Redbreast 21 – More Irish than a Leprechaun

Saint Patrick is the fourth century saint who brought Christianity to Ireland, using the shamrock to explain the trinity and driving all snakes off the island. We’ll complete the Redbreast core trinity today, and move on to a very promising sample I received from Douglas Laing, with a story all to its own.

Photo Credit: Irish Distillers

Photo Credit: Irish Distillers

The Redbreast 21 is yet another creation of Billy Leighton, Irish Distillers’ master blender who, together with his predecessor Dr. Barry Walsh, uphold both the tradition and the future of the single/pure pot still Irish whiskey, advanced through the company’s four brands of the style. It’s worth mentioning that Redbreast was a brand owned by a Dublin wine merchant, Gilbeys of Ireland, who filled new make spirit from the Jameson Distillery in Dublin. The decline of Irish Whiskey and Jameson’s closing of the Dublin distillation operation almost drove Glibeys’ Redbreast into extinction, were it not for the Midleton team who revived it in 1991, following the Pernod Ricard takeover.

The Redbreast 21 was too heavily musty for me, a sherried version of the very vegetal Green Spot and Yellow Spot whiskies, but I can understand why some of my friends sing this dram’s praises, as it does open up quite and gets somewhat lighter with the sherry coming out over the mustiness.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Redbreast 21 (46% ABV, NCF)

Appearance: Amber, thin legs form with a lot of droplets that remain on the glass.

Nose: Starts off very musty, classically Irish nose which is somewhat dirty and very acetonic. Hints of lemon, herbal notes, hints of dried fruit and some leather and musty cereal. The time in the cask really took the triple distilled pot still style to its fullest. This is a complex dram, that needs time to breath, as it does the mustiness abates and makes way for the spice and sherry.

Palate: Musty and acetonic, with a sour cereal note. Spice (pepper, white pepper and some faint yet sharp cinnamon) come through with a bitter citrus rind note that comes through as well.

Linger: Sweet with bitter overtones with spice layered behind it and the signature mustiness stays long in the mouth.


Heavy, musty and vegetal, this could have easily been the top “Spot” whisky (say “Red Spot”) above the Green Spot and Yellow Spot. Very complex and interesting.

As with all the Midelton Pot Still whiskies, the quality is very apparent, and for fans of the style, this is a fabulous dram!

I wish to thank Kirsty Clarke and Stewart Craigon of the Whisky Corner for sharing this beauty with me. To friendship!!



One comment on “Redbreast 21 – More Irish than a Leprechaun
  1. donna kuchrawy says:

    I am in love with this whiskey! I just tried some last week in Galway. It is so tasty and smooth! Been loving Makers Mark ,but this is heaven in a bottle!

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