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Redbreast 30 Year Dream Cask Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review - A Deep Exploration of the Rare, Fifth Edition, Double Cask Bottling

Redbreast 30 Year Dream Cask Irish Whiskey

"Attend to the dragonflies, newly arrived. Agate last week, emerald the week before. Turquoise creatures now, damsels I think one calls them, delicate as a grass blade and positively bold. Yesterday, a warm day, I was lying out after a swim and one landed on my knee, fluttered up to my thigh, sat for a while as if aware of the eros attendant in her trajectory, and then demurely took to the sky, only to change her mind and return to land low on my belly. Heart pounding then, my world reduced, incredibly, to that faint tickle, astounded at the ludicrousness of my arousal, and yet completely alive to her.” -Daniel Mason, North Woods

Special moments are often committed clearly to memory. Layer in the inexorable passage of time, and these memories can often metamorph into something intoxicatingly nostalgic. Maybe it's a generational gift of familial knowledge, a passionate kiss that carries the power of phasing situational awareness, a windy day that stirred the heart in a way that cannot be reproduced, or your first time truly experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime whiskey. You can now imagine some of my excitement, when my dear friend Eric handed me this sizeable tome of Irish whiskey lore.

Redbreast dream cask book case

Within the covers of this book lies a 500mL bottle of the fifth edition of Redbreast 'Dream Cask', a whiskey three decades in the making. For this release, master blender Billy Leighton and blender David McCabe decided to combine two casks: one matured in an oloroso sherry butt selected by Billy, and the other in a bourbon barrel selected by Dave. Combining these together after 30-plus years was very intentional, as the fresh sherry butt was filled with a lighter-style whiskey in May of 1990, while the first-fill bourbon barrel was laid down in November of 1991. Given the barrel sizes involved, I ran some quick calculations and came out at around 94 gallons yielded out of ~180 gallons filled, so about half of the original whiskey was lost to the 30 years of the angels stealing their share.

Redbreast 30 year dream cask fifth edition double coask edition

Anyone who has been in the whiskey industry long enough knows that age isn't always everything, but when two blenders decide to put their signatures to work on the label, one can imagine they are willing to stand behind their product. I wonder, will this prove to be pinnacle Midleton whiskey, or were the angels the lucky ones with these casks? Let's pour up a glass and find out!


Company on Label: Midleton Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted and unmalted barley

Proof: 113.8°

Age: 30 years

Further identification: This is the fifth edition of the dream cask release that combined cask number 33794 and 48656; it was bottled in a smaller 500mL format in bottle number 271 of 714, first made available on World Whisky Day, the 31st of May, 2022 at an MSRP of €550


Nose: Holy leather. This glass can be smelled from a mile away—an obviously deep, inviting, redolent whiskey... Lifting the glass to my nose offers an instant parallel to some really old, vintage whiskey; I am reminded of a pour I had of an 18 summers old I.W. Harper bottled in bond whiskey that was distilled in 1916. The feeling in the nose during long, patient inhales is thick and syrupy, as if I held my nose above a cup of grenadine or a jar of pomegranate jelly. Rich plum, juicy pear, and profound peach tones invade the mind as the glass nears the nostrils again. Chasmic echoes of earth, wind, and wood capture attention and refuse to let go. Brown sugar, saffron, vetiver, and graham cracker notes offer wonderful depth for the inquisitive mind. A breeze blowing past carries the smell of a controlled burn of switchgrass, eliciting hints of smoke and baking bread that inspire a hint of hunger. While most Irish whiskeys offer the verdant promise of spring, I find this glass better aligns with the fall season. Aromas of tilth and rain-soaked mulch suggest it is time for entropy to take over at year's end—the great restitution required for future growth. The long, subtle degradation of oak that occurs with extended maturation times is on full display in this glass, with the wood tones that are ever prevalent here never crossing into tannic territory. Late, a hint of clay agglutinates with the sodden soil. Overall, this glass has been worldly, balanced, and well-integrated thus far, but let's venture into a sip before continuing.

Returning to the glass after a few sips shows a reformed experience. One that has moved beyond the mossy bed that came before and is suddenly bright, lively, and sweet. After a long pause, the well-rested glass exudes butterscotch, maple syrup, and caramel tones quite reminiscent of an ultra-aged bourbon. Though the proof is significantly higher than most Irish whiskey bottlings, the aromas are not overt or profound but subtly undulating in demure beauty. My goodness, the butterscotch seduction that occurs in the nose cannot be understated. I could nose this forever. Respiratory exchanges with this glass are resplendent and full of yearning. Like a tendency towards the meeting of the eyes between lovers, I find the glass frequently lifted with fervor and with reverence too. I treat my final sips like liquid gold, for the repeat narrative of the notes above is awe-inspiring. Swirling the little remaining whiskey in the glass aggravates hints of black pepper, allspice, and charcoal before rich vanilla custard neatly restores balance. The empty glass smells of raisin, nougat, and walnut pie. What an incredible experience from start to finish.

Palate: The moment this liquid hits your tongue, it spreads to every corner of the mouth with a sweet mixture of grenadine, maraschino cherry, and plum juice. It's a full-bodied experience well fortified by the sherry influence, carrying walnut and dried apricot. I find some wonderful parallels to a good Bordeaux as well, with earthy plum characteristics shining in the linger. Another sip draws from the nosing experience as strawberry syrup and pomegranate jelly provide an oily, rich mouthcoating. Sipping further feels gluttonous but is obviously worthwhile as the thick, viscous whiskey is once again pervasive in the mouth. Tingles of espresso and graham cracker hit the tongue before a delicate topping of confectioners sugar and nutmeg transform this into a wonderful afternoon delight. I can picture myself in a coffeehouse somewhere in Oregon as pale natural light filters through tall windows, landing with grace on the many glossy wood tones throughout. In the more delicate moments that dither between sips, I find a nostalgic light varnish note I loosely associate with wicker, reed, cane, or cord materials often used for woven chair seats. Tasting near the end of the glass offers candied walnut, almond extract, and praline. It's a bittersweet moment, as I know it will soon mean I will be done nosing this delectable dram. At the sad realization of that moment, I taste resinous cedar influence and sweet raisin. The finish is long but supple and soft, with balsamic sweetness, tobacco, and dulce de leche trickling across the tongue.

TL;DR: A leathery, sweet, old, and bold concoction well fit for consumption


Rating: 5/5

What an exceptional whiskey. Given that there were only 721 bottles of this dream cask release produced, I understand that most will not likely get the chance to taste it. It still serves as a wonderful example of what the blending team behind Redbreast is capable of. My only hope is that this score won't go to the heads of Pernod Ricard's marketing department, as their recent price hikes on some of my favorite Irish whiskeys have certainly curbed my buying habits. Have something to say about this whiskey? Drop me a comment below!

1 comment

1 Comment

Absolutely insane you were able to get your hands on one of these. Congrats! Loved reading about it.

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