Complex and interesting from beginning to end. This is a unique whiskey that stands out from the rest of the Redbreast lineup. Bottled at 46% ABV rather than the legal minimum 40% that other Redbreast labels are bottled at.
The finish is a tad short, and the overall whisky is a just a bit light, as the palate just falls short of the potential that the nose leads me to expect it to have.
Redbreast Lustau is a relatively new release by Ireland’s massive Midleton Distillery, and it appears to have become a mainstay in the Redbreast portfolio for the foreseeable future. To create Lustau, Midleton takes single pot still whiskey aging in sherry and bourbon casks, marries the casks together, then finishes the whiskey for one additional year in 1st fill casks seasoned with Oloroso sherry from Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, Spain. In the producer’s own words:
Redbreast Sherry Finish Lustau Edition was born of a unique collaboration between the Bodegas Lustau and the Midleton Distillery thanks to an old friendship. Redbreast Lustau Edition is initially matured in traditional bourbon and sherry casks for a period of 9-12 years. It is then finished for 1 additional year in first fill hand selected sherry butts that have been seasoned with the finest Oloroso sherry from the prestigious Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, Spain.
So what we have here is a 10-ish year old (the bottle is non-age stated) Redbreast that spent its final year in a fresh cask that previously held sherry from a source of significant renown. Redbreast whiskey has a unique character to it that can be delectable in some forms (such as the 12 year cask strength), but can also suffer from the plague that infects much of the Irish whiskey industry of being bottled at the minimum 40% ABV and chill filtered (such as the standard 12 year). Let’s see how it fares with a healthy boost in ABV and some time in fresh sherry casks.
- Distilled, aged and bottled by Pernod Ricard at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Ireland
- Mash of malted and unmalted barley
- Triple distilled in copper pot stills
- Bottled without chill filtration at 46% ABV
Nose: The aroma opens with an unexpected blend of caramel and dried fruit. Grapes, white flash plums, and raisins all drizzled with caramel. There is an underlying dusty grain mixed with light spices. The overall impression is lighter on the dark fruits than most Sherry finished whiskey.
Palate: The arrival starts with creamy, buttery toffee, followed by a light fruitiness which is dominated by white grape and never reaches the intensity of the fruits on the nose. The caramel is subdued, and spices rise toward the end of the palate along with a bit of pepper.
Finish: More buttery creaminess mixed with spices and pepper, with a bit of oak appearing and lingering for a medium length.
Buying Recommendation: Must try! While Redbreast Lustau may not suit everyone’s tastes, it will likely satisfy many whiskey drinkers who usually avoid Irish whiskey. It is creamy and spicy, and doesn’t take on the typical flavor profile of a single malt scotch finished in sherry. Redbreast Lustau is complex and interesting from beginning to end. It has its own personality that is different from the rest of the Redbreast lineup, and gives the Irish Whiskey aisle another high quality option.