March 17, 2014

Review: Redbreast 21 Year - Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the king of Irish beasts!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sadly this time of year both hubby and wifey are head down in our respective corporate caves cranking out work for the end of Q1 - the first quarter of the year for those lucky enough not to know what that means.  So, unlike our younger days when we'd be several pints in by lunch, Paddy's day basically means we pass a few disoriented green-clad tourists on the subway during our ride home.  Well surely that's one of the small costs of getting old.  If we drank twenty beers now we'd probably end up in the hospital anyway.

To alleviate our sentimental angst for younger (& drunker) days, we are pouring ourselves a rare treat: some rare 21-Year pot still Irish whiskey.  Evidently there are also some perks to growing old!

We've been making up for lost time in style the past few weeks with our reviews of Green Spot and Midleton Very Rare.  Both were outstanding.  Redbreast 21 is another new release from Midleton, hitting the shelves this month in select stores.  It's coming in hot, with Whiskey Advocate's award for Irish Whiskey of the Year, and a price tag to match at $220-250 retail.

Redbreast 21 Year

Nose:  The nose is considerably sweeter than both the Green Spot and Midleton.  Instead of the fall fruits - ripe pears and apple cider - we got from those two, the Redbreast 21 has a powerful peach scent - like those gummy peach slices.  It's not cloying, but distinctly sweet and slightly perfumy.  The peaches fade slightly as it opens up and it goes into a little more of a bourbon bouquet with some creaminess, butter, and vanilla.

Palate:  Wifey's first reaction is "Wow!  It's really really delicious!"  Hubby finds it quite impressive as well if a little bit on the sweet side.  The palate goes back to some of the apple cider with some sweet cream and little bursts of the stone fruits - peaches and mangos, green grapes, and ending up on a little bit of white chocolate and wedding cake.

Finish:  This one is 46%, so it's the strongest of the three Irish whiskeys we've reviewed.  The strength definitely helps in the finish, making it the most memorable of the bunch.  It fades slightly longer (still a relatively light finish compared to single malts) drifting out with raisins, wood, and a little spice (cinnamon stick?  nutmeg?).  The wonderful smoothness we've come to expect is there in spades.


We have to give unbelievable points for value and flavor to Green Spot.  It's a great place to start in the realm of pot still Irish whiskey, and you will certainly be able to tell if this is a sweet spot for you or not.  Wifey and hubby diverge on the next two: Hubby preferred the Midleton Very Rare - all the smoothness of the others, with slightly less fruit and a lot more wood.  Wifey loved the Redbreast 21 with it's big full palate of stone fruits and sweets.  You might want to try them in this order.  If the Green Spot gets you going, try the Midleton Very Rare for a special occasion.  And if you're still yearning for a really unique Irish, the Redbreast 21 definitely fits the bill.

Thanks to Martin Brothers for introducing us to some great new releases and Happy St. Patricks Day all!



  1. Awesome tasting notes. Been really curious about this one.

    1. Thanks Josh, this is definitely one you could pick out blindfolded just from the nose! Very unique.

  2. I hadn't bought Irish whisky in a decade but your review prompted me to try Green Spot. Being in the Midwest I was afraid it wouldn't be available but we have a great store where I get most of my scotch. Green Spot in so smooth and drinkable without needing to overthink the flavor profile. I wish it were bottled around 45% but its great anyway. Thanks.

    1. Hi Fred,

      It would definitely be interesting to try it at a higher proof. But glad you liked the bottle. It's definitely unique and worth paying a small premium to try it over standard blends...Thanks for the note!