Redbreast 27 — When Ruby Port met Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 27

In a world that can be turned on its head in a matter of weeks the feeling of permanence is currently a seemingly distant emotion.

It was barely a month ago that I was headed to Dublin to witness the launch of a new permanent addition to the Redbreast family of Single Pot Still whiskeys, Redbreast 27.  I repeat, this is no special edition, or limited run release — Redbreast 27 is here to stay.

Although it’s called Redbreast 27, the truth is that the whiskey was at least 30 years in the making with the Ruby Port casks needing time time be truly imbued with flavour.

30 years may not sound like an extraordinary amount of time compared to some in the single malt category, but it’s worth noting that fortified wine casks have a disproportionate impact on the taste when compared to bourbon casks, and hence the influence of the Ruby Port is supremely evident throughout.

Billy Leighton, Master Blender, RedBreast Irish Whiskey
Billy Leighton, Master Blender, RedBreast Irish Whiskey

The process begins when casks made at a small Portuguese cooperage called Tacopal — not far from the Douro River — are preseasoned for 12 months with red wine. To ensure the oak wood is fully saturated with transferable flavour the casks are then seasoned with Ruby Port for another 12 months before eventually being transported to Midleton for Redbreast use.

Lovers of Ruby Port will wax-lyrical about its deep red colour — hence the name — and it’s this rich colour and fruity flavour that is translated from the seasoned oak casks to the pot still whiskey.

This is still a Redbreast whiskey no doubt, albeit a scordatura if you will; an alternatively tuned whiskey augmented with Ruby Port  to unlock a different set of flavours from the award winning jus.



By Master Blender Billy Leighton and Blender Dave McCabe


Nose: A mix of exotic fruits and red berries, complemented by fresh herbs and wood spices. Vanilla sweetness and treacle toffee combine with the nuttiness of toasted oak.

Taste: Incredibly rich in texture with a luxurious combination of ripe stone fruits and summer berries, balanced by the prickle of a hint of chilli oil. Cherry menthol, vanilla and cinnamon sweet spices complement red pepper, nutmeg and toasted oak.

Finish: A satisfyingly long balance of ripe fruit and wood spices, worthy of a journey of nearly three decades.

Redbreast 27 flavour profile is interesting, a warm, floral aroma greets you as you welcome the amber fluid to your lips. The first taste is succulent and spicy without being sharp. The last is full of that rich Ruby Port flavour, a lingering reminder of the potency that lies therein. Let’s not forget this is a 54.6% cask strength whiskey after all.

My key takeaway is that Redbreast 27 is a whiskey to be savoured and not consumed; by that I mean in the manner you might have the Redbreast 12 on a Friday wind-down, or Saturday wind-up. This Redbreast iteration is made for that one night every now and then you feel like treating yourself to something special — something very special. It’s a treat, wrapped in port, waiting to be gifted.

A gift to myself perhaps..? I don’t mind if I do.

Eli Ankutse, Redbreast 27 launch event, Dublin



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