Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Redbreast. 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.
The 1980s was not a great time for whiskey, and one of the most loved Irish brands was discontinued for a decade. After a thorough revamp, and the use of Midleton Distillery, Redbreast relaunched in 1991. After the success of the Redbreast 12 Year, the brand began to grow its core lineup.
In 2016, the Redbreast Lustau Edition hit the market. Bodegas Lustau is located within the “Sherry Triangle” of Spain. For 125 years, Lustau has produced some of the most renowned sherries on the market. It is privileged enough to make wines in all three cities of the triangle— Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
As much as limestone is important to whiskey made in Kentucky, the Sherry Triangle is covered by expansive albariza hills. Albariza, or white limestone, is perfect for growing grapes. The Redbreast Lustau Edition uses Oloroso sherry casks from Lustau’s Jerez location. Although the whiskey does not have an age statement, the Lustau Edition is initially aged nine to twelve years and then finished for another year with Lustau butts.
Oloroso sherry is known for dry and nutty with rich toffee notes. Lustau offers a broad range of Oloroso flavors. While Redbreast does not specify which sherry casks it uses for the Lustau Edition, the quality is impeccable. Compared to other Redbreast whiskies, I did find the Spanish oak influence from the sherry casks and butts. With the Irish Whiskey resurgence, I suggest finding the Redbreast Lustau Edition to compare to other Oloroso finished Irish whiskies.
Tasting Notes: Redbreast Lustau Edition
Vital Stats: 46% ABV. Triple distilled, single pot still Irish whiskey finished in Oloroso sherry casks from Bodegas Lustau. 750ml $99.
Appearance: Medium amber with glints of copper
Nose: The dram begins with an ethereal amalgamation of sweet mint, baby powder, and grapes. The oak is prominent throughout the whiskey, while hearty stone fruits give it body. Apricot and fig are uplifted by French vanilla. Nutmeg and salted almonds give depth to the whiskey.
Palate: Oak and peppercorn start the dram off in a sort of overpowering manner. The whiskey remains very woody throughout, with hints of marzipan and dates. On the breath, sweetness finally comes through with a little bit of red apple. It reminds me of Fig Newtons. Overall, the Lustau Edition is nutty.
The Redbreast Lustau Edition is quite marvelous. Unlike other Oloroso finished whiskies, the impact of Lustau is refined and full of depth. I do like to add a few drops of water to tame the Spanish oak. If you think Oloroso sherry is sweet, I recommend tasting some of the different Olorosos Bodegas Lustau offers along with the whiskey. The Redbreast Lustau Edition may be fruity, but it is definitely on the dry side. It’s a nice compliment to the richness of Redbreast’s production.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...