Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts

Friday, March 17, 2023

Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Standing proud on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in Kinsale, Co. Cork, we are Blacks, Ireland’s first co-located Brewery & Distillery.

Born out of passion by founders, husband and wife duo, Sam & Maudeline Black. What started as a hobby, after Sam was gifted a home brewing kit for Valentine’s Day from Maudeline many years ago, quickly became an obsession and a burning desire to experiment and create.  It is this enthusiasm and drive that saw Blacks Brewery become a reality.” – Keeper’s Quest Brands


It was in 2013 when the Blacks opened their brewery and distillery overlooking the Bandon River. Their dream went beyond simply producing beer and spirits. What they made had to be unique and not another mass-produced product.


Blacks is a member of Ireland’s Origin Green – Bord Bia. It is a voluntary, state-run program that partners the government, private sector, farmers, and food producers with a shared mission of embedding sustainability in everything they do. For Blacks’ part, it actively reduces waste production and energy consumption and employs energy-efficient technologies. Blacks also plants an oak tree for every case of whiskey it sells.


Today I’m exploring Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Cask. It is a single malt Irish whiskey that aged in (you guessed it) an IPA cask that held the brewery’s ale. It is brand-new to the American market. There’s not a lot of information available on this whiskey. However, legally it must be made of malted barley run through a pot still at a single distillery and aged in oak. The label suggests it is sourced, but I could not locate information on which Irish distillery is responsible for the distillate.


Bottled at 43% ABV (86°), it is packaged in 700ml, but Keeper’s Quest Brands, its exclusive US distributor, didn’t have pricing information yet. Due to this, the Bottle, Bar, or Bust rating will only consider the aroma and taste. And before I can do that, I must thank Keeper’s Quest for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: The yellow-gold liquid was poured neat into my Glencairn glass. It formed a medium-thick rim that released wide, slow tears.


Nose: It smells like this whiskey was aptly named, as a blast of grapefruit, orange, and lemon filled my nostrils. It took an effort to get beneath that citrus, and when I did, there was an aroma of freshly-cut hay. A malty note was easily discerned as I pulled the air into my mouth.


Palate: As this whiskey hit my tongue, it provided a thin mouthfeel. Honey, lemon oil, and vanilla were on the front, while the middle featured orange peel and white grapefruit. The back consisted of clove, oak, and black pepper.


Finish: Clove, oak, black pepper, and grapefruit remained in my mouth and throat. That sensation remained for several minutes. But, just as I thought that was the end of things, I tasted very dark chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I believe Blacks achieved its goal; this was unlike any Irish whiskey I’ve had. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I’ve had American Single Malts that were finished in IPA casks. From memory, those were more tangerine-like than the grapefruit the Blacks’ whiskey possessed. The honey and vanilla were reminiscent of Irish whiskey.


If bitter fruit notes don’t excite you, you probably won’t appreciate this whiskey. If you’re an IPA fan, you likely will. But, those looking for a typical Irish whiskey will be taken aback; there’s little that resembles one. Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Cask is way off-profile, and because of that, you should try this before walking away with one. That’s a recipe for a Bar rating. Cheers!  


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Friday, February 10, 2023

Two Stacks Dram In A Can Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you think is, Hey, that’s whiskey in a can. The second thing to come to mind should be, Never judge a book by its cover. Mind you, I’ve not yet tasted what’s inside this can; it is just the whole #DrinkCurious mindset at work. I’ll get to tasting this in a few moments.


Dram In A Can is what Two Stacks calls this package. When I was in Denver a few weeks ago, this was amongst the 50ml spirits bottles (although the can happens to be 100ml). If you’ve never heard of Two Stacks before, don’t worry; neither have I.


Two Stacks is a whiskey brand founded in 2020 by Shane McCarthy, Liam Brogan, and Donal McLynn as one of only a handful of independent bonding and blending facilities in Ireland.


Our unique approach to working with some of Ireland's leading distilleries; selecting the finest spirit distilled across the Island allows us to create incredible expressions of whiskey never crafted nor tasted before. We continue to build our reputation on top of three key fundamentals and to help shape the future in Irish whiskey: Transparency, Creativity, and Innovation.” – Two Stacks


There are two versions of Dram In A Can: a single malt and a blend. Today I’m sampling the latter. Two Stacks suggests this is made from grain, malt, and pot still whiskeys. The combination is non-chill filtered and naturally colored. The makeup of it is as follows:


  • 40% dark grain aged in virgin oak
  • 40% light grain aged in Bourbon barrels
  • 8% pot still aged in Oloroso sherry casks
  • 10% double malt aged in Bourbon barrels
  • 2% peated malt aged in Bourbon barrels


The transparency is fantastic. What really excites me is the 2% peated malt because while that’s commonplace in Scotch, it is damned unusual for Irish whiskey.


Dram In A Can is bottled… er… canned in Minneapolis at 43% ABV (86°). I paid $4.99 for it. Retail packages are in four-packs. For the record, Two Stacks also sells its whiskey in standard 750ml bottles. Now that you’ve got the background of everything let’s crack this baby open and explore what’s inside.


Appearance: I poured the contents of the can into my Glencairn glass. The liquid inside was a brilliant gold. Remember, this has no added E150a coloring. A thin rim released a wide curtain that fell back into the pool.


Nose: Apples, pears, vanilla, honey, and apricots formed a sweet, fruity nose. A whiff of nuts was also found. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, vanilla, and apricot rolled past my tongue. There was no evidence whatsoever of smoke or peat.


Palate: I discovered a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel, and the front of my palate encountered raw honey, coconut, and dried apricot. The middle offered vanilla cream and cinnamon apples, while almond, oak, and white pepper flavors were on the back.


Finish: Oh… this is where the peat came into play. But, it wasn’t overwhelming, and, in fact, you’d probably miss it if you weren’t prepared for a peat note somewhere. It added a soft, smoky quality, which naturally married the tastes of apple, apricot, honey, oak, and white pepper. The whole experience lasted a medium-to-long duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Don’t judge a book by its cover. I said that at the beginning of this review. I admit I giggled with curiosity when I first saw this in the store. I hadn’t planned on being impressed, but dang, I am. I smiled. I told Mrs. Whiskeyfellow how much I was enjoying this pour. That, my friends, means it takes my Bottle (Can?) rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, November 16, 2022

McConnell's Five-Year Irish Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

Most of the time, whiskey is spelled with an e when referring to American or Irish versions, whereas the rest of the world ignores it. However, nothing states you must have (or lack) the e; it is simply a preference. In the United States, Maker’s Mark leaves it off, as does George Dickel. There is also a brand in Ireland called McConnell’s Irish Whisky that bucks tradition. 


“It all started in 1776, when the McConnell family of Belfast began selling their whisky to the public. It quickly became one of the most sought-after spirits in Ireland, and to keep up with demand, the McConnells built a distillery: a sprawling, buzzing compound on the banks of the River Lagan. The next 154 years would be spent dedicated to a single pursuit: producing the finest whisky in all of Ireland. Many whisky drinkers believed that they achieved their goal, making McConnell’s the most famous Irish whisky of the time.”Conecuh Brands


McConnell’s Irish Whisky is made from a mash of 70% grain and 30% malted barley that matured in former Bourbon casks for at least five years. It comes in an attractive bottle with an oval-shaped brass plate on top proclaiming it comes from Belfast. Proofed to 42% ABV (84°), you can acquire a 750ml package for about $29.99.


There is also a Sherry Cask Finish that I’ve already reviewed. I provided more background on the history of the brand there.


I thank Conecah Brands for providing me with a sample of their Irish Whisky in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and learn more. 


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, McConnell’s 5-Year Irish Whisky was the color of straw. A medium-thick rim formed but couldn’t hold the weight of the tears, which turned watery.


Nose: The first scent I picked up was lemon zest. Vanilla, apple, and oak followed. When I inhaled the vapor into my mouth, I encountered more vanilla.


Palate: The texture was creamy and possessed a medium weight. At the front of my palate, I discovered vanilla, lemon peel, and bold apple flavors. The middle featured only butterscotch, but the back offered oak, clove, and white pepper.


Finish:  Medium-to-long in duration, the finish consisted of white pepper, clove, and a slightly smoky quality that lingered more than the former notes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  McConnell’s is a tasty Irish whisky with a lot to offer despite a lack of complexity. What flavors exist are far from muted and work well together. If you’re seeking a “soft” Irish whisky, look elsewhere. I particularly liked the smoke in the finish. As a $30.00, 42% bottle, I believe there is a good bang for the buck, and I’m happy to crown a Bottle rating for it. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Friday, October 21, 2022

Fighting 69th Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

“The storied ‘Irish Brigade’ regiment, one of the oldest and most honored military units in the history of the United States, is proud to present its first Irish whiskey to America.


Founded in 1849 as New York State Irish Militia, the 69th has fought as a US Army Infantry regiment in major engagements from the Civil War to modern day Iraq and Afghanistan. Its motto is, ‘Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.’”- Fighting 69th Whiskey


In researching the brand, I learned there were several famous members. One was Thomas Meager during the Civil War. He initially joined the army, served with the Confederacy, and then switched sides to fight for the Union. He became a brigadier general and successfully led the 69th Regiment to battle in Richmond, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee is the one who referred to it as “The Fighting 69th.”


Father Francis Patrick Duffy was the highest-decorated chaplain in US history and served with The Fighting 69th during World War I. He worked unarmed but encouraged fellow soldiers and assisted medics in attending to the wounded. Lt. Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan was the only soldier to earn all four of the military’s highest awards: The Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Service Cross, The Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.


On June 28, 1963, President John F. Kennedy presented one of the flags from the Fighting 69th to the people of Ireland during an address to the Irish Parliament.


It should come as no surprise that someone decided to honor the Fighting 69th with a namesake Irish whiskey. It is made from 100% barley, as a blend of both malted and unmalted grains. It uses three different mashbills, all of which are triple-distilled in handmade copper pot stills. Those whiskeys are then aged at least three years in ex-Bourbon barrels. Then, the whiskeys are transferred to various casks, including single- and double-char, Oloroso sherry, Rum, and Port wine, for an undisclosed finishing period.  


Fighting 69th doesn’t disclose the distiller and is made solely to be imported to the United States market. $1.00 of each bottle sold goes to support the Sixty-Ninth Regiment Historical Trust, Inc., and you can expect to pay around $40.00 for a 40% ABV (90°) 750ml package.


I want to thank The Espiritus Group for sending me a sample of Fighting 69th in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and explore if this whiskey lives up to its namesake.


Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, this Irish whiskey presented as brilliant gold. A medium rim formed thicker tears that fell into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: Pear, apple, and citrus peel greeted my olfactory sense. Beneath those were molasses, stone fruit, and oak. When I pulled the air through my lips, lemon and vanilla rolled across my tongue.


Palate: The mouthfeel was initially thin but became creamy as I continued to sip on it. Vanilla and lemon curd formed the front, while a honey-infused banana pudding flavor rested in the middle. The back of my palate picked up nutmeg, clove, and dry oak.


Finish: Medium-short in duration, the finish kept the nutmeg, dry oak, and banana pudding in my mouth.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I would have expected more flavor with all of the cooperage used. It may be that insufficient time was offered in the finishing barrels, and/or it is proofed too low for those flavors. I tried this whiskey a few times to see if anything had changed, and it didn’t.


Fighting 69th is an unremarkable Irish whiskey. If a friend poured me a glass, I’d drink it and be okay, but at the same time, if I didn’t come across another opportunity down the road to try it again, it wouldn’t be missed. It isn’t bad, just something that will get lost amongst other Irish whiskeys, and because of that, it earns my Bar rating. Cheers!  


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Limavady Irish Single Malt, Single Barrel Review & Tasting Notes

In ye olde 1750, alongside the River Roe in County Londonderry, Ireland, John Alexander began making whiskey on his family farm and called his distillery Limavady. Limavady remained in business in one form or another, including adding a brewery, until it was shuttered in 1915 when Distiller’s Finance Corporation (DFC) acquired several Irish distilleries and killed them off.


Then, 260-something years later, Darryl McNally, a well-respected veteran of the distilling industry under Bushmills and The Dublin Liberties, traced his family tree and discovered he was related to the Alexanders who began the distillery.


“Limavady kept calling, so I said, let’s grab this with both hands. My brother—who was also a distiller at Bushmills—left as well to come into the family Limavady.” – Darryl McNally


But McNally didn’t want to simply do another me-too whiskey, especially since he had to source barrels. He planned on offering Irish single malt whiskey but took things a step further. He concentrated on single barrel, single malt whiskeys. While the single-barrel idea isn’t unheard of in Ireland, it is unusual.


You know me; unusual is something that always grabs my full attention!

While Limavady doesn’t disclose who distilled its whiskey, we know it is made from 100% malted and unmalted Irish barley that’s been triple-distilled in copper pot stills, then aged in ex-Bourbon barrels for about four and a half years. At that point, McNally selects his barrels of whiskey.

Next, the matured whiskey is dumped and finished in former Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry casks, giving it a chance to pull fruity notes from the wood. Those PX casks are lovingly referred to as Darryl’s Barrels.

Sourcing barrels of whiskey won’t last forever; McNally has a distillery planned so he can make everything in-house and bring distilling back to its historical roots.

Packaged at 46% ABV (92°), it carries a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Each bottle is labeled with the barrel number and bottle number. In the case of the sample that was provided to me, it is Barrel 0082, Bottle 452 of 846. And, speaking of the bottle, the brand didn’t spare any expense. It is an attractive, embossed bottle with Limavady printed lengthwise along the side, 1750 above the label, and has a bulbous neck with a glass stopper.

The bottling process and distribution are performed by WhistlePig, which has partnered with McNally. That allows McNally to concentrate on his whiskey without the hassles of logistics.

Now that we know the backstory, the only thing left is to #DrinkCurious. But, before I do, I thank WhistlePig for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a whiskey the color of bronze. A thick, heavy rim yielded sticky tears that slowly crawled back to the pool.


Nose: The journey began with an evident PX influence, with strawberry, apple, pear, and honey, followed by malt and buttery toffee from the Bourbon. When I inhaled through my mouth, honey and pear rolled across my tongue.


Palate: Thick and viscous, the whiskey imparted flavors of raw honey, stewed apple, and peach on the front of my palate. The middle consisted of malted barley, grass, and caramel, while the back featured cinnamon, oak, and graham crackers.


Finish: Cinnamon spice and oak tannins dominated the beginning, then syrupy honey seemed glued to my mouth and throat. Stewed peaches and apple pie filling slid by, with the whole shebang remaining for several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Limavady has a complex nose, an unusually thick mouthfeel, and a spicy, fruity palate. Its long-lasting finish gently warmed my throat, and I caught myself smiling as I analyzed the experience. To offer a 46% ABV single malt at $50.00 ranks this one heck of a bargain, and I can’t think of a single reason why it hasn’t earned my Bottle rating. On a side note, Limavady is one of the better Irish whiskeys I’ve sampled this year. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Friday, September 9, 2022

Mad March Hare Irish Poitín Review & Tasting Notes

Even experienced whiskey drinkers run into something new. I’ve always heard about Poitín but never had an opportunity to try it. Today that changes.


I’m sure the big question is, “What is Poitín?” It certainly was for me. Poitín has been around much longer than whiskey. The first recorded instances were in the 6th century! Always created in a single pot still, Poitín is kind of like vodka or sort of like moonshine, but neither. It is made from potatoes, cereal grains, sugar beets, whey, or molasses.


Throughout its history, Poitín has been on-again, off-again legal to make. Parliament only made it illegal in 1661 because it was too difficult to collect taxes. Any illicit pot still hidden on an Irish farm could be used to make Poitín, and of course, the underground network of friends and relatives kept the liquid flowing.


A little over 300 years later, in 1997, Poitín was once again legal to produce. Distilled between 40% and 90% ABV (that’s 80° to 180°), Poitín is a geographically-protected class of spirits that must come from Ireland. It is also considered a specialty drink, not one that’s overly common for bars to stock.


Today I’m sampling Mad March Hare Irish Poitín. This one is not only legal but available in the United States. Like most Irish whiskey, it is triple-distilled in copper pot stills. It is bottled at 40% ABV, and a 700ml package has a suggested price of $29.99.


“Mad March Hare uses only the best, locally sourced, malted barley. As you would expect, fine Irish Poitín needs fine ingredients, and most of our suppliers are farmers within a couple of miles of our stills, with equally rich histories in the growing of this key ingredient. As one would expect, their covert deliveries are made in the dead of night.” – Mad March Hare Irish Poitín


I’m ready to hit up a real #DrinkCurious adventure here, not knowing what I’m even getting into aside from what I’ve researched. But, before I do, I must thank Mad March Hare Irish Poitín for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.  


Appearance: This is an unaged spirit and is clear, similar to water. A thicker rim led to syrupy legs.


Nose: As soon as I popped the cork, this spirit’s aroma flowed from the bottle’s neck. I didn’t get the expected buttered popcorn that is typical of moonshine. There’s a lesson in assumptions! Instead, I smelled something like Sierra Mist but heavier than that. Also present were grass, berries, and limestone. The grassy note performed a stepdance across my tongue when I pulled the vapor past my lips.


Palate: This spirit’s texture was different. It was thicker than any whiskey’s mouthfeel I’d ever experienced, almost like a milkshake without the cold. The front of my palate plucked limestone and lemongrass, while the middle offered malted barley. The back tasted of pineapple and honeysuckle.


Finish:  I found the limestone quality stuck around the longest; by that, I mean many minutes. The honeysuckle and lemongrass fell off sooner but left behind a slight black pepper flavor.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  If I were to base my opinion on the first sip, I wouldn’t have taken a second. That’s the number one mistake folks make when trying something new. Palate shock is a real thing. You must allow your palate to get used to what’s in your mouth. Once something harsh is expected, your palate can figure out what’s underneath it.


The more I sipped Mad March Hare, the easier it was to drink, and I began to enjoy the experience. It began to get addictive. As heavy as the flavors were, I don’t think increasing the proof would do much more than getting you plastered.  I can appreciate how Poitín was so popular. I also understand why some people wouldn’t like it because it is so unusual.


I’m happy to have Mad March Hare in my whiskey library, and this was a fascinating and fun experience. It is tasty and affordable. An honest rating on this must tip it into the Bar category, but only because of how divisive it will be; it really needs to be sampled first. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to further exploring this unique Irish spirit. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Irishman Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Did you know that Irish whiskey used to be the best-selling spirit in the world? It also has a rich history. The first documented production of Irish whiskey was in 1405, and in 1608, King James I issued the first distillery license. In 1661, King Charles II instituted a tax on its production. Demand was at an all-time high, which meant that distillers were concentrating on pumping out as much whiskey as possible, consequences be damned.


That prompted Parliament to pass a law governing the quality of Irish whiskey. It also changed the tax structure from actual production to potential production! That killed off, at least in a legal sense, much of Ireland’s smaller distilleries. In 1823, Parliament realized its mistake and slashed taxes by half, which encouraged growth and led to the high point of Irish whiskey’s popularity.


What caused the downfall?  There were several factors. First, there was a temperance movement in Ireland during the mid-19th century. The second was the invention of the Coffey still in 1832. Then there was the Great Famine of the 1840s. That was followed by the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Civil War, and a trade war with Britain. That trade war eliminated exports to Britain and its commonwealths. If that wasn’t bad enough, Prohibition in the United States, followed by protectionist laws in Ireland and serious financial mismanagement by distillers, nearly killed the entire industry. The 1970s was Irish whiskey’s lowest point, with only two operating whiskey distilleries remaining!


In the mid-1980s, the world again wanted to embrace Irish whiskey, and new distilleries started to emerge. It soon became the fastest-growing category. As brands were trying to satisfy the demand, like the recent surge in American whiskey brands, new Irish whiskey producers had to source aged distillate to fill bottles.


One such company was Walsh Whiskey. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it produces two product lines: The Irishman and Writer’s Tears. In 1999, co-founders Bernard and Rosemary Walsh established their brands, intending to revive the heyday of Irish whiskey.


“As whiskey creators, we work with a range of carefully selected partners to explore how different grains, whiskey styles, and woods interact and contribute to taste over time – plenty of it! We seek out the best styles and distillates in Ireland, as well as casks from the four corners of the world. When cask-hunting, we look for, not just those of the highest wood quality and barrel structure but, most importantly, the ones that have been seasoned with exceptional liquid.” – Walsh Whiskey


Today I’m sipping on The Irishman Single Malt. As the name implies, it starts with 100% Irish barley that, after triple-distillation, rested in both former Bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry casks.  It carries no age statement, and the bottle suggests it was produced for Walsh Whiskey, meaning it was sourced, and was actually distilled by Irish Distillers Ltd. at its Midleton Distillery. The entire line of The Irishman was relaunched in 2022 with new bottles and labels. The Irishman Single Malt is made in batches limited to 6000 bottles or fewer. You can expect to pay about $45.00 for a 40% ABV (80°), 750ml package. 


Before I start the review, I must thank The Irishman for providing me a sample (and this lovely gift box) in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: Served neat, this bright gold liquid formed a thin rim in my Glencairn glass. Thick, slow tears fell from it.


Nose: As I sniffed what was inside, a blast of orchard fruits, including apricot, peach, apple, and pear, were joined by honey and cinnamon. It had a definitive maltiness when I drew the air into my mouth.


Palate: A creamy texture commanded a medium-to-heavy weight, which was truly unexpected from a 40% ABV whiskey. Caramel, honey, and bright apple were on the front of my palate, while the middle featured Fig Newtons, graham crackers, and black pepper. As things rounded out, I tasted golden raisin, cinnamon, and dry oak.


Finish: The finish went from soft to bold and seemed to last forever (again, this is only 40% ABV?). Notes of fig, raisin, cinnamon, and oak stuck in my mouth, but then, from completely out of nowhere, was a blast of chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: There are a lot of 40% ABV Irish whiskeys out there for less than the cost of The Irishman Single Malt. If you’re shopping based on price, you’ll cheat yourself out of something special. Even Mrs. Whiskeyfellow took a sip and smiled, then begged for a second. I’m thrilled to crown this with my Bottle rating and have this in my whiskey library. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly. Must be 21+ to enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Redbreast 12 Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

If you’re a fan of Irish whiskey, chances are you’ve heard of Redbreast. If that’s not a familiar name, no worries, I’ll tell you all about it.


Redbreast is made at the Midleton Distillery, Ireland’s most extensive. It is home to other famous brands, including Jameson, Powers, Spot, and Midleton. The Redbreast brand was created in 1912 by Gibley’s Wines & Spirits Import Company, marketing JJ Liqueur Whiskey (Jameson). Gibley’s chairman was an avid bird watcher and chose a red-breasted robin as the mascot. Thus, Redbreast was born.


“For more than a century, Redbreast has stayed true to the Irish Pot Still whiskey-making tradition. Today it is considered to be the definitive expression of this quintessential style of Irish whiskey making - a living legacy. Single Pot Still Whiskey has been safeguarded and nurtured under the watchful eye of the Midleton Distillery for almost two hundred years. And Redbreast is proudly considered the definitive expression of this Single Pot Still art.” - Redbreast


So, what does Single Pot Still mean? I’ll break that down for you in easy terms.  First, let’s look at Irish whiskey. It must be a product of Ireland and aged at least three years. There are additional rules, but we’ll skip those. Next is Pot Still, a mix of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still (versus a Coffey still). Then comes the Single part. That means it comes from a single distillery in most countries, and Ireland is no exception. Add them all together, and you get Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.


Today I’m exploring Redbreast 12.  It starts with a 50%-50% mash of malted and unmalted barley. It is triple-distilled in copper pot stills and then aged at least a dozen years in former Oloroso sherry butts. Redbreast 12 is bottled at 40% ABV (80°), and you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $60 or so for a 750ml package. For the record, Redbreast also offers a cask-strength version of it, but that’s not on today’s agenda.


And, that’s all the background you need, so let’s #DrinkCurious and get to the important stuff.


Appearance:  Drank neat from my Glencairn glass, Redbreast 12 was brassy and formed a thicker rim. It created husky legs that crawled down the wall and into the pool.


Nose:  Sweet aromas of malt, vanilla, apricot, peach, and freshly-cut grass joined with spicy notes of cinnamon and toasted oak. When I breathed in through my mouth, the grass and cinnamon remained.


Palate:  A luxurious, silky texture greeted my tongue. On the front, I tasted vanilla, almond, and honey. The middle featured apricot, raisin, and green grape. A spicy back consisted of cinnamon and dry oak and tapered with cocoa powder.


Finish: Cocoa powder, toasted almond, green grape, oak, and cinnamon remained for a medium-length finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Redbreast 12 is what Irish whiskey should strive to be. I’ve been a fan for several years. Redbreast is (pardon the word) smooth, flavorful, and just satisfies your desires for a great whiskey. I don’t know what else to say. It is one of the easiest Bottle ratings I’ve given. Just buy it. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.