Redbreast 12 y.o. Review

Redbreast 12 y.o.

40% abv

Score:  90/100


Another delicate and charming Irish pot still whisky.  This one kind of surprised me with just how unbelievably drinkable it was.  I mean almost too drinkable.  I could get in serious trouble with a whisky this smooth and palatable.

While I can’t say that I’m completely won over by Irish whisky, I do like quite a lot of it, but at the end of the day…it simply can’t hold a candle to my darling Scottish malts.   Or not often anyway.  I think this primarily has to do with the lightness of the spirit.  I’m a full flavor kinda guy.  I loves ‘em big and bold.

Someyimes though, you gotta concede good juice when you taste it, irrespective of whether or not it falls into your typical fare.  Case in point…Redbreast 12 year old.

The nose is bourbon-heavy, and smacks of a rye-like sweetness too.  Typical of many Irish whiskies, this is a fruit fiesta, led by big orange notes.  There is a beautiful balance to here with the sweeter notes meeting some warm creamy counters in the aromas of a morning bakery, oatmeal raisin cookie, warm suede, light spice and smooth vanilla.  Lemon pie too.

The palate is a perfect sum of its parts.  Here we have a veritable fruit basket in a glass.  Mouthwateringly full and absolutely engaging.  Fruity, warming and familiar, sweet and delicious.  It doesn’t overstay its welcome (whiskyspeak for ‘short finish’), but is entirely enjoyable while it does hang about.

Absolutely nothing to fault here.  Having said that…it’s also not spectacular.  Although at cask strength or maybe at 18-25 years old, I’d argue it could be absolutely magnificent.

Would love to try this stuff at cask strength.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

4 thoughts on “Redbreast 12 y.o. Review

    1. david

      I have. It’s extremely good. I tried it 4 times in the last week because the availability here will be short and I wanted to be sure I wanted a second bottle. I do.

    2. skeptic

      If only it were scotch…. Good, CS, age statement…it could be a scotch we could all rally around.

      I guess that’s why the industry in Ireland added an extra E….

  1. Jeff

    The 12 CS is available at the LCBO. Not as aggressive as a lot of Scotch single malts, even Speysides, at this strength (57.4%), but superior balance off the cork. Superior legs and tears for age/strength. Sherry is drier here than in the regular 12. The usual potstill diesel note is missing on the nose, replaced with dry spice and sawdust that’s a lot better, and more complex, than it sounds. Huge fruity arrival on the palate, and the diesel note shows up there on the exhale. The oak vanilla is pretty strong, but there’s some promise that the sherry will come forward with time and bottle space. With water, some release of savoury notes, but another huge blast of oak and more spice; this is truly a sherry finished, rather than just sherry tainted, whiskey, but more influence, particularly with oloroso of this caliber, would be welcome. Mouthwork takes this more in the direction of Bushmills than Jameson. The finish is predictably hot, but the mouthfeel is deceptively thin/smooth (chill filtered?). A treat for potstill fans, easily capable of making a few converts, and probably one of the best whiskies I’ve tried in the last year – I’d move now!


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