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Redbreast 12

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Redbreast 12

Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:33 pm

One of my long time favourite whiskies! Had a discussion with someone lately about the flavour of this one. I haven't had one in a while but I've always thought of it as having a pronounced sherry character - although to a lesser extent than the also lovely Redbreast 15. The discussion which has taken place revolves around the finding of a strong bourbon taste as well. Now, I cannot recall such a taste, but I was puzzled by the fact that Irish Distillers themselves state it's a pure pot still which has been matured in both bourbon and sherry casks.

I cannot remember any apparent bourbon taste but I could be wrong of course - and taste is after all a subjective matter but I thought I'd ask if anyone here has found strong tastes of bourbon - or if the vatting of the Redbreast 12 might have been changed in the last year or two?

Cheers!
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:26 pm

Well I'm no expert but would it not be the case that where you mix sherry and bourbon cask this mainly has the effect of toning down the sherry as opposed to introducing any bourbon taste to the whiskey?? Often the attraction of the bourbon cask is that it lets the whiskey rather than the previous contents of the cask show through.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:34 pm

Good points, I didn't think of that. So the introduction of "bourbon matured" whisky could be to "water down" the sherry character - or balancing it? Well, it makes sense as - although I love the 15 - I still think the 12 is the better one. I feel the pure pot still character isn't drowned in sherry. It's still nothing short of wonderful though.

Edit: not that it matters but is the 15 also a vatting of bourbon and sherry matured whisky or is it mostly sherry matured?
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:53 pm

Mr Fjeld wrote:Good points, I didn't think of that. So the introduction of "bourbon matured" whisky could be to "water down" the sherry character - or balancing it? Well, it makes sense as - although I love the 15 - I still think the 12 is the better one. I feel the pure pot still character isn't drowned in sherry. It's still nothing short of wonderful though.

Edit: not that it matters but is the 15 also a vatting of bourbon and sherry matured whisky or is it mostly sherry matured?


With regard to the 15, I don't know. It doesn't taste like it's all sherry so I'd imagine it's both, but as to percentages, I wouldn't have a clue. If Aidan's out there somewhere he might have some idea.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:45 pm

Ok, thanks Ian. I sent an email to Irish Distillers - don't expect any answer as I think several of you have said they play it close to their chests.......
If they do I'll post it here though.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:18 pm

The 12 yr old is a mix of a strong sherry butt, a lighter sherry butt and a bourbon barrel. They all range from 12 to 14 yrs. I'm pretty sure the 15 is similar, but I don't know.

I got to taste them all separately, at cask strength, which was very interesting.

I'm not sure if I have ever got a bourbon flavour from a bourbon barrel matured whiskey - just the vanilla notes from the wood.

Irish whiskey has some bourbon character, though, because of the unmalted barley, though. In my opinion, of course. Also, the Jameson Gold has a bourbon character due to some of the ingredients being matured in virgin oak.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:53 am

Aidan wrote:The 12 yr old is a mix of a strong sherry butt, a lighter sherry butt and a bourbon barrel. They all range from 12 to 14 yrs. I'm pretty sure the 15 is similar, but I don't know.

I got to taste them all separately, at cask strength, which was very interesting.

I'm not sure if I have ever got a bourbon flavour from a bourbon barrel matured whiskey - just the vanilla notes from the wood.

Irish whiskey has some bourbon character, though, because of the unmalted barley, though. In my opinion, of course. Also, the Jameson Gold has a bourbon character due to some of the ingredients being matured in virgin oak.

Thanks for the info Aidan - exactly what I was looking for!

You have a good point with the vanilla - although I've had a few whiskies which have had a trace of bourbon. A single cask Arran I have open now is quite bourbony imo.

Some whiskies - even so called "sherry whiskies" have clearly been influenced by the wood just as much as the former content with a strong taste of american oak and strong similarity to small batch bourbon. I suppose it may often be the oak as well as the former contents which imprint the character..........but I won't get into that....
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:15 am

I remember getting an oak floor down in the house. With all the cutting etc, the house smelled like whiskey for weeks.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:52 am

Aidan wrote:The 12 yr old is a mix of a strong sherry butt, a lighter sherry butt and a bourbon barrel. They all range from 12 to 14 yrs. I'm pretty sure the 15 is similar, but I don't know.

I got to taste them all separately, at cask strength, which was very interesting.

I'm not sure if I have ever got a bourbon flavour from a bourbon barrel matured whiskey - just the vanilla notes from the wood.

Irish whiskey has some bourbon character, though, because of the unmalted barley, though. In my opinion, of course. Also, the Jameson Gold has a bourbon character due to some of the ingredients being matured in virgin oak.


I told you he'd know. Where do you find out all this stuff?
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:01 am

I was at a tasting a few years ago hosted by Barry Walsh. He brought in samples from each cask. One sherry one is from a first-fill - and it was too sherried on its own. In fact, they were all better mixed than they were on their own. The bourbon was the best of them.

Mr Walsh is a very humble man. I've been to many tastings. Usually they say that their whisky is the best or the most complex and it stunning etc. Barry Walsh says things like: "this one is quite nice."
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Leither » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:51 am

Guys, thanks for above info - a very helpful insight.

Recently I've been interested in expanding my tastes to Irish and really like a Black Bush, nice and fruity (dried fruits) and spicy. I think it's that I like the sherried style on 'lighter' drams.

How would a BB compare to say a Redbreast 12 or a Jameson 12? Or is it a case of no real comparison as I'm comparing a 'Scotch style' blend against an Irish pure pot still or pot still blend.

I think I know the difference between a scottish malt and irish pot still (ie just malted barley versus a mix of unmalted and malted barley) - am I right in saying the RB12 is a pure pot still whereas the J12 is a blend of pure pot still and grain?
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:57 am

Leither wrote:Guys, thanks for above info - a very helpful insight.

Recently I've been interested in expanding my tastes to Irish and really like a Black Bush, nice and fruity (dried fruits) and spicy. I think it's that I like the sherried style on 'lighter' drams.

How would a BB compare to say a Redbreast 12 or a Jameson 12? Or is it a case of no real comparison as I'm comparing a 'Scotch style' blend against an Irish pure pot still or pot still blend.

I think I know the difference between a scottish malt and irish pot still (ie just malted barley versus a mix of unmalted and malted barley) - am I right in saying the RB12 is a pure pot still whereas the J12 is a blend of pure pot still and grain?


Hi Leither

There is a very slight similarity between the Black Bush and the Redbreast, I think, although they are completely different kind of whiskey. I don't know why, but the Bushmills whiskeys taste significantly different to Scottish triple distilled malts - Auchentoshan in particular.

Not meaning to split hairs, I don't think there's any scottish style blends like Black Bush, because it only contains two whiskeys - from two distilleries. And it is 70 to 80% malt. They get the grain from Midleton.

The Redbreast is a pure pot still, which is just like you described it. I'd say it's something that not everyone would like at first try, but it really grows on you.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:18 pm

Leither wrote:Guys, thanks for above info - a very helpful insight.

Recently I've been interested in expanding my tastes to Irish and really like a Black Bush, nice and fruity (dried fruits) and spicy. I think it's that I like the sherried style on 'lighter' drams.

How would a BB compare to say a Redbreast 12 or a Jameson 12? Or is it a case of no real comparison as I'm comparing a 'Scotch style' blend against an Irish pure pot still or pot still blend.

I think I know the difference between a scottish malt and irish pot still (ie just malted barley versus a mix of unmalted and malted barley) - am I right in saying the RB12 is a pure pot still whereas the J12 is a blend of pure pot still and grain?


And you're right about J12 being a blend of pot still and grain. Aidan will, I'm sure, confirm this, but again, like BB, the grain only accounts for about 20% of the blend. I think that's what sets a lot of the higher quality Irish blends apart - the higher pot still or malt content.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Leither » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:23 pm

Cheers guys - ta v much. I agree that Bushmills is very different from Scottish triple distilled and also that Black Bush has no comparator.

I have noticed recently that Diageo are really starting to push Black Bush over here and quite right too, they have a unique product and a very fair price in relation to quality.

Will try some Redbreast 12, and hopefully even some 15, before I buy - lots of chat around here has me interested in pure pot still.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:25 pm

Diageo have doubled production at Bushmills, so they must be planning on increasing sales significantly in the future.

It's a hit and miss distillery for me. Some of their stuff is very average, and other stuff is really excellent. The 1975 Millennium is one of my favourite whiskies. Although it's a long time since I've tried it.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:35 pm

I've noticed and often wondered about the similarities between BB and RB. Is it possible that whatever similarites there are arise because they both contain a mix of malted barley and unmalted grains, one mixed before distilling and the other after?? Now I know that's a long shot because that means all blends should have the same characteristics, but maybe it's something specific to the mix in this case.

Also I've heard someone claim that the grain in BB is distilled in a pot still. I presume this is incorrect??
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:06 pm

I personally think why Irish has such an image problem is that they are all so smooth and dam drinkable. Now that maybe a stange problem to have.

However Redbreast 12yo and Jameson 12yo eventhough rich with a bit of spice are fairly smooth and have some similarlities but to us who drink them can see the difference. Then you have Bushmills Black Bush another very drinkable dram and eventhough again smooth also very rich if flavour with the christmas cake mix and spice thing going on (just different).

So here in may lie the crux ..... all too bloody good and smooth :wink: . So if people don't often taste them side by side they may get the impression that they are very much the same.

Further from the truth if you ask me. BlackBush imo is very much different to RD 12 or J12. But then maybe I'm the one splitting hairs :roll:

Anyway it's all good :thumbsup:
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby IainB » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:53 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I personally think why Irish has such an image problem is that they are all so smooth and dam drinkable. Now that maybe a stange problem to have.

However Redbreast 12yo and Jameson 12yo eventhough rich with a bit of spice are fairly smooth and have some similarlities but to us who drink them can see the difference. Then you have Bushmills Black Bush another very drinkable dram and eventhough again smooth also very rich if flavour with the christmas cake mix and spice thing going on (just different).

So here in may lie the crux ..... all too bloody good and smooth :wink: . So if people don't often taste them side by side they may get the impression that they are very much the same.

Further from the truth if you ask me. BlackBush imo is very much different to RD 12 or J12. But then maybe I'm the one splitting hairs :roll:

Anyway it's all good :thumbsup:


I wouldn't say the same. There's that big maltiness in BB that the other don't have. It's just seems to me that deep down there there's some similarities also. Maybe it's just imagination?
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby Aidan » Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:16 am

No, I get that too. The similarities, that is.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby centrefire » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:37 am

Black Bush is a mix of C 75% single malt spirit of about 7 year old with a grain portion from middleton after distillation and maturation.. Redbreast is a Pure Pot Still (40% malted barley mixed with 60% unmalted barley (prior to fermentation)and (prior to maturation) There is no similarity between them other than they are both tripple distilled in Ireland.

I always felt, that if Black Bush is a good whiskey, then the malt eleiment it is made from should be a good whiskey on its own. i.e. 10 year old single malt bushmills. I find nothing great about the 10 YO.

And therefore I am sory to add, nothing great about the Black Bush.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby AdamMY » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:36 pm

centrefire wrote:Black Bush is a mix of C 75% single malt spirit of about 7 year old with a grain portion from middleton after distillation and maturation.. Redbreast is a Pure Pot Still (40% malted barley mixed with 60% unmalted barley (prior to fermentation)and (prior to maturation) There is no similarity between them other than they are both tripple distilled in Ireland.

I always felt, that if Black Bush is a good whiskey, then the malt eleiment it is made from should be a good whiskey on its own. i.e. 10 year old single malt bushmills. I find nothing great about the 10 YO.

And therefore I am sory to add, nothing great about the Black Bush.


I think you are underplaying the Blackbush and a rather unfair claim about it needing to be like the 10 year old. It is my understanding that all or nearly all of the malt for Blackbush is matured in Sherry Casks, where as the 10 year old is possibly finished in them (not sure on that, it just says matured in two woods, and the web site only mentions Bourbon barrels).

While the 10 year old is not spectacular, the 16 is quite an improvement, which sounds like a vatting of Bourbon and Sherry casks, finished in port. I have not tried the 21 year old so I can not say anything about it.

But in all fairness I think you'd need to try a Bushmills completely sherry matured malt, to be able to make that sort of claim about the Blackbush.
As the malt only means so much, quite a bit of it is the cask it is matured in.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:44 pm

centrefire wrote:I always felt, that if Black Bush is a good whiskey, then the malt eleiment it is made from should be a good whiskey on its own. i.e. 10 year old single malt bushmills. I find nothing great about the 10 YO.

And therefore I am sory to add, nothing great about the Black Bush.
th

I agree with Adam. And I think you have totally missed the obvious. The 10yo is a Bourbon dominated whiskey (if not exclusively) where as the Blackbush is a sherry dominated whiskey therefore it is a completely different whiskey and to compare the 2 is just not right.

I personally think Blackbush is a much better whiske than the 10yo and whether it used 7yo malt or even 3yo malt should not come into it as it is still one of the best blends one can buy period (not just Irish).

In relation to sherry matured Bushmills ... get youself a cask strength sherry single cask from bushmills and see it's true potential ... it is an amazing whiskey.

Further you cannot even compare like with like ... the new 1608 is exclusively bourbon barrel and totally a different drink to the 10yo.
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Re: Redbreast 12

Postby dram0whiskey » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:56 am

For the record my favorite whiskey is Bushmills 21, heaven in a glass.........It is very expensive and I am not rich so I only buy 3 bottles a year.............I like Redbreast because it is a pure pot still and that is what real Irish whiskey is and it is a very very smooth whiskey I usually buy 6 bottles a year.........However my normal evey day dram is Black Bush...........It has a very unique flavor I can't compare ot to any other whiskey I have tried.............You get a lot of fine whiskey (IMHO) for what you pay for..........
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