the distilling process. Traditionally, Irish whiskey is triple distilled in a copper pot still. Red Breast is produced by the Midleton Distillery, the biggest distillery in Ireland, that houses the biggest copper pot still in the world and distills other famous Irish whiskies including Jameson.
❖ Spirit: Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
❖ Distillery: Midleton Distillery
❖ ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
❖ Aged 12 years
❖ High Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Gold
❖ Nose: Oak, Spiced fruit like apple or pear.
❖ Taste: Mellow wood, Spice, Vanilla, Pecan, Fruit.
❖ Finish: Long, Vanilla and slight fruit
Irish Old Fashioned
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
3/4 oz Benedictine
2 oz Irish Whiskey
❖ Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
❖ Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Even though I think of Redbreast 12 Year as a sipping whiskey and the price is much higher than typical mixing spirits, I still wanted to test it in a cocktail. I usually prefer to use higher quality whiskies in an Old Fashioned, and I happened to find this variation at Liquor.com. It’s similar to a Monte Carlo cocktail, which also uses benedictine as the sweetener, but the whiskey and bitters are more specific in this recipe. I was also curious how the complexity of Redbreast would interact with the herbal liqueur.
Benedictine made the drink a lot sweeter than expected but it still balanced well with RedBreast. I enjoyed how the herbal notes blended with the wood, spice, vanilla notes, but I didn’t pick up any of the fruit or nutty notes. The original recipe called for Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey, so hopefully I can try that version someday soon, and know Redbreast works as a substitute.
Redbreast 12 Year is a delightful experience and I’m really excited to try more Irish whiskey. I really enjoy how well the mellow spice and wood notes balanced with the sweet and nutty notes. The nose also seemed to become sweeter over time, and my partner thought it smelled like pecan pie.
My only negatives come from the price. Redbreast is about $60 in my area, but I did see some holiday discounts at my local target recently. While I do think this is a fair price compared to other imported whiskies, it’s still a significant amount of money. I would definitely recommend trying a glass at a bar or looking out for a sampler bottle if you’re curious about Irish whiskey and aren’t ready to commit that much money to one whiskey. The price is also a bit high if you are looking for a cocktail whiskey.
But, these are mostly just words of caution, since I still wholeheartedly recommend Redbreast 12 Year. I was already expecting to mostly drink this whiskey neat, and will definitely continue to enjoy the rest of this bottle.
As always, drink responsibly.
JOIN THE NEWSLETTER!
Get more from Let’s Drink It! by subscribing to our monthly email newsletter