Irish whiskey

Redbreast 32 Years Old 1985 Dream Cask (46.5%, OB, Oloroso Cask #41207, 816 Bottles, 2018)

Whiskey Review: Redbreast 32 Years Old Dream Cask

  • Category: Irish single pot still whiskey
  • Origin: Midleton Distillery
  • Bottling: Redbreast, Billy Leighton’s Dream Cask
  • ABV: 46.5%
  • Cost: €500 (sold out)

 Redbreast Dream Cask

What they say

Redbreast Dream Cask is a limited edition, 32 Year Old single pot still Irish whiskey – a single cask that was hand-selected last year by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, as his favourite Redbreast whiskey. The cask was chosen for having the perfect balance of pot still, Spanish oak and sherry flavours, which can usually only be achieved through blending – bringing to life Redbreast’s signature sherry style.

The whiskey was originally unveiled during a Facebook LIVE tasting to mark Redbreast’s World Whisky Day 2017 celebrations. Participants and viewers praised the quality and rarity of what is now the oldest Redbreast Irish whiskey ever to go on sale, with many requesting that the whiskey be made available to buy.

Redbreast Master Blender, Billy Leighton, commented: “In almost 40 years as a blender, Redbreast Dream Cask is a real highlight as I am able to select my own, personal dream Irish whiskey and share it with the world. Our inaugural tasting in 2017 was by far the largest whiskey tasting I have ever held, and the feedback we have received from the whiskey community on the liquid has been phenomenal, so it’s an honour to see it bottled to mark World Whisky Day 2018 – and watch this space for our 2019 plans.”

The Redbreast Dream Cask represents the perfect contribution of flavours through a careful maturation journey rounded out by a particularly sublime sherry butt. The original date of bonding goes back to 31st October 1985, with single pot still Irish whiskey filled into re-fill American Oak ex-Bourbon barrels. Then, on 8th March 2011, the whiskey was re-casked into a first-fill Oloroso Sherry-seasoned butt. The resulting whiskey is luxuriously smooth with wood resin notes reminiscent of well-polished antique furniture, lots of ripe fresh fruit flavours and an extremely balanced finish that slowly fades.

Redbreast Dream Cask is bottled without the use of chill-filtration at 46.5% ABV and is available in very limited quantities through Redbreast’s online private members’ club, The Birdhouse, for €500 per 50cl bottle. Click here to visit The Birdhouse.

Brendan Buckley, Strategy, Insight, Innovation & Prestige Whiskeys Director at Irish Distillers, added: “What started out as a celebration of Redbreast on World Whisky Day has developed into the release of a limited edition directly requested by Redbreast fans. We didn’t know it then, but World Whisky Day 2017 was just the beginning for Redbreast Dream Cask and we look forward to what Billy Leighton, and his apprentice Dave McCabe, will find in our Midleton warehouses in the years to come.”

Redbreast Dream Cask tasting notes, by Head Blender Billy Leighton

  • Aroma: Combination of fruit, herbs and spices. Notes of orange peel and blackcurrant that move to deeper richer notes including dark chocolate and bitter almond with a heavy oak influence in the background
  • Taste: Mixed fruit tones within the typical style of Irish single pot still whiskey. Light touch of menthol to liquorice. Exotic fruits alongside spices, herbs and Spanish toasted oak
  • Finish: The balance of fruit, oak and barley is slow to fade

What I say

Originally sampled on World Whisky Day 2017 at a mere 31 Years Old, this cask has been left a little bit longer. Reaching 32 Years Old and also dropping from 46.7% to 46.5% ABV in the intervening period before being officially bottled by Redbreast as one of the oldest Irish single pot still whiskeys ever bottled.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Golden ruby (13/20), numerous, slow, fine tears leave long tapered legs.
  • Nose: Freshly polished antique wood, musty, leathery tannins and tobacco leaf, fruity, figs, dates, red berries, redcurrants, plum & damson jam, muskovado sugar, some lighter dried linen and slightly perfumed floral elderflower aromas, classic baking spices; vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Taste: Toffee and chocolate, smooth but with a bite of spiced ginger, toasted ryebread; indicative still of the unmalted barley component, oak wood, cigar boxes, fig jam, blackberry, elderberry, quite earthy and herbal, with hints of eucalyptus and liquorice root.
  • Finish: Long, herbal tobacco and woody spices with sherry fruit.

Overall

Despite being only 1 year older, I found this much more woody and redolent of chocolate then the last time we sampled it. A lot of the tropical fruit elements were hidden behind a much earthier, darker chocolate and older wood. The really reminded me of some great red wines wherein the fruity black and elder berry notes have a distinct earthiness to them adding great body. A different experience but still a very, very good whiskey!

Score 92/100

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