In 1966 three prominent Irish distilleries (John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distillery Company) merged to form the Irish Distillers Group. The newly formed cohort decided to close their existing distilleries and erect a new facility at Midleton. In 1975 the new Midleton Distillery began production. In 2010 the distillery was vastly expanded and it currently has an annual production capacity of 64 million liters which makes it the largest distillery in Ireland. Midleton is one of the most modern distilleries in the world and has its production monitored by fiber optic linked network. The distillery is currently owned and operated by Pernod-Ricard.
One of the most popular single pot still whiskies produced at Midleton is the Redbreast brand. Single pot still whiskey is slightly different from a single malt whisky in that it is made from a mixed mash of malted barley and unmalted “green” barley. Single malt whisky is made entirely of malted barley. Also pot still whiskey is generally distilled three times while single malt whisky is typically distilled twice. Redbreast is known for their 12 and 15 year expressions and they recently announced a 21 year old. It’s matured in a combination of American Bourbon barrels and first fill Spanish oloroso sherry casks then bottled at 46% ABV. Redbreast 21 is the oldest release in the US and will be available on March 1, 2014.
Nose: honeycomb, pineapple, oranges, green apple, cinnamon
Mouth: soft, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, lime, guava, apple skin, full bodied
Finish: lingering spice, oak, pine, barley
Verdict: The use of unmalted barley adds a distinct pine/green apple fresh flavor to whisky. This whisky is no exception and has a very fresh foresty nose with honeycomb, pineapple, oranges and cinnamon. The nose smells like a sun-kissed forest right after the rain. The palate is full bodied with vanilla bean at the front, then guava, apple skin, cinnamon and cloves. There’s a nice kick of spice at the end which bleeds into the finish. Pine, barley and oak are also evident on the finish. This is a refreshingly spicy dram which has a full bodied tropical flavored palate. It’s very good indeed and is the oldest Irish single pot still whiskey available in the US market. It was a treat to drink this whiskey and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you want to taste the rolls royce of single pot still whiskey, this is it.