As we all now know, the Redbreast Dream Cask launched to much fanfare and excitement last Saturday, 19th May 2018 at 4pm, after Redbreast dropped hints for two weeks about it’s release. But for me, this story started 12 months previously. Lets rewind for a small bit.
Back in April 2017, as World Whisky Day approached, Redbreast announced a very special Facebook Live tasting that would occur on the 20th of May and that we could enter to be one of the lucky few. The tasting was announced as a very special whiskey hand selected by Midleton’s Master Blender, Billy Leighton. Obviously I applied and to my surprise, a week before the date I received a Redbreast box containing a biro, a glass, a tasting book, a banner and a 100ml sample of unmarked whiskey. I left the sample sealed. To this day I don’t know how I resisted but I did. It was a long wait. That Saturday I huddled around my iPad with my sample and glass. The wife and boy were locked out of the sitting room. I knew this was going to be an experience that needed to be savored. At the start of the tasting with both Billy Leighton and Dave McCabe, it announced to the world what we had. A 31yr old Single Pot Still whiskey bottled at cask strength with an ABV. of 46.7%. From here I sipped, I savored and I enjoyed what was to become the single best whiskey I have EVER tasted! At the end of the stream, a question was asked that was on a lot of peoples minds; “What would happen to the remaining liquid of approximately 450 litres?”. With a laugh, Billy suggested that if fans lobbied the marketing team, then maybe it would become a release. And so…..the lobbying started! That stream is available here if you want to watch it. It starts 2 mins into the video.
After that the Dream Cask tasting settled into an aura of myth and legend from there on. Whispers of “how good was it?” were passed at various whiskey tastings along with “will they release it?”. Indeed, a certain Brand Ambassador for Irish Distillers had his heart broken as every time we met, I asked when were they going to grab the bull by the horn and release that magnificent drop to its fans. And then, on 6th of May 2018, a photo appeared on the Redbreast Facebook page of a Sherry Butt and the text “Tuesday May 8th: A very special announcement”. Here it was. It was coming. And boy O boy was there excitement. When the 8th arrived I got the press release from IDL and put up a post here on this site, a post that was to become the most viewed so far for me. The press released told us we would have to wait until Saturday the 19th of May at 4pm for its release. A very apt day as it was going to be World Whisky Day yet again on its release! The days passed and at 3:30 on the release day I logged in and refreshed the page every five minutes or so until at one minute to 4, it launched. I bagged it and lucky I did. The site soon crashed. Pandemonium ensued online in the various whiskey forums until it was rectified. The buying continued for 6 hours and it stopped. It stopped not due to lack of demand, but because it was sold out. 816 bottles were filled with the Dream Cask. Of that I would guess somewhere in the region of 750-780 were released to the public. In anyone’s language, that is some unbelievable sales at €500 a bottle.
So following this, on Monday morning the Whiskey Fairy arrived and delivered another Redbreast box. This time it contained the newer copper Redbreast pen, a lapel pin, the new tumbler glass, a tasting mat, a coaster and a 100ml sample bottle of the Dream Cask. If I’m honest, I nearly cried. The last time I was this excited I was screeching the car to a stop in the car park of the maternity building of Cork University Hospital!! True story……my wife thinks I’m weird. Maybe I am! The liquid comes from Sherry Cask number 41207, which was filled on the 8th of March 2011. This was filled using liquid that originally was casked on the 31st of October 1985 in American Oak ex bourbon barrels at 63.3% ABV. and refilled into various bourbon casks over the years as it aged. The result is the 46.5% legend that is before us now. So today, as I sit on my chair in the sitting room alone, I once again sip, savor and enjoy this phenomenal whiskey. The following are my tasting notes;
Nose – Very rich and thick. Homemade blackcurrant jam, raisins, chocolate ganache, apricots, figs and a light touch of spice.
Palate – All but chewable. Really thick and oily mouth feel. Ridiculously smooth for the ABV. Loads of orchard fruits with the blackcurrant there again proud as can be. Nice oakiness with a helping of leather in there.
Finish – Orchard fruits mellow here to subside and release a pleasant citrus note. Lovely long lingering Pot Still spice and tingle that shouts “give me more!” and yet hopes you hold off for a while so you can enjoy as much of this finish as possible.
Overall – Absolutely hands down the single best whiskey I’ve ever tasted. Truly sensational and a testament to the distillate, the wood and the care given in Midleton. The colour is something to behold as seen above and the Nose, Palate and finish on this is tremendous beyond belief. It is so complex and intriguing that I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of it. I suppose it’s a sad reflection on me that I kept the 2017 sample bottle and nose it from time to time!
Just to add………I think it was a bad move allowing multiples be bought. Sorry guys, truth hurts sometimes! I have no doubt some will have bought double figure amounts with the sole goal of flipping them for big profit. And I don’t begrudge people selling bottles on the secondary market. It’s a fact of life that it happens BUT, if you have more than one……at least open one of them and taste how tremendous the whiskey is. Or if you’re not into drinking it, sell it at relative cost price to someone who will open it. I must give a hat tip to the three people I know of that are organising “bottle shares” of the Dream Cask at cost price. An affordable way for a lot of people to get a sample and for that, you folks are to be commended and have earned massive respect from me.
Please note that this sample pack were provided by Irish Distillers Ltd., free of charge to the author. No monetary reward was received for the review. This review, as with all reviews, was written subjectively and not influenced in anyway.