Review: Redbreast Lustau

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! Since the early 17th century Saint Patrick’s Day has been an official Christian feast that celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and aside from the religious aspects of the day it has become a day to celebrate the heritage and culture of Ireland as a whole. Across the world people adorn themselves in green, and shamrocks and leprechauns seem to pop up everywhere while rivers of beer flow from the taps. Instead of going with the colour green myself, I decided to look to the other side of the Irish flag, and I picked the Redbreast Lustau for today’s review.

Aside from the fact that the Redbreast Lustau has an orange-coloured theme to its packaging, I picked this dram because it’s a Single Pot Still. In my opinion the finest category Irish Whiskey has to offer. But not only that, it’s also a category that can exclusively be made in Ireland. And if you look on the box Redbreast themselves state that their whiskey is considered the definitive expression of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. And even though I know that’s not much more than a marketing gimmick, I do agree with that statement on a personal note. Redbreast makes amazing pot still whiskey’s and this Lustau – finished in Oloroso sherry casks from its namesake bodega – is no exception.

Tasting Notes: Redbreast Lustau
Stats:

ABV: 46% (92 proof)

Age: NAS

Distillery: Midleton Distillery

Owned by: Pernod-Ricard

Category: Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

It’s a sunny Saint Patricks Day in The Netherlands and before packing for the weekend to work at a festival in Twente, I decided to make some time for this Saint Patricks Day themed review. It’s still quite early in the day and usually I sip my whiskies a bit later in the afternoon, but I’ve heard it said that your palate is optimal in the mornings so my tasting notes shouldn’t suffer on that fact. I poured the Redbreast Lustau neat into a Glencairn and set about writing.

Nose:

As I approach the glass I’m welcomed by luscious scents of caramel, dried fruit, and chocolate covered almonds. This is a nose that seems perfectly in balance, with none of the scents ever becoming under- or overwhelming. It’s an expertly composed piece of liquid dessert. The dried fruits element consists of prunes, figs, and dates. The caramel is reminiscent of high-quality fudge and/or butterscotch. And the almonds speak for themselves. There’s a marzipan note that could be associated with that almond note as well, and there’s some rich dark chocolate. Adding water puts much more emphasis on the caramel notes in this dram, making them almost reminiscent of the caramel sauce used for topping sundaes.

Palate:

On the palate the sweeter notes of the nose are met with some darker tannin notes. Aside from butterscotch, apples, raisins, and dried plums I’m picking up on notes of liquorice and an array of spices. Nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom all make an appearance. But over-all the sweeter influences combined with the creamy mouthfeel still makes this dram a dessert-like treat. One that reminds me most of a warm – freshly baked – apple cobbler, with a wallop of heavy cream on the side. A treat to be savoured. Water adds some crushed white pepper to the array of spices in this dram and amps up the butterscotch as well. Giving some extra intensity to the palate.

Finish:

The finish only has a medium length, which frankly is less than I expected given the boldness of the flavours in this dram. It’s caramel notes that are carried throughout the finish, combine with the slight bitterness of liquorice root. I guess if Werther’s Original ever decided to make their candy with a liquorice core, you’d get pretty close taste-wise to the finish of this dram. I’m a little bit less a fan of liquorice myself, but a major fan of Werther’s Original. Which leaves me hanging on two thoughts as to whether I like the finish of this dram or not. The added water takes some of the bitter elements out of the liquorice notes, making it much more in balance with the caramel I’m picking up.

Verdict:

I said it before, and I will say it again. This Redbreast Lustau is liquid dessert in a glass. And if I’d listen to my inner child, that would still be the favourite part of my meal. It’s almost a guilty pleasure. In most cases I find myself leaning to a different kind of dram, but when I need a pairing with dessert the Redbreast Lustau never falters. And if you have a sweet tooth, I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed when you pour yourself a dram of this. Water improved this dram even more for me, taking away some of the liquorice notes in the finish that I liked a little less. I bought this bottle for roughly 55 euro, and I think the dram delivers its money’s worth. I for one won’t mind giving this bottle a permanent place on my shelves.

Rating:

88/100

Value:

B

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes. And how I determine rating and value.

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