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Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition Irish Whiskey Review

The first picture is from Redbreast's website. I've been interested in trying this ever since I saw it was coming soon! I have really, really loved the Redbreast line in general with the PX edition and the 12 year release both earning my rare top rating recently. I am grateful to Alan Starr for providing me with a 2oz sample jar so that I am able to review this tonight! Looking forward to seeing if this release is worth hunting down; now let's try it.


Company on Label: Pernod Ricard (Distilled at Midleton Distillery)

Whiskey Type: Irish Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% Malted and Unmalted Barley

Proof: 101°

Age: NAS

Further identification: This new release from Redbreast is a higher proof than normally seen on Irish whiskeys and is nuanced by its extra finishing in American bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry butts as well as a 4 month aging in hand selected, air-dried American Oak from the Taylor family farm in Kentucky


Nose: Mellow baking spices appear to be hanging around the glass upon first leaning in for a smell. There's soft, creamy vanilla and caramel tones up front with black pepper, candlewax, lemon peel and robust oak that hides a little deeper beyond the surface of the glass. There's a touch of dark funk and corn kernels that feels like a good bit of the bourbon barrel influence does come up. Dusty molasses and loads of caramel continue to pour out of this glass, but there isn't much going on beyond that for me tonight. Time for a sip!

After a sip there is a bright linen note I definitely only typically get on bourbon barrels, particularly most notably on Wild Turkey and Heaven Hill barrels. I find lovely floral & perfume aromas drifting off softly. It continues to have a lot of that dusty oak character thanks to all the different levels of finishing it has been through. I find a sharp copper note as I near the bottom of the glass. The empty glass smells of deep oak, asphalt, and soft dirt.

Palate: My first sip is a lovely sweet presentation of Werther's caramel, plum, sugary raisin, truffle and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette vibe. There's a touch of brine on the mouthfeel and it is overall fairly viscous. This feels notably different to the traditional creamy Irish whiskey mouthfeel one might come to expect from a Redbreast release; this definitely bucks the norm a bit. The caramel and molasses flavors continue to build with subsequent sips. It drinks quite easy, but doesn't give off much wow factor for me tonight. I'm enjoying the silky coffee bean flavors I know and love from the typical triple distillation process in a copper pot still. My last sip is both delicious and unremarkable with vanilla leading the way, followed by grape skins, waffle cones, and a short linger of flan.


Rating: 3/5

I am much more impressed with this release compared to the Redbreast cask strength I tried; it toes the line well between trying too hard to be closer to a bourbon and keeping some Irish tradition in mind. It's not as complex as I'd hope out of a higher price point limited release such as this, but I'd certainly like to enjoy another glass of it at the end of the day.

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