Redbreast has been one of the success stories for Irish Distillers. Originally a brand of Jameson owned by wine and spirit importer Gilbeys, it has always had an affinity with sherry, possibly because it was first matured in used oloroso casks by Gilbeys. More recently, the limited edition Mano a Lámh was matured exclusively in sherry casks, while the Redbreast Lustau was finished or spent its final year in a sherry cask.
The standard Redbreast 12-year-old (€60) is a fine whiskey, although if you can afford it, the 21-year-old (€190) is one of the best Irish whiskeys available – provided you enjoy sherry. Two limited editions of Redbreast were released recently.
The Redbreast Dream Cask Oloroso Sherry Edition is a 29-year-old pot still Irish whiskey. A mere 924 bottles were produced and were made available exclusively to the members of the Redbreast Birdcage for €520. Even then it was allocated by ballot, and vastly oversubscribed. If you are interested in next year's Dream Cask release, see redbreastwhiskey.com.
This is the fourth Dream Cask release, put together by master blender Billy Leighton and blender Dave McCabe. Aged in a mix of ex-bourbon, sherry and ruby port casks, the whiskeys were married in one single oloroso sherry cask and left to mature for a further 15 months. The Dream Cask 4 is mellow, rich and smooth with complex, lingering flavours of leather, Christmas cake fruits and spice.
The Single Malt Fund is a new venture, a publicly listed Alternative Investment Fund for whiskey and whisky. Listed on the Nordic Growth Market in Sweden, it invests in rare, independent bottlings and collectible whiskies. These are then offered for sale worldwide by The Single Malt Shop, based here in Ireland. See thesinglemaltshop.com for details.
Its first offering was a single cask of Redbreast, a 22-year-old single pot still whiskey that has spent the past 11 years in an oloroso sherry cask. Bottled at full strength (55.9%) it is available for €475. See thesinglemaltshop.com for details. The whiskey is powerful with strong notes of old oloroso, old wood and toasted nuts, along with vanilla and tobacco.