A follow-up release to the award-winning and rightly popular batch B1/11, this is the second bottling 12 year old Cask Strength whiskey from Redbreast. A rich and complex single pot still Irish whiskey, packed full of flavour and a big favourite at TWE.
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It’s been remarked upon elsewhere that Redbreast have brought the Cask Strength 12 year old out at the perfect time. While the market is awash with peat, a bit of variation heaven-sent for those palates that just can’t get enough.
Once again, the story of B1/11 is a reminder of the fascinating magic of the Irish ‘pot still’ whiskey-making process. Asking if there’s a difference between B1/11 and B2/B3 isn’t a fair question. To the trained eye and tasting pallet they do present variety in their flavour profile, but they all share the same inherent quality.
Standish Blake of Irish Whiskey.Blog had this to say:
“Over the past few months I have been fortunate to try several different Redbreast casks from the B1/11 release of Cask Strength. One of these that was particularly good was a 17 year old sherry-finished selection that was very fruity and had hints of honey. It would be interesting to see how the 12 year old would compare to this, as the 17 year old had a much longer finish time in the sherry casks.
Well to remind you, here are the tasting notes from the 17 year old:
Nose: An initial sweetness coming over me. Toffee and honey here. A slight hint of the oak but nowhere near as noticeable as in the 12 year old. Fresh fruits start to come through, mainly apples and plums. A crisp apricot-like character comes to the fore and more of the fresh fruit. The fruitiness is getting stronger and is showing through. Like a bunch of ripe fruits next to a waterfall.
Taste: Beautiful sherry sweetness and oak in a beautiful balance. Nuts, raisins and a little honey. Fruit comes through again, this time some tropical fruits which I hadn’t noticed in the nose. Apricots and bananas mainly.
Finish: A nice sweet finish, the sherry is so well integrated here. The flavours last longer than the 12 year old, but the fruitiness doesn’t last as long as in the 12 year old.
Nose: Rich spicy fruit. Slight vanilla and honey, dried apricot and peach. Nutty and oaty as well.
Taste: Oak, sherry sweetness, crème brûlée and preserved fruits. Dried apricot and peach and black-current, raisin, nuts and almonds.
Finish: Sweet and oaky. Slight vanilla. Hint of spice. This lingers and becomes quite drying. The longer it goes the drier it becomes, getting to the point where I’m actually drying out my mouth and it feels like I have a mouthful of cotton wool.”
With this in mind I approached my glass with intent. It’s a lighter colour than B1/11 in the bottle, but this is the same colour as B1/11 after a little time in the glass. It’s a cool gentle start with a dryness that surprises.
The first taste is dry and very initially spicy. Literally a couple of seconds in and the spice is textural as well as an off-aroma. Absolutely delicious.
The next moment it becomes very sweet. Honey sweetness, but this is clearly different from the honey of B1/11. Cranberry and cherry fruit are strong here, while the spice is still a feature. I get a slight oak influence as well as a lingering citrus pine.
I find the citrus pine very interesting, it reminds me of sweet, dried pineapple. It’s an evocative, interesting flavour, with a delicious sharpness.
There’s a deep earthiness there as well, something deep and aromatic. I’d say it’s the sort of thing that reminds you you’re drinking whiskey, but definitely not in a bad way. You’re there, in a whiskey. You just feel comfortable.
As the whiskey continues, the citrus pine becomes orange peel, and I wonder if there’s a touch of chocolate. This whiskey does remind me of a certain type of chocolate liqueur.
There’s a deep earthiness and a cooling, spicy cooling. A burn that’s neither astringent or harsh, it’s a sweet, lingering burn that builds in the mouth.