To follow on from my review of the Scottish Malts that were on show on the night, which can be found by clicking here, I shall move on to the next two whiskies that were being sampled.
For this we moved across the Irish Sea from Scotland to Ireland and were dished up the ever popular Redbreast 12yr old and Bushmills 16yr old.
As with all the whiskies the drams were poured from a freshly opened bottle and these two were both bottled at 40% ABV.
Redbreast 12yr old is an Irish Single Pot Still whiskey, which is a style unique to Ireland and is only produced at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork. It's created by making a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley and came about many years ago, in the 18th century, as a way of easing the cost of taxes that were being imposed on malted barley.
Nose - AMAZING!!!! Smooth vanilla, creamy nougat bars, fresh light spice with big whacks of ripe banana and coconut. The nose continues with some dried lemon / orange peel and a touch of fruitcake.
Palate - Fantastic oily mouthfeel, coats the inside of the mouth beautifully. Creme Brûlée, gentle spice, toffee, caramel, pineapple, lemon, and some sark fruits. It's a great combination of fresh zingy citrus with some comforting sherry style notes. Truly awesome.
Finish - Long, lingering and incredibly moreish.
This really is a whopper of a whiskey. Can easily hold it's own against anything in the world and sets you up perfectly to move further through the Redbreast family which is highly impressive all round.
At this point I would have happily stayed with the Redbreast all night but we rapidly moved onto the Bushmills 16yr old.
This is a triple distilled single malt from the Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim. The new spirit is matured separately, for 16 years, in bourbon and sherry wood before being finished off in port wood.
Nose - Massive red fruits, strawberry jam, raspberry puree, fruitcake, light banana, clove spice, wood spice, mulled wine syrup, mince pie in all butter pastry. Xmas pudding in a glass!! It's also worth nothing that the colour is amazing….caramel added???
Palate - Big, rich, warming, festive, spiced berries, mixed spice, nutmeg, dried fruit and nuts, some dark chocolate. This is one for sitting in front of the fire with all day on 25th December.
Finish - Warming with xmas cake, mixed spice and more dark chocolate.
This dram is amazing in it's own right. The marriage of bourbon, sherry and port wood is seamless and gets richer and richer the longer it stays in the glass.
It's almost impossible to choose between these two whiskies but for me the Redbreast edges it. Although it's a debate I'll enjoy pondering for years to come.
Next up, to finish my review of the night off, we'll be moving across the globe, from west to east stopping at USA, Taiwan and Japan with a wee cheeky finish in Belfast (Dundalk). All shall be revealed tomorrow.
Until next time,