"Very fruity and rather sweet with the expected liquorice and spices behind the sherry influence"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
The first release of a 15-year-old Redbreast expression came in 2005 when Irish Distillers released a limited bottling together with the Parisian whisky shop La Maison de Whisky. It was a try-out to find out if a slightly older (and more expensive) versions with a heavier sherry cask influence would catch attention among whisky lovers. Well, it did, as the bottling sold out within no-time. After years of anticipation, Irish Distillers finally decided in favour a follow-up. Not only that, it also became a regular member of their standard range (and still is). Although the standard 15-year-old did not meet the expectations of many admirers of the original LMDW release, it has been a much loved expression for many fans. In addition, the 15-year-old is non chill-filtered and bottled at 46%, both a step up from the 12-year-old.
It starts much sweeter than other Redbreast expressions with (as expected) more influence of the sherry casks. There are alcohol-soaked raisins, dried plums and reduced plum sauce, while the spices still are in the back. They find their way forward with cinnamon, clove and laurel. Sweet soft liquorice (in Dutch called “shoe laces”), hints of chocolate cake, and a clear scent of fruit liquorice. Despite the significant sherry influence, I do not find very drying. In fact, it gets fruitier and fruitier with a wide array of red fruits. Lovely scent of hot blueberry cake, and after a while more laurel liquorice and sweet ginger. There is even a hint of raspberry.
First impression is round and sweet. Cherries, raisins, many other dried fruits like plums, apples and figs dominate the palate. The initial aftertaste is a bit shorter than expected, but still alright. Luckily there is nice development into cherry-flavoured fruit liquorice, blueberry-flavoured candy, followed by more fruit liquorice. The spirit very nicely integrated, into the cask influence. The delayed aftertaste contains more cherries, white pepper and cardamon.
After both excellent 12-years-old Redbreast releases, this 15-years-old might seem like a slight disappointment. But it is not. Still a very good whisky with more cask influence, leading to more fruits, but also slightly shorter development and aftertaste. Somehow, the sherry casks do not seem to completely full-fill the their potential. On the other side, I am happy to add this one to my growing Redbreast collection.
Big thanks to for sharing the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •