Redbreast Unveils Kentucky Oak Edition To Its American Oak Series

| July 6, 2022

Redbreast Irish Whiskey is taking on a new chapter as it recently unveiled a whiskey collection just for the United States.

A statement from Irish Distillers notes that the American Oak series celebrates the integral role of native wood in the production of Redbreast Irish Whiskey, giving provenance to the wood and the American oak influences to the whiskey.

The first limited release in this series, Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition comes from malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills and matured in American oak bourbon barrels and later Spanish Oloroso sherry butts.

Redbreast Kentucky Oak

Redbreast Kentucky Oak (Image via Irish Distillers)

It’s then finished for up to seven months in naturally air-dried PEFC certified American white oak sourced from the Taylor Family’s Elk Cave Farm in Kentucky.

The Kentucky oak was selected to bring in what’s described as additional sweet notes of vanilla and elevated wood spices.

“Redbreast is renowned for its heavy Sherry influence,” said Master Blender Billy Leighton. “This can often mean that its ex-bourbon counterpart is overlooked, even though Kentucky white oak barrels, which have previously held bourbon, are central to the Redbreast DNA.”

He said this series explores the role American white oak plays in the composition of Redbreast, and takes it one step further, with the final maturation in virgin casks to enable the wood contribution “to truly take center stage.”

Leighton and the team at Midleton Distillery partnered with the owners of Elk Cave Farm, Clifton and sons Scott and Steve Taylor, to source high-grade white oak from their 1,300-acre tree farm.

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The Taylor family have championed what they say are sustainable farming practices since purchasing the land in 1959, and today they’re recognized across the country for the methods used on their farm.

In fact, Elk Cave Farm is known for successfully applying the oak shelterwood system in their mature oak forests. That’s a forestry technique that emphasizes early tending of young oak seedlings by improving forest light conditions and reducing competitors.

And in turn, these productive oak forests provide wildlife habitat, clean water and fresh air for years to come.

Once felled, sawn and air dried, the Kentucky oak was worked into 63 casks and shipped to Midleton Distillery, in County Cork, Ireland, to be filled with a batch of Redbreast whiskey.

The distiller notes that this whiskey is bottled at 101 proof (50.5% ABV), and the non-chill filtered whiskey balances the pot still spices and dried fruit with the aroma of fresh-cut cedarwood and notes of almond and brown sugar toffee for an elevated flavor profile.

“Crafting this whiskey has been a journey of discovery,” Leighton said. “From learning about the trailblazing work of the Taylor family improving the sustainability of America’s oak forests, to exploring the region’s influence upon our whiskey, all of which has shaped this deliciously complex whiskey. The Kentucky Oak series demonstrates Redbreast’s continued evolution, setting the bar for subsequent expressions in the series.”

Scott Taylor said that his family is honored to work alongside the Redbreast team, witnessing first-hand what’s described as the passion and dedication to creating sustainably produced whiskey.

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“Much like whiskey making, tree farming requires patience and faith that future generations will reap the benefit of decisions we make today. It has been incredibly rewarding to watch this project come to fruition and to see our home-grown Kentucky oak shape the flavor of a Redbreast Irish whiskey,” he said.

Redbreast Kentucky Oak is for sale exclusively in the U.S. with a suggested retail price of  $95.99.

Redbreast Kentucky Oak distiller’s notes:

  • Nose: Opens with notes of fresh-cut cedarwood, almond and vanilla, while dark berries resting on new oak shavings enhance the sweet fruit and warming charred wood influences, complementing the pot still spices.
  • Taste: Spices to the fore of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove that continue to build over time working in tandem with the oak’s rich tannins while balanced with autumnal fruit notes that linger in the background along with sweet and decadent notes of brown sugar toffee and vanilla.
  • Finish: Lasting finish with the fruits the first to slowly fade, leaving the pot still spices to linger in harmony with the sweet tones and nature of the American oak.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...