Redbreast Small Batch (2021)
Single Pot Still — Ireland, Ireland
Reviewed March 10, 2021 (edited April 20, 2022)
Nose: Buttery shortbread cookies, but with some bright pineapple and citrus character floating on top. There's a warm, sweet, floral character also coming through, with a toach of oak and vanilla. Fig newtons with icing come to mind. The proof doesn't jump out at you, though makes itself known if you leave your schnozz in the glass long enough. Undeniably Irish, however. Just denser, richer, and a bit more interesting. Just a touch of herbal and grassy bits. Palate: Really concentrated Irish character - shortbread cookies with vanilla. Figs. Creamy with a solid medium-dense mouthfeel. A little barrel bite and some decent tannins are coming through here. Chocolate, raspberries, blueberry sauce. Nutmeg and clove. Black licorice. Black pepper. Slightly oily and coats the palate. This is all midrange and mid palate. Finish: A big splash of licorice, flowers, and ethanol. Oak and sweet vanilla slowly push forward, and then a hot cinnamon and pepper 1-2 punch. Some bitterness also shows up, then things mellow out with chocolate-dipped bananas, vanilla, and whipped cream. That oil content is helping this hang out for a while, lending a medium-long finish. Other notes: This reminds me of two things. One, it's almost like Stagg Jr., but for Irish. A whiskey concentrate that has flavors and aromas dialed up to 11. Two, like Jameson Caskmates Stout but with a pinky sticking out. While the proof absolutely makes itself known, it's not too harsh, instead opting for a more levelheaded, moderated heat that keeps things interesting. I don't have any familiarity with the fabeled Red Breast 12 Cask Strength, so this review is not influenced by that particular expression. That being said, as good as this is, it falls a little short. I want more richness, more density, and less bright fruit. There's nothing inherently flawed going on here, mind. It's just not the character I'm looking for from this particular label. Maybe something I'll seek out from time to time, though not something I'd feel compelled to always have on hand. Hard to reccommend given the price point, though if you're looking for something bigger and bolder and different than your standard Irish, this might fit the bill. Cheers!