Redbreast 31 Years Old 1985 Dream Cask

Redbreast 31 Years Old Dream Cask (46.7%, OB, Oloroso Sherry butt #41207, 2017)

  • Category: Irish single pot still whiskey
  • Origin: Midleton Distillery
  • Bottling: Redbreast, Billy Leighton’s Dream Cask
  • ABV: 46.7%
  • Cost: ?


What they say


– Celebrate World Whisky Day 2017 with an exclusive tasting of a rare

Redbreast cask hosted by Head Blender, Billy Leighton, on Facebook LIVE –

Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is inviting whiskey drinkers around the world to tune into #RedbreastDreamCask; a Facebook LIVE tasting of a rare and exclusive Redbreast Irish whiskey to celebrate World Whisky Day 2017 at 7pm on Saturday 20th May.

Head Blender Billy Leighton has hand-selected an exceptional Redbreast single cask to mark the occasion and will reveal the age, cask type and tasting notes during the tasting. Billy will lead the 20-minute tasting with Redbreast Apprentice Blender Dave McCabe, from warehouse A1 in the grounds of the Midleton Distillery, to a global audience of whiskey fans.

For the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste along at home, whiskey fans are invited to join the new online Redbreast members’ club, The Birdhouse, before Tuesday 9th May 2017. All they have to do is visit or the Redbreast Facebook page for the chance to take part in the one-off tasting – x20 new members will be announced on 10th May 2017.

#RedbreastDreamCask is a single cask single pot still Irish whiskey that offers a unique take on Redbreast’s full bodied flavour profile, renowned for its signature Christmas cake character – the result of a strong contribution from Oloroso sherry casks. This mystery single cask is destined to be blended into the decorated Redbreast family, but not before its secrets are revealed by Billy and Dave on World Whisky Day.

Leighton and McCabe will take whiskey fans on a whistle-stop journey through the history of Redbreast and share the qualities that make the range the definitive example of single pot still whiskey from Ireland, followed by a tasting of the precious whiskey and a short Q&A.

Billy Leighton, Head Blender at Midleton Distillery, explains: “I’ve poured over our maturing casks at Midleton and have drawn a special expression of Redbreast that demonstrates the character of the family and reinforces single pot still whiskey as the quintessential style of whiskey from Ireland. I’m looking forward to leading the tasting with Dave and slowly revealing the secrets of this mysterious whiskey on Facebook LIVE – it promises to be unmissable experience, as my dream Redbreast cask will never be tasted like this again.”

Watch the full Live tasting:

What I say:

During the Live Tasting on Facebook, Redbreast Master Blender Billy Leighton revealed that this was a 31 year old expression. Distilled 31st October 1985 at the Midleton Distillery, it spent 25 years in ex-Bourbon casks before it was re-casked in 2011 at 48.3% ABV into a 1st fill ex-Oloroso Sherry butt #41207 sourced from Bodega Lustau. There it matured for a further 6 years before we sampled it at cask strength of 46.7% ABV. Billy explained the use of ex-Sherry casks as being part of the fabric of the Redbreast range of single pot still Irish whiskey. This particular cask had been part of a group selected to produce the Redbreast 21 year old expression released back in 2013. Having met and shared single cask whiskey with Billy on numerous occasions I know well that he has a good nose for finding great single casks and this one struck him as something very special indeed. Rather than marry this cask into a standard expression Billy preferred that it was sampled as a single cask and even suggested that it would make a great inaugural bottling for members of Redbreast’s The Birdhouse fan club.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Blood red with amber highlights (12/20) medium tears and legs
  • Nose: Fruity from the outset with a heady mixture of plum, fig, redcurrant and damson jam and more red fruits besides, a delicate spice mix with allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, playdough, putty or linseed oil, beeswax and polished antique oak wood and some sweet estery tropical fruit like ripe banana and fresh pineapple
  • Taste: On the palate this is sweet and fruity, cherry lips sweeties initially and strawberry laces followed by more relaxed and fresher tropical fruit flavours pineapple, banana and melon a slight menthol or eucalyptus edge creeps in from the wood ageing along with some tannins like well stewed tea and a sprinkle of baking spices, orange barley sugars dissolve into damson & redcurrant jam.
  • Finish: Long, sweet, red fruit medley, gentle spices and edged with tannic antique oak wood


An absolutely delicious dram, robustly fruity from the Oloroso sherry cask I was delighted to pick up some of the subtler spices and cereal elements of the original Pot Still whisky in here! Obviously I have been spending far too much time in the company of Billy getting to know exactly these aspects of the superb whisky he serves! I really wish they take on his suggestion of releasing some of this stock as single cask expressions as they reveal facets of the structure and masterful blending that goes into producing the ‘standard’ Redbreast age statements and also offer something a little different at the same time too.

Score 92/100

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4 replies »

  1. Wow, colour me surprised man. I’m super jealous of you getting to try this. I’ve enjoyed Redbreast as I have older and older, and this would be amazing!

    Question: You noted some of the original pot still notes below the Oloroso. Do you feel that they could have kept it in ex-Bourbon and gotten a really interesting subtle dram? And if so, would it still line up with other Redbreast offerings, that have that sherry element?

    Liked by 1 person

    • An interesting question, the Sherry element is integral to and heavily influences the Redbreast range, I have tried something similar from Billy matured in Port at this years meet the blenders evening – which was sublime but massively influenced by the port casks. I’m sure as a Bourbon-only maturation this whisky would still be pretty drinkable, I guess only Billy knows best as I’m struggling to recall if he has poured a bourbon-only pot still expression for us to try?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Makes sense to me. I was with some friends recently trying a whiskey that one of them was sure was the equivalent of a 14 year old Redbreast in ex-bourbon casks, and thought to ask as this was similar.

        Now I want to find a port Redbreast. You’re just making me super jealous today!


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