Whiskey Review: Redbreast 12 Year Old

, | June 29, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Redbreast Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Redbreast 12 is iconic for a reason. The Midleton Distillery has been making single pot still Irish whiskey in County Cork, Ireland, for over 200 years, and started bottling Redbreast 12 in 1991. Its complex flavor is distinctive of a pot still whiskey, with a certain spice, depth, and grainy quality you won’t find in a single malt. 

The history of Redbreast Whiskey goes back to the late 1800s in London, when a company called W&A Gilbey began selling wines and distilling spirits on a busy street corner. By 1875, they were distilling nearly a million bottles of whiskey a year. After experimenting with many whiskey types and labels, the company serendipitously introduced the first official batch of Redbreast 12 in 1912. 

After suffering from political and economic turmoil, the whiskey took a hiatus from 1985-1991, when it was given a revamp with a new distiller and the addition of the highest quality sherry and bourbon casks. In recent years, the distiller has released other Redbreast whiskeys, including the Redbreast Cask Strength, Redbreast 21, and other limited edition releases

A lot goes into making Redbreast a great whiskey. The mash bill is made of a mix of malted and unmalted barley sourced from farms local to the distillery. The unmalted barley lends a creamy mouthfeel and spiciness that stands out on the global whiskey market. Water is sourced directly from the Dungourney River, part of which runs through a system of cooling underground caves. The whiskey is distilled in a copper pot still before being matured in a combination of bourbon seasoned American Oak barrels and Oloroso Sherry seasoned Spanish oak butts.

Redbreast is also available in 10-, 15-, 21-, and 27-year-old expressions, all of which offer the signature fruity and spicy flavors with varying complexity, richness, and finishes. 

Redbreast 12 Year Old review

Redbreast 12 Year Old (image via Redbreast Whiskey)

Tasting Notes: Redbreast 12

Vital Stats: Aged twelve years in sherry and bourbon casks. 40% ABV. Malted and unmalted barley mash bill. SRP $66.00/750ml bottle.

Appearance: Clear gold

Nose: The aroma opens with dried orange peel and toasted nutmeg. It’s complex, fruity, and spicy, with a hint of toasted wood notes. 

Palate: It has a silky body that’s full-flavored and complex, and perfectly balanced with hints of sweetness from the sherry cask. The palate closes with notes of pepper and grass, with a lingering, warm finish. 



Redbreast 12 is a beautiful, perfectly balanced, and iconic whiskey. It’s beautiful to sip and enjoy. 

User Review
4.07 (15 votes)


Olivia Cohen

Olivia is a word and whiskey lover living in the Pacific Northwest. She works as a writer by day, and incidentally enjoys it so much that she's always looking for great publications to contribute to after 5. Which, of course, is also the best time for a drink.