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Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:34 am

There is no point marketing Greenspot. As centrefire says IDL have control over the production but I presume there are written agreements in place for the continuation of the brand. Eventhough the brand has gained a bigger & bigger cult status over the last 10years there is only and probably always will be for the interim of a fixed allocation per year. This it thought to be 6000 cases and no more and I have a feeling these are only 6bottle cases. SO there is really only enough to supply a small market base.

In relation to the mention of Pure Pot Still ... I've been thinking about this and I am wondering if it was ever on the label. I know editions sold in Germany had a little extra strip put on them with Pure Pot Still but that was done for that market specifically.

In the good old days of whiskey merchants Mitchels had various labels to differentiate their whiskey. These labels were colour coded which refered to the age of the whiskey.

I can't be sure how it went but there were also Yellow Red & Blue spots also, with the green spot being a 10yo whiskey. As this became the more favoured whiskey the others slowly but surely fell by the wayside.

here is a picture of a much older label from Potstill.de

Image
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:41 am

Can Firewallxl5 say which Scottish distillery has produced Malt Whiskey in column stills? It could be done, but the continuous still strips too much of the malt flavour for malt wash which would be somewhat counterproductive. But I will look into it. Would be interesting to taste it.

Can Aiden say where in Scotland lowlands whiskey was made from malted barley and unmalted grains. Never heard of that, will check it out on getting name of distillery.

I don't think Cooley used old pot stills from Comber distillery. I believe someone intended setting up a distillery in Northern Ireland in the late 1980's and ordered new stills from Rothes, in Scotland. The plan was shelved and Cooley bought the stills rather than order new ones. This made good commercial sense. Cooley use double distillation, the only one in Ireland to do so. I can never understand why Bush mills and Middleton use triple distillation "even in patient column stills". The best malts in Scotland are double distilled; the few that are triple distilled are not great. America do the first run in the column still and the second run in a doubler, a type of pot still. The second run only increases strength by 5%, but inproves flavour and body.

Woodford reserve is the only American Bourbon producer to distil entirely in conventional pot stills made in Rothes, Scotland and heated by a steam coil. Woodford is very heavily bodied, and a bit sweat. It gets 2 runs. Can be bought in Culliville off licence. Good bourbons coming on sale in border outlets are running off the shelves, A shipment of Maker's mark sold out in jig time. A great bourbon I might add.

AnywaY. Does anyone agree that traditional Irish Pure Pot Still whiskey should be categorised as a type in law?. The name is not important. It could be called - Finn McCool - Be - Gorra - and if malt producers insist of calling their make Pot still, let them at it. One solution would be to ban the word "Pure" form Irish whiskey labels. Its banned in the US. An exception could be made for the traditional product. So Cooley could use -Pot Still Single Malt Irish Whiskey- Genuine product could be called "Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey". I am working of getting a drop of that 15 yo Redbreast.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:26 am

In Ireland: a blend is a mixture of whiskey from 2 or more distilleries. Therefore Paddy (a mix of grain and malt) made in the same distillery is not a blend. - Ha?- ridiculous.

In Scotland (UK). a blend is not defined in law but is diffined by agreed industry code. A blend is a mix of any whiskey a) not of the same type or b) not from the same distillely. Therefore malt/grain from distillery "x" is a blend. Malt from distillery "x" mixed with Malt from distillery "y" is a blend (blended malt or vatted malt or pure malt or just malt). There is controversity over this, traditionally malt was called "vatted"

In the USA blended whiskey "whiskey a blend" is provided for in the laws on alcohol. A blend must have 20% of straight whiskey mixed with other whiskey or neutral spirit. Additives are allowed in blended whiskey but not in straight stuff.

If we apply common sense to this, a good definition would be that if the bottle contains whiskey or one type as it came from the still at one distillery, then it is not a blend. It is practice to mix different aged spirits at one distillery. This is the case in Scotland where grains are not mixed in the mash. In the US grains are mixed in the mash before distillation to give bourbon, rye etc. these are not blends. However in Ireland a blend is the product of 2 or more distilleries. This means that Powers, Jameson, Paddy are not blends. (there certainly are) under Irish law. Even when Irish whiskey is a blend, this need not be stated on the label. Optional. Redbreast and any other Pure Pot Still is not a blend under Irish or US definitions but as there is not mixing of grains in Scotland, its imposible to say. But no mixing takes place after the still so even in Scotland it is not a blend realy.


Ridiculous.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:43 am

Can Firewallxl5 say which Scottish distillery has produced Malt Whiskey in column stills? It could be done, but the continuous still strips too much of the malt flavour for malt wash which would be somewhat counterproductive. But I will look into it. Would be interesting to taste it.

Can Aiden say where in Scotland lowlands whiskey was made from malted barley and unmalted grains. Never heard of that, will check it out on getting name of distillery.

I don't think Cooley used old pot stills from Comber distillery. I believe someone intended setting up a distillery in Northern Ireland in the late 1980's and ordered new stills from Rothes, in Scotland. The plan was shelved and Cooley bought the stills rather than order new ones. This made good commercial sense. Cooley use double distillation, the only one in Ireland to do so. I can never understand why Bush mills and Middleton use triple distillation "even in patient column stills". The best malts in Scotland are double distilled; the few that are triple distilled are not great. America do the first run in the column still and the second run in a doubler, a type of pot still. The second run only increases strength by 5%, but inproves flavour and body.

Woodford reserve is the only American Bourbon producer to distil entirely in conventional pot stills made in Rothes, Scotland and heated by a steam coil. Woodford is very heavily bodied, and a bit sweat. It gets 2 runs. Can be bought in Culliville off licence. Good bourbons coming on sale in border outlets are running off the shelves, A shipment of Maker's mark sold out in jig time. A great bourbon I might add.

AnywaY. Does anyone agree that traditional Irish Pure Pot Still whiskey should be categorised as a type in law?. The name is not important. It could be called - Finn McCool - Be - Gorra - and if malt producers insist of calling their make Pot still, let them at it. One solution would be to ban the word "Pure" form Irish whiskey labels. Its banned in the US. An exception could be made for the traditional product. So Cooley could use -Pot Still Single Malt Irish Whiskey- Genuine product could be called "Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey". I am working of getting a drop of that 15 yo Redbreast.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:12 am

A blend in Scotland is not defined in law but left to the industry to define. Its a mix of more than 1 whiskey type i.e. (malt and grain) from one or more distilleries. Its also a mix of similar type whiskeys from 2 or more distilleries. i.e. malt from distillery "x" with malt from distillery "y". This controversial because it used to be called vatted malt or pure malt. It is common for distilleries to mix different ages of the same type of spirit from their distilleries and these are single malts or single grains.

In the USA a blend is a mix of at least 20% straight whiskey (say bourbon) with other light whiskey or neutral spirits. Blends can contain additives and colour whereas straight whiskeys cannot. Its rare to find a blend nowadays. But it is important to note that all straight whiskeys there are make from a mixed of grains mash (corn rye wheat with malted barley) before fermentation and distillation. Irish pure pot still is made from a mix of malted barley and other unmalted grain.

In Ireland (we do things differently) a blend is a mix of whiskeys form 2 or more distilleries. This ridiculous law means that Paddy (mix of malt and grain from Middleton) is not a blend. Neither is Powers or Jameson. In plain man's language, Powers, Paddy and Jameson are all blends. Indeed all the expensive expressions such as Middleton Reserve and Jameson Gold are blended in reality but not legally. Only Redbreast, Green Spot, Bushmills malts, Cooley malts and Greenore grain are not blends if common sense is used, but according to Irish law the scope is larger. . . Black Bush and Bushmills original are legally and sensibility blends, but stating this on the label is optional. Thats right, even a legal blend does not have to state this on the label. Ha ????

Yes optional? This is Ireland and Yes we do have leprechauns!!!! But that rumour about us being corrupt is totally false.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Bruichladdict » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:53 am

Loch Lomond produced single malt whisky using a column (or patent or coffey) still. The SWA and the SP are passing laws to stop this. Lomond claims that they quality of the malt is quite high, and claim that the SWA doesn't want them exploiting a production efficiency.

I'd like to taste it for myself before pronouncing judgement on column still produced malt whisky!
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:39 am

Distillation is a separation process. The closer you get to pure alcohol, the less of the grain signiture you're gonig to get. Triple distillation is a step further than double distillation and gives a different profile. Not better or not worse, but just because Scottish distillers mostly double distill it doesn't mean the rest of the world should follow suit. Why not single distill, then, if you want to preserve the real flavour of the malt?

I'll look up that distillery. There's even rumours that a distillery in scotland is doing it today
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby borgom » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:34 am

Aidan wrote: Why not single distill, then, if you want to preserve the real flavour of the malt?

I thought this wasn't done because there would be insufficient removal of impurities and the strength of the alcohol would be too low for maturation.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Bruichladdict » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:08 pm

Single distillations CAN be performed safely. They do take a long time. You need to consider the cut very carefully, and you would be throwing some of the good stuff away with the bad. Better to clean up by capturing low wines, then clean up again with a second distillation with fewer compounds to separate. The most important feature of both types is to forgo the foreshots which contain methanol and the feints which contain nasty smelling components and higher alcohols (which can be toxic).

Forty Creek Canadian whisky is produced with a single distillation run and is a superb whisky.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby FirewallXL5 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:21 pm

centrefire wrote:Can Firewallxl5 say which Scottish distillery has produced Malt Whiskey in column stills? It could be done, but the continuous still strips too much of the malt flavour for malt wash which would be somewhat counterproductive. But I will look into it. Would be interesting to taste it.

.


Hi there. You are correct, it is a practice which appears both illogical and counter productive. The whole point of malt whisky is the impurities (i.e flavours) imparted by the less efficient processes associated with the the humble pot still. The patent still on the other hand is all about the efficient removal of such impurities (flavours). It is assumed the aim would always have been to simply to cut malt production costs.

There is very little surviving evidence from the 19th century surrounding the practice however Moss & Hume refer to it as follows...
"Another feature of the 1860's was the rise of patent still malt whisky distilling. Output increased steadily from 1860 to 1864 when it reached 750,000 proof gallons...& remained between 580,000 and 700,000 gallons a year from 1866 to 1870, when it again slumped. Most of this whisky seems to have been made in Stein stills although one distillery, Glenmavis near Bathgate, had a Coffee malt still installed in 1855, which operated at least until 1900. Other distilleries known to have produced patent still malt are Cameronbridge ...Yoker and Port Dundas"

Does a Stein still count?

Anyway, whether the practice survived beyond the 1860's is questionable. Glenmavis for example was actually a small farm type distillery in West Lothian and Brian Townsend (Scotch Missed) notes that this patent still must have been "the most underused item of plant in the whole Scotch whisky industry, it had a known output of 2,000 gallons of spirit per 22 hour day yet Glenmavis production (pot + patent still) was only 80,000 gallons a YEAR. Townsend speculates that this still was a redundant piece of 2nd hand plant acquired cheaply and (we must assume) very rarely used.

George Christie (North of Scotland Distilling, Strathmore) made a more recent attempt c 1958/9 which again was short lived & apparently unsuccessful. To my knowledge no one has ever set eyes on a bottling.

And now it seems Loch Lomond Distillers have had a go, so maybe we can yet look forward to a 'Distillery Select' bottling of patent still malt, even though it cannot be called single malt? (there is no attempt to ban the production, the issue as I understand it is purely over what it may be called, i.e to prevent it being passed off as single malt).

Whether it would be worth it is another matter given the dubious record of Loch Lomond Distillers. As producers of what is often seen as the most vile single malts ever made (see Distillery Select bottlings from Inchmoan, Inchfad, Croftengea, Glen Douglas, etc.,) it may be that by their (low) standards running a malt wash through a patent still could only be an improvement but I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:28 pm

I wonder is this a pure pot still whisky - http://www.whisky.fr/produit-853-eddu-silver-40.html
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:08 pm

Due to a faulty keyboard, some of my previous scribblings appear more than once. Sorry.
According the Scotch Whiskey.net Loch Lomond have 3 pot stills for Malt and a patient still for grain. It was opened in 1965 and closed and opened agian, so its a newcomer. I understand the pot still is fitted with a rectifyer of some sort (similar to Glen Grant).

Producers of food and drink normally accept the traditional trade descriptions for their preduct and I dont see why Cooley should still persist with calling their malt "Pure Pot Still" when it is not. If they get away with that, whats to stop them labelling a blend "Pure Pot still" There is no law to stop them.

On tripple distillation, it is a style in itself, but I am not a fan.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:24 pm

centrefire wrote:
On tripple distillation, it is a style in itself, but I am not a fan.


That's fair enough. I'm a big fan, mostly of the Midleton production. I think there are some fine Bushmills out there, but I am not really a Bushmills fan.

Triple distillation is a worthy production method that gives something different. It's hard to beat, in my opinion, Redbreast 15 and Jameson 15.

I read somewhere that double distillation does not suit pure pot still whiskey, as it's too flavoursome. I will have to look up where I read it. I may have heard it at a tasting. But this French whisky is a double distilled wheat version. Maybe wheat is not as flavoursome as barley malt.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:24 pm

Well of course, the more variety there is in our favourite tipple the better, but I would like to see greater variety in Irish whiskey. We don't know what a double distilled redbreast or Jameson would be like. So would it not be a good idea if Middleton produced one of two double distilled versions? They offered nothing over 40% abv either until the 15 yo redbreast came out. Whereas there are plenty of Bourbons and scotches at 43, 46 and 51% s etc. Middleton are poor on inovation.

I would love to be able to comment favourably about Bushmills. But I find their single malts very plain and uneventful. Never tasted anything other than Middleton standard blends, Bushmills blends and scotch blends for many years. Then I good single Scotch Malts came on sale here and life was never the same again. No Irish blend is a patch of a Talisker, Glen grant, Dalwhinnie or Bruichallady malt. Also a good Bourbon life Makers mark or Johnny Drum 15 yo is way ahead.

In relation to wheat based whiskey. It is strange that most beer is made from Barley. Think it is because it is more satisfying. And I suspect whiskey made from barley is more satisfying too.

What do you think.... Connemara cask strength is great stuff too.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:11 pm

Well it's all opinion, of course, and I respect your views, but I'm the other way around. While I drank Powers in the pub growing up, I always assumed that Scotch was better. Now I don't think that at all, especially in relation to blends. I really got into Irish whiskey through scotch after visiting Edinburgh many years ago.

I think Irish blends are generally much better than Scottish ones. They put better whiskey into them and use better casks in many cases. This is a generalisation, of course. Personally, I love Jameson 12, Powers 12, Powers gold label etc. Campletown Loch 25 is a great scottish blend.

Scotch is brilliant too, of course. What they have that Irish whiskey doesn't have is a much much larger variety. Because of this, they are likely to have more great malts and more not so great malts.

I don't think scotch is better than Irish or Irish is better than Scotch. They're just different. And while I'm not a massive Bourbon fan, I do like it. And it's another kind of whiskey that's just as worthy.

They can make whisky anywhere in the world and it can be great or not so great.

I think you're right about Midleton. When they produce something outstanding and different, they change €2,000-plus for it. There are only a few scotch whiskys I've tasted that are better than a Midleton 25, for example, like a Bowmore 1964.

By the way, have you heard of the Irish Whiskey Society? It's dedicated to all whisky, not just Irish. Website is http://www.irishwhiskeysociety.com
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:25 am

I heard of Irish whiskey society, but dont know much about them.

Now heres a question for you. (I understand you may not have tasted some of these). Would you rate a reasonable scotch vatted or single malt as equal to an Irish blend. A ten year Pulteny, talisker, Highland park or Glenmorangie or Grouse malt at reasonable priced. The strength is varied and there are some non coloured or chill filtered. Surely there is no comparison to a watery Paddy, at 4 year old. Even Jameson and Powers are very basic.

I am not trying to catch you out, but are most Irish not very narrow in flavour (good Pure Pot Still excepted+ expensive blends).

If you were going to live on a light house for a 2 months stint and you were offered one case of Jameson or one case of a good reasonabley priced scotch mildly peated single malt . which would you pick. I would go for the Scotch for nose weight and balance. You get flavours like heather honey, sea salt, blossum, smoke, varnish, vanilla, together with a good maltyness in a heavey body. I would not think twice. I d take the malt.

In regard to Scotch blends, reasonably priced, I find William grant and vat 69 ok, Ballintines good too. I think cheap Scotch blends are not as good at Powers.

Also, if blind folded, ther are very few who can tell Paddy, Jameson and Powers apart. The grain is the same, I can do it if fresh, but after one tasting , I get it wrong.

But everyone is different.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:24 am

centrefire wrote:Now heres a question for you. (I understand you may not have tasted some of these). Would you rate a reasonable scotch vatted or single malt as equal to an Irish blend. A ten year Pulteny, talisker, Highland park or Glenmorangie or Grouse malt at reasonable priced. The strength is varied and there are some non coloured or chill filtered. Surely there is no comparison to a watery Paddy, at 4 year old. Even Jameson and Powers are very basic.

If you were going to live on a light house for a 2 months stint and you were offered one case of Jameson or one case of a good reasonabley priced scotch mildly peated single malt . which would you pick. I would go for the Scotch for nose weight and balance. You get flavours like heather honey, sea salt, blossum, smoke, varnish, vanilla, together with a good maltyness in a heavey body. I would not think twice. I d take the malt.

In regard to Scotch blends, reasonably priced, I find William grant and vat 69 ok, Ballintines good too. I think cheap Scotch blends are not as good at Powers.

Also, if blind folded, ther are very few who can tell Paddy, Jameson and Powers apart. The grain is the same, I can do it if fresh, but after one tasting , I get it wrong.

But everyone is different.


I'm not arguing with you really. I am not saying you're wrong to prefer scotch. There's nothing at all wrong with that. What I'm saying is that they are different and each has its own qualities. One is not better than the other. I am saying it's wrong to suggest that someone is wrong to like Irish whiskey.

There is not a huge amount of Scotch blends that I really really enjoy, personally, although there are some great ones. I would have a standard Powers over them nearly every time. Jameson NAS is just okay, for me. I like it but don't think it's in any way special. I don't like Paddy at all, although it's a long time since I've tried it. Jameson 12 and Powers 12 are brilliant.

Jameson, Paddy and Powers are as distinguishable from each other as Teachers, Bells, Ballentines... The Irish Whisky Society recently did a blind tasting of the Irish blends and I beleive there was an obvious difference between them. Powers came out top. Not everyone knew which one was which, but I believe there were obvious differences. And most of them were from the same distillery (I think there was some Bushmills there and some Cooley too).

I love Highland Park and Talisker, but am not too keen on Glenmorangie (although I believe the new pretentiously named range is very good).

Indeed, Irish whiskey, particularly the malts, comes out very well in blind tastings, I find. It stands up extremely well against scotch, because people are predisposed to thinking that scotch is somehow better quality and are sometimes surprised to hear they've been drinking Irish. And the "experts" rate it very highly - Dave Broom, Paul Pacault, John Hansell, Jim Murray, Michael Jackson.

I agree with you that there is not enough variation in strengths in Midleton's output. The Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve is an exception, as is the Midleton single cask bottled for the Celtic Whiskey Shop and the Redbreast 15.

There's only three Irish distilleries with stock they can call whiskey, so there is a lack of variation compared to Scotch.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby kallaskander » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:26 am

Hi there,

Redbreast is one of only two remaining Irish pure pot still brands.

It is a 100% pure pot still and not a blend.

If it were the label would be all wrong and misleading to say the least.

The other Irish pps is Green Spot.

Greetings
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:28 am

Okay here is the definitive answer. The Question is whether or not Redbreast 12yr Old is a blend? Well it all comes down to one simple thing, what is your definition of a blend. To some (probably most people) a blend is a combination of different whiskies from several distilleries. A typical Scotch blend has many source component whiskies. Redbreat as is Jameson by the way is a Singel Distillery Whiskey. It is all produced entirely at the one distillery. Under this definition, it is definitely not a blend. There is nothing in it that comes from elsewhere.
However some people might feel that mixing different components is blending. When Andrew Jameson was asked at the 1908 Commision on Potable Spirts to discuss this he described as what they do as 'marrying' when they combine differnet whiskies (sherry cask matured, bourbon ask matured, Medium Pot Still, Heavy Pot Still etc). He was adamant that this ws completely different to the Scottish practice of mixing grain whiskies from one location with Singel Malts from other locations. I'm running out of space so I need to continue with another submission.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:43 am

Further to my last note, (sorry for the typo's) the practice of 'blending' Pure Pot Still and Grain whiskey was only adopted by the Jameson's I believe after the second world war (under the weight of shiftng consumer tastes and the higher cost of production versus the cheaper column still Scottish blends - often up to 90% grain/near ethonal. Redbreast does not contain any grain whiskey (hence Pure Pot Still) so this further adds to the clarification that Redbreast is not a blend. It is all produced in the Pot Stills in Midleton by Jameson, it is matured in both seasoned Sherry and seasoned Bourbon casks as are all Jameson whiskies except Midleton Rare (all Bourbon) and Jameson Gold (some unseasoned Bourbon virgin barrels). the word blend appears on Jameon botttles in the USA only which is down to local legislation which doesn't facilitate the complexity of the Irish method of production. Final point, the Pure Pot Still identity refers really to the use of Malted and Green or unmodified Barley (unmlted). The Single Distillery element is common to all Midleton whiskies. Single Distillery, no grain = Redbreast.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:42 am

Welcome to the forum, Pure Pot Head.

Just one thing, it may be that, at Midleton, they route the spirit during the distillation process through pot stills, into column stills and back to pot stills. The do this for some whiskey, for sure, but I don't know which ones. If they do it for Redbreast, I am not sure they can call it a pure pot still.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:23 pm

Hi Aidan, when they drain off the residue from each stage of the distillation, you're right, it is passed through column stills to extract the last available alcohol out of it. I'll check with my 'source' what happens to the Redbreast run offs and what their final destinaton is. I imagine they go nto the column stills to extract the remaining alcohol volumes which can they be used in secondary stream products like Murphys. Dunphy's, Tullamore Dew etc, possibly even as the component produced for Baileys at some point in the past even beneiftted from extracts from the Pot Still triple distillation process going on next to the grain prodution. But you raise a good point and I'll check it out and revert.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:55 pm

Just on the column stills next to the Pot Stills at the Midleton Distillery. There are actually two sets of columns. One set of three makes the grain whiskey that they use in combination with Pure Pot Still to produce Jameson, Powers and Paddy. In this instance, the final spirit never gets to see the inside of a copper pot still.

There are two other columns that are used in a different way, the residue from each stage of Pot Still distillation can be transferred to these twin columns to have additional alcohol drawn from the wash. This is then sent back into the Pot Stills. The final spirt either passes through the three Pot Stills or passes through these three stills and also the column stills. Whichever way, the final spirit is assured triple distillation through the Pot Stills as a minimum. I'm hoping to find out more of the specifics regarding Redbreast but I know for a fact that no element of Redbreast fails to meet the criteria of triple Pot Still distillation.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:59 pm

Thanks for the info. That's very interesting.

Have you tasted Jameson whiskey from the Bow St distillery?
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:52 pm

Pure Pot Head seems to have his finger on the pulse of operations at Irish Distillers. I thought the Paddy was a mix of Grain and Malt (not pot still). I cannot find where he finally opinions on whether Pure Pot Still make is a blend of not. I maintain it is not a blend but a problem is in deciding what is a blend. On the issue of what is a blend, I would offer! There are legal definitions in Ireland and the USA and there are accepted definitions ion Scotland and then there are common sense definitions.

In the USA the law is so definitive that there can be no other view. The custom is to mix grains before distillation and describe the whiskey by that with a percentage over 51%. i.e. 51% rye, 20% Corn and the rest Barley and stored in specific type casks = rye whiskey. If this whiskey is mixed with neural spirit or with a different type of whiskey after distillation = blend. Because of this Irish Jameson must be labelled " blend there" Therefore by US standards Redbreast is not a blend.
Scotland practice decides that a blend is a mix of Malt and Grain irrespective of original distillery. If it contains all malts from different distilleries they were "Vatted or Pure Malts". There is no general practice of mixing grains before distillation. There is a move to label vatted malts - blended malt at the moment. So common sense is called for. When each distillery had to malt their own barley, the Irish practice might be seen as a cheap way of doing things and therefore a blend. But to - day, few distilleries malt their own and the Irish mix could be viewed on equal terms to malt and may be harder to make. So common sense would seem to come down on the side of Pure Pot Still not being a blend in Scotland. The fact that this is practice (not law) explains why Jameson can be sold in the UK without the word blend on the label.
The law in Ireland states that whiskey can only be called a blend if the product of two distilleries. It actually views a blend as being superior and forbids Irish Distillers calling Jameson a blend. However, by any stretch of the imagination, mixing grain and barley spirit after distillation is a blend. I would therefore submit, that the test is whether the spirit is mixed with other whiskey of a different grain type after distillation or/and whether whiskey is mixed with the same type spirit from another distillery. Therefore Redbreast is not a blend, it is in fact the real traditional Irish whiskey.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:56 pm

[quote="centrefire"]Pure Pot Head seems to have his finger on the pulse of operations at Irish Distillers. I thought the Paddy was a mix of Grain and Malt (not pot still). I cannot find where he finally opinions on whether Pure Pot Still make is a blend of not. [quote]

Paddy is made up of three whiskey styles, Pure Pot Still, Grain Whiskey and Single Malt (sourced from Bushmills)

And I difinitively state that Redbreast is absolutely not a blend. Of course it isn't!
It doesn't include and grain whiskey and all the whiskey is made under the one roof as they say. I might have confused things by getting into the debate about what a blend is - some think of it in terms of mixing different whiskeys even if they are of the same type and even if they are from the same distillery e.g. different casks alone being in essence a blending process - but that is a seprate debate).
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:15 pm

The law in Ireland states that whiskey can only be called a blend if the product of two distilleries. It actually views a blend as being superior and forbids Irish Distillers calling Jameson a blend.


Hi Centre Fire,

I thought I was reasonably familiar with the legal definitions here in Ireland and I'm not sure what you say above is in there at all. And I'm definitely curious to see the bit where the law states that a blend is superior to a Single Distillery or Pure Pot or whatever it is that prevents Jameson using the word blend (not that they'd want to,they hate the term, always have). Can you provide the text to which you are referring.


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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:58 am

Hi. Was away for a few days. No whiskey drank.

The Irish whiskey act of 1980 (section 1 (2) defines a blend. )

It states that a blend must be the product of 2 or more distilleries and

must conform to the standard for Irish whiskey. (strength and age etc.)


Cant remember the one about pot still, but it will come to me later and I will post a 2nd reply. I think all irish whiskey law was made at the behest of Irish Distillers. In the debate in the Senate, the polititian proposing the change said whishey was aged in oak and cherry. Obviously some one told him "sherry oak" for some aging, but he got confused as "cherry is never used".
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:22 am

Hi again.

Its -The Irish Whiskey Act 1950 -- I think its No 6 /1950

Section 1 (b) that defines Pot Still Irish Whiskey (now repealed).

Strangely this seems to rule out malt whiskey. Because it says (Sec 1 (a)) irish whiskey must be make from grain fermented by malted barley. But it was probably not interpreted that way.


Incidentally: The Immature Spirits Act 1947 .. Says that any person who delivers whiskey to any home which is not aged over 5 years will be fined £100 and the whiskey seized. This was changed by the 1980 act to 3 years. Not sure what penalty he gets now. Mary Harney should take it and give it to me if I ever have to go to hospital.

Note it does not appear to have been an offence to sell young whiskey in a pub.

This act amended an earlier brittish act which (I think) said whiskey must be 3 years before it can be consigned for transport.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So if you need more information get back. I know people will argue with this interpretation but that is the legal rule. A blend is different in USA Ireland and Scotland. I surpose there realy is no distillery in the world like middleton. They make almost every spirit there is. All under the one roof and special legislation is needed to deal with that.

I firmly believe that a blend is a whiskey made form one type of grain mixed after distillation with a whiskey of a different type of grain from any distillery 1 or more. If its mixed before distillation, its not a blend. That would suit every one including the US. I also think, Irish Pure Pot Still should be a seperate specisfication. But others may think differently.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:59 pm

I firmly believe that a blend is a whiskey made form one type of grain mixed after distillation with a whiskey of a different type of grain from any distillery 1 or more.


Thanks Centrefire, interesting stuff.

Just on your comment which I quote above; I would have a bit of a query over this definition. Are you saying that it only becomes a blend when whiskies using a comnbination of more than one grain are brought together (after distillation) whether in one or more ditilleries? If several single malts from different distilleries (more than one) are brought together I would think of that as a blended malt, even though they all use the same grain - based on the belief that each has it's own unique character and thus one is blending these characters. Or similarly if different grain whiskies from different disilleries were brought together wouldn't that be a blended grain whiskey? Isn't it the multitude of distilleries that defines a whiskey to be a blend rather than the multitude of grains? To me the word 'single' (as in Single Malt) represents the opposite of the word 'blend' in that it refers to a Single Distillery, not a single type of grain!

Does the way the grain is used make it a different grain. In Irish whiskey the unmalted barley is used. This doesn't make it a different grain does it to malted barley, just the same grain unmodified.

The power of the Scottish industry is such that Irish Whiskey will for the foreseeable future be drwan into whiskey definitions that are at odds with the traditional Irish method of production. Meanwhile the American producers are in no way pressured into meeting a similar set of definitions and vocabulary.

What we all definitely agree is that Redbreast is made in one distillery, it uses one type of grain (Barley, malted and unmalted gristed before distillation, not that this is necessarily pertinent), it is not mixed with whiskey made from corn/maize or wheat etc from column stills or indeed any other source, and it all passes through three pot stills. Therefore there is nothing in it's production that would in any way lead one to call it a blend. One could maybe say that mixed malted and unmalted is somehow a blending of grains prior to distillation! Or one could could discess whether the fact that the residue in the wash still goes to a rectifying column. Sometimes the rescued alcohol comes back into the Wash Pot Still, sometimes it's diverted elsewhere to be used otherwise, but nothing goes into a bottle of Redbreast that hasn't been through the Pot Stills three times.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby centrefire » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:34 am

Hi again. Someone above (I looked but can not find it now) asked about my comment that grain whisky was inferior. I am not saying that, surely Greenore is a good grain and better than some malts. What I was saying was that when the Scotts began making grain spirit in Coffee stills, the Irish claimed it was inferior to Pot still and requested the Royal Commission (1909) not to allow it to be called whiskey. The Commission agreed, but did not forbid its making. Just labelling it whiskey. But that commission (or some appeal procedure) changed its ruling and blended malt and grain became the norm in Scotland. The Irish persisted with their pure pot still make. At the time Irish whiskey was the most popular and most of that was traditional "pure Pot Still". In fact if you stand on the bridge at Kingsbridge station in Dublin and look up stream. You will see the remains of a distillery that a Scottish firm founded in order to make Irish whiskey there. Once the commission made its final ruling, all whiskey was treated the same for revenue and legal terms. And I think rightly so. Andrew Jameson's submission does show a somewhat difference in Scotts/Irish practice.

Now to Pure Pot Head's lines. There is a good lot there and most of it correct in principle. If you go into the Scotch whiskey association website, you will get their definition of a blend (the product of 2 of more distilleries) . I have e-mailed them to ask - if one distillery makes both malt and grain and marries them at that distillery, what is the produce called, I await a reply. Now traditionally a mix from 2 of more distilleries malt and grain was a blend. A mix of malts only was called a "pure malt" or "Vatted Malt" . A recent ruling by the association intends to call the product of more than one distillery "Blended Whisky" or "Blended Grain" or "Blended Malt" . The decision is not without controversy. Now assuming that the message comes back that a blend is the product of more than one distillery, then it does raise the question about one distillery producing malt and grain and mix it. But it must be said that the practice in Scotland is to use the make from between 5 to 60 distilleries, so my scenario is unlikely to arise. My guess is they would rule anew on it and I cannot see a mix of malt and grain not being labelled a blend. What would it be otherwise called? Just "Scotch whisky" , But no scotch is ever labelled just "whisky". So I ask what would it be called? (question 1)
So there is no doubt what the regulations in Ireland and Scotland lay down - A blend is the product of 2 or more distilleries. Period. In Ireland, there is no requirement to label it a blend, either way, but there is a code of practice in Scotland (I thought there was one in Ireland, but not now). Now those are the rules: and I agreed with them, but they do not go far enough.
Surely the consumer is entitled to know what type of whiskey he is drinking. In Ireland, if its labelled Malt or single malt - it should be made from malted barley only. If its grain or single grain it should made from grain in a patient still. That is the position so far. But there is nothing stopping a producer labelling it malt when it is actually grain. Particularly if no one complains. (The Sale of goods act might click in, but there are no rules. ) In fairness to Scotland "if its a blend its labelled a blend". )
I would lay a modest bet that if one was to search all of Scotland, you would not find one bottle of malt married with grain that is not labelled -blended scotch whisky- But neither would you fined a distillery like Middleton. Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore, Mitchell's, Redbreast, under one roof.

If you look to the origin of this discourse "someone asked the question "Is redbreast a blend"? I agree with "Pot still head" that its not. But I further say that redbreast of Mitchells are the only whiskeys coming out of Middleton which is not a blend, from the consumers viewpoint. -Pure pot still head seems to disagree- In reality if it's labelled -Irish whiskey-, and its not malt or grain. It has to be something else, what is that -else-, "-A blend of course- " Or put it another way, WHAT is Jameson? Describe it!. "Pot Still Character" .
Now to my hobby horse! Whats the difference in whiskey made from 100% malted barley and that made from 40% malt and 60% unmalted. (or oats) One could ague that a Lidl's 17 euro whiskey is as good as a 15 year old redbreast @ 115 euros. In fact one can agrue anything.

Well there is a difference, the malted / unmalted produces a final whiskey which is admired as a separate type. The maltyness you get in a good malt is toned down in favour of a fizzy, annaseed, firey nose, the pallet is more pointed and erratic with a hint of the raw barley in the form of soda bread, and the finish follows through never letting the nose and pallet down. I feed cattle with rolled barley and I can smell that same flavour in pot still (not of malt). Pot still is still the favourite in Ireland as Powers is 70% pot still and Jameson is 50%.. Any distiller will tell you that the things that influence whiskey are "The grain, the water, the casks and the length and location of aging" Leaving part of the grain unmalted affects flavour and style.

So to finish: If I as a consumer go out to buy a bottle of my favourite type Irish whiskey, which happens to be the malted/unmalted variety. Am I not entitled to be able to select it from a label description which tells me the contents are actually made from malted/unmalted barley? Most here seem to suggest that I am not so entitled and that producers can stick the words "pure pot still Irish whiskey" on malt or grain so long as it is made in a pot still. By that definition, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon could be labelled "Pure Pot still" as it is made entirely in pot stills in the US.

I concede that if the word "pot still" is unfair to malt producers, then reserve the word "pure" for the real thing or take on a completely new wording. Just correctly label traditional Irish pot still whiskey as a separate entity.

Now: Has no one any sympathy with a fella whose enjoys a Redbreast or Mitchells who sees Tirconnell described in the Sunday Independent as "Pure Pot Still single Malt Irish Whiskey". Goes in a buys it at half the price thinking he has a bargain. Ha: ??? He ends up with Malt. Is that fair? Ha? Another contributor asked, and I agree, if Cooley are so found of trying to tell us there make is "Pure Pot Still" why don't they actually make real "Pure Pot Still".

In case I accused of being anti-Cooley, I consider their Greenore is excellent and I further believe their cask strength Connemara peated single malt it "innovation at its best" and a great drop to boot!!!

In the USA, a blend is strictly labelled, 20% must be real grain whiskey distilled under a certain proof and stored in prescribed oak casks, the rest can be neutral spirits, flavouring agents, colour and water. Straight whiskey must have absolutely no colour or other additives and cannot be blended with other whiskey other than straight whiskey produced in the same state.
If we have an old traditional Irish produce, why don't we mind it. I tell you, you won't market Irish or Scotch in the USA and call it Bourbon, they look after their traditional home grown bourbon, rye, corn and malt without argument, why can't we -the stuff's inventors - do the same? We did do it between 1950 and 1980.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:05 am

I'm not sure if you're referring to my reply about grain whiskey. But if you are, that's not what I said. I was talking about Irish blended whiskey, rather than grain whiskey along.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Pure Pot Head » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:50 pm

Really enjoyed reading your post Centrefire. Very thoughtfully articulated. From my own encounters over the years with people in the Irish whiskey business (all from IDL or Bushmills I must add- unfortunately I haven't met anyone from Cooley yet although I hope to at some point) the view I have met with is that the addition of the unmalted barley to the malt gives a richer creamier texture or 'mouthfeel.' When you chew into a malted barley and it easily crumbles whereas the unmalted is hard and solid it seems to makes sense. There is naturally as whole level of falvour and texture packed into those densely packed grains.
While its certain that whiskey has been made in many ways on this island over the years, I think it's important to celebrate the whiskey style that was most admired in its heyday nationally and globally and that is the Pure Pot Still. Now I know from that oats and other cereals were often mixed in with barley at various times. And one could argue that a Pure Pot Still can be made with addional cereals to barley. Did the old single malt distilleries of Scotland only ever use barley - I'm not sure, would be interested to know more on this. But what we certainly know is that it contained no column still component. Whether or not it has to be triple distilled? - probably not but we know the real giants of Irish whiskey used triple distillation, Powers, Roe, John Jameson and William Jameson.And I have no doubt that they did so to achieve the style and quality they felt applicable. But I don't think I'd lose sleep if someone was to produce a twice distilled 'Pure Pot Still' and call it a PPS. Actually, I don't think I'd lose any sleep if someone produced a twice distilled whiskey using only Pot Stills and added new and interesting cereals flavours and called it a PPS. Once there's no column still component and once there's malted and unmalted barley in there I'd be supportive. I think the fundamental argument of the Irish Distillers in the 1800's was that all centred on the addition of what they saw as a tasteless spirit that by it's column still extraction had taken everything of value and that was recognisably whiskey out of the liquid.

As regards yor interesting question (and I like your tack in that consumers should be told what the whiskey in the bottle is) as to what then is Jameson or Powers if not a blend? Hmm. Maybe IDL never felt there was a call to add anything extra to the label an that saying Jameson Irish Whiskey was sufficient to reassure the prevailing audience. Maybe marketing is pushing the issue and the success of Single Malts over the last few years has raised consumers awareness and desire to understand more specifically what they are buying. If Jameson and Powers were by virtue of their name on the bottle alone, gaurantees of quality for two hundred years, maybe they've slipped behind (again!) on the whole branding/category marketing side of things. I suppose what I'm saying is that perhaps calling Jameson Jameson is enough whatever's in it. It is what it is! But if I take on board your point about consumers in this world of definitions and categories (which often become a bizarre battle of pricing and 'this is better than that' arguments) needing a 'label' then Jameson and Powers could be called Single Distillery Vatting! :lol: Or perhaps, 'Distillery Reserve' (all the other expressions use the phrase 'reserve') and let the back label explain it. Or maybe 'Jameson, Single Malt Plus! Or, Jameson Multigrain??

I give up, I'll never make a marketeer. Perhaps we should ask the Scots to give it a title. Whatever it's called, the idea of putting whiskey made by someone else as some other location into theirs, out f casks they might never have seen, using barley they never signed off seems to confound their sensibilities. That adherence to tradition and commitment to preserving a chosen path should be gotten across in whatever term is conjectured to communicate it.

I would finish with adding to your latter comments, as a whiskey producing country with a fantastic history, colourful, tragic, vast, complex, we should do everything to protect the more unique aspects that define what we were and still maintain albeit to a small degree. As good as a Bushmills single malt might be or a Cooleys innovative inventive boundary shifting creation, I really would urge IDL to do what they do and that is keep alive one of our great and very special traditions. Anyone want to start a petition - more Pure Pot Still please?

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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby Aidan » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:18 am

I believe also that the enzymes in the malted barley help convert the sugars in the unmalted barley, effectively "malting" it to a degree. A very different product to single malt still, of course.
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Re: Redbreast 12 a blend or not?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:35 am

Lets just call it magic and be done with it :wink:

As nobody can fully explain why malt and grain when mixed into a mash make a thicker oilyer whiskey than if the 2 were seperately distilled and blended.


A question to Pure Pot Head ... you seem to be a bit of a fan of Jameson so I presume you drink your fair share of it :smoke: . Do you drink Jameson NAS regularly? Have you noticed it change over the years? I personally think it has become lighter and it seems to have a more metalic taste to it in the last couple years, the same metalic charachter that you can get in greenspot but it is more balanced in the in the PPS.
Because of thT i find myself prefering the 12yo as my regular drink.
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