Redbreast 21 Year 2020 Release (New Box) 46%

Nose: It’s a shy nose, which requires coaxing. Cinnamon honey graham crackers. Toffee. Dry dusty cardboard. A strong smell of crushed cardamom pods. And perhaps a shake of nutmeg. An herbal note, approaching pine, that I don’t remember from the early releases.

Palate: The place and time I try a whisky is often transformative. Julie and I took the kids to an old as methuselah pub in Dublin for an early supper. It was full of grey hairs, laughing and playing the fiddle and the spoons, cheering each other on with taunts. Bangers and mash, and a nice whisky. It was the first time I tried a pour of the 21 and I was flattened. A level of depth and elegance I had yet to experience for an Irish whiskey. Sherry potstill in a tux. Roll it forward a few years and I’ve popped one of the new ones. Still absolutely delicious, but quite different. Closer to the 27 in profile. The mentholated vibe of ruby port which I didn’t expect. Green apples and under-ripe honeydew melon. Almond and hazelnut vanilla granola. Muted are the big sherry notes, no dominant figs or dates, although there is a nice sweetness. And the oak is present but dialed back.

Rating: 7 / 10 – While the first Redbreast 21 release was a mind bending experience for me, this doesn’t hit my palate with the same kapow. It’s quite solid and has my complete respect. I’m glad to have the bottle. But I might start hunting an older batch to check my memory.