Redbreast 21 year old is the oldest expression of Redbreast. It is said to be also the richest. Like the other expressions it starts with a mash of malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills. In this case the maturation takes place in bourbon barrels and first fill Oloroso sherry butts.
Redbreast 21 is one of the most awarded Irish whiskeys in the world. They say there’s whiskey up to 25 years of age in the mix, but I couldn’t find any conclusive information. It brings back fond memories of the Redbreast 25 Years for LMdW, long gone now…
Now the only expression I’d still have to try is the oldest Redbreast 27 Year Old, which is a bit of an outsider due to its Port cask influence.
Redbreast 21 yo (46%, OB +/- 2021)
Nose: quite a warm and ripe fruitiness, with melons, apricots and mangoes, soaked in syrupy notes and brown sugar. There’s also this characteristic metallic touch and white pepper. Then bourbon vanilla pods, some minty notes, fragrant blossoms and hints of old wood. After a while some dried fruits appear.
Mouth: the oak spice is taking the lead now (nutmeg, clove and pepper) although it’s quickly balanced by bananas, lychee and lemon peels. Star anise and vanilla. Green tea and menthol appears. The spice becomes slightly earthy towards the end and there’s a nutty note from the sherry casks.
Finish: medium long, going back and forth between oak, spice and dried fruits.
A nice, mature Redbreast. Thoroughly enjoyable. Even if the wood spice is getting quite prominent, the classic fruity qualities are taking the lead. For bottles head over to The Whisky Exchange for instance. Glad I could find a sample at Whiskysite.nl.