Booze Review

Whiskey Review – Redbreast 15

Since Mrs. G-LO and I have tickets to see Lisa Hannigan (an Irish singer / songwriter) on Thursday night at Milk Boy Philly, I thought I would celebrate the occasion with a review of the Redbreast 15, a traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (for a bit of Irish Whiskey history, click here to read a fine article by our friend Patrick of the “wordsonwhisky” blog).

The Redbreast 15 is produced by Irish Distillers at the Midleton Distillery which is located in Ireland’s County Cork. Here is what Irish Distillers has to say about this whiskey:

Redbreast 15 Year Old is matured in a combination of Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and American Bourbon whisky barrels. Bottled at the higher ABV strength of 46%, Redbreast 15 Year Old is non chill filtered.

Here are my impressions of this whiskey…

  • Appearance: Golden honey color. Thick, slow moving legs creep down the insides of the glass after giving it a swirl.
  • Aroma: Toffee. Vanilla. Rum soaked raisins. Adding water brings out some cinnamon and ground ginger.
  • Taste: Somewhat oily mouthfeel. That first sip warms the middle of your tongue. Starts with subtle maple syrup sweetness. A bit of cinnamon spiciness builds towards mid-palate, with some subtle smokiness far off in the distance. The finish, which lingers for quite awhile, is all mild cinnamon spiciness and toffee/caramel sweetness. Adding water enhances the spiciness a bit, but never to the point of making it overwhelming.
  • ABV: 46%

I have had the Redbreast 15 on numerous occasions during our weekend dram sessions, but this is the first time that I was able to sit down on my own and really explore it. Smooth, full flavored, and very well balanced are three ways to describe the Redbreast 15. I enjoyed it so much that I found myself adding more whiskey to the glass throughout this tasting. If you’re curious about whiskey, but don’t know where to begin your journey, then I highly recommend that you try the Redbreast 15 (the 12 is also excellent). It is both very accessible for a whiskey novice, and full of enough surprises to keep even the most jaded whiskey lover entertained for many, many drams.

Many thanks to Limpd for lending me his bottle of this fine Irish whiskey!

One more thing…

Here is a YouTube video of Lisa Hannigan. Pour yourself a dram of your favorite whiskey while you enjoy this lovely performance. Slainte Mhath!

32 replies »

    • It’s less of a loan program and more like an exchange or bartering program. We feel that if we share our elixirs then we are just being neighborly and it is harder for our spouses to call us drunks.


  1. Thanks for including the video – great stuff! Love the unusual instruments, the xylophone in particular. I’m going to crack open some Irish whiskey (it’ll have to be Bushmills 16, alas no Redbreast left 😦 ) and give this another listen. It’s going to be a sensory banquet.


    • Yo Patrick!

      Glad you enjoyed the video! I’m looking forward to seeing her in concert. Should be a fun, yet intimate show (only 200 people!). Damien Rice is an absolute idiot for dropping her from his band.



  2. I found that the Redbreast was a nice migration between the Jameson 12 and the Jameson 18 and the Midleton Very Rare. And, I wouldn’t say it was a loan so much as you commandeered the bottle as a hefty penalty for my delay in reviewing it. Talk about learning a lesson the hard way.


  3. It’s a lovely drop, the Redbreast. I recall Freddie took a bottle to Islay with him last year and it was the first to go. After a whole day of smoke monsters, a dram of Redbreast goes down great.


    • I totally agree! While I enjoy what you wild and wooly Scots can do with a whisky, there are times when something a bit more subtle is in order. I hear there’s a cask strength Redbreast 12 coming out soon. Soooo curious to give it a try!


  4. Where to start?

    A – The Red Breast 15 Rocks! One of my favorites and I am glad someone finally got around to honoring this excellent dram with a review.

    B – Lisa Hannigan! The Wookie loves Lisa Hannigan. Irish, great music, and a cutie. Glad to see you are on the Lisa Hannigan band wagon

    C – If you going to drink Red Breast and need a proper Lisa Hannigan video to enjoy with it I suggest this version of “I Don’t Know” recorded in Dick Mac’s Pub in Dingle to add to the one posted above:

    D – I am feeling a new blog project — Malt and Music Monday’s: A Whiskey review and a featured favorite artist. Thoughts? Comments?


    • Thanks Wookie! Based upon your comment, I gather that you concur and were pleased with the review.

      As far as Malt and Music Monday’s, I’m all for it! I’ve had Music/Drinks pairings on the brain for quite some time which is why I throw in the occasional video when I think it fits with the review. Here is a blog post that I read about a year ago:

      I really like the author paired beer and songs. It helps that I’m a big fan of the album he chose.


  5. Just connected to your blog via Greg’s and I’m digging the site. I enjoy a good whiskey as part of my gluttonous diet, but have sampled the Redbreast yet. Many thanks for the tip. Cheers!


    • Thanks for the compliment and the comment Jed! The 12 is also excellent and much easier to find (cheaper too). Any good Irish bar will stock it for sure.



  6. Redbreast is my glass of choice when “waxing Irish”. I have a bottle of Midleton Very Rare, which is my special occasions dram, but the 15 is beautiful. So balanced and the finish is a marathon winner for me. Not really a Scotch man, which I’m finding out despite buying my 5th bottle of Scotch just last week, determined to find one I like outside of Double Black. Next is Aberlour Abunadh, and if that doesn’t work I’ll likely give up entirely. But yes, Redbreast = good.


    • Yo Chuck!

      Thanks for the comment. Redbreast and Midleton are wonderful whiskies for sure. I would never turn down a glass of either.

      As far as the Abunadh goes, we are big fans of that whisky! Very potent and full flavored. Look forward to hearing what you have to say about it.



    • Chuck,

      The Redbreast is fantastic and I had a bottle of the special occasion Midleton that disappeared after Pappy came to visit. As for Scotch, I’m not sure what you may have tried but the range of flavors is all over the place. The Aberlour Abunadh is cask strength so you may need to water it down to an acceptable proof. Also, Aberlour runs out three versions a year and flavor differs from cask to cask. I have had cask 28 and 36 and they were both very nice. If you like the Redbreast, I’d lean toward Dalmore, the Macallan or Highland Park as the flavor profile is somewhat sweet and milder. I would avoid anything from Islay or Campbeltown as the smoke and the brine might lead you to conclude that Scotch is just god awful when it is really a very pleasant drink.

      Happy Hunting!


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