Earlier this year, when we caught our readers up on Redbreast’s PX Edition from 2021, we also noted the buzz around this bottle, Kentucky Oak Edition, another limited release from Midleton Distillery that hit shelves in the summer of 2022. There’s quite a bit going on with this one, so I’ll just let the press folks explain things:
Redbreast Irish Whiskey, created by Irish Distillers at Midleton Distillery, is embarking on an exciting new chapter as it unveils a dedicated whiskey collection for the United States. The American Oak series celebrates the influential and integral role of native wood in the production of Redbreast Irish Whiskey, giving provenance to the wood and unique American Oak influences to the whiskey.
The first limited release in the innovative series, Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition, is made from malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills and matured in American Oak Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso sherry butts, before being finished for a period of 3 to 7 months in naturally air-dried PEFC certified [read: sustainably harvested] American Oak sourced from the Taylor Family’s Elk Cave Farm in Kentucky. These casks have been hand selected for finishing, using the best quality white oak, to impart additional sweet notes of vanilla and elevated wood spices.
So, just to be clear, this is classic Redbreast with a unique virgin oak finish. And not just any virgin oak. Only 63 casks were used for this release, all made from lumber harvested from the same sustainably managed farm in Kentucky. Let’s check it out.
The aroma isn’t much altered from the classic pot still character of traditional Redbreast 12. Healthy layers of warm nuts, citrus, and spice are present, all wrapped in a honeyed, malty embrace. There’s perhaps a bit more shaved coconut in the mix, but outside of that, there’s not much evidence of the finishing cask on the nose. The palate, however, is something altogether different. And fantastic. Sticky vanilla bean and banana pudding give way to buttery peach cobbler and Italian almond cookies. It’s impressively balanced with a rich, complex sweetness that’s never too decadent. Woody spices, exotic and warming, offer a well-integrated contrast and allow the creamy, dessert-inspired profile to really shine. The finish is long and lush with vanilla cream, candied apricots, and apple strudel. It’s going to be hard for Redbreast to top this debut Oak Edition going forward. But I look forward to watching them try.
A / $100 / redbreastwhiskey.com