Redbreast Dream Cask 28 year old Ruby Port Review

Today is the day. The day that the latest Redbreast Dream Cask ballot opens here. Full disclosure…..I am a Redbreast super fan. No two ways about it, no point in hiding it, I think it is one of the most fantastic whiskeys on the market with an amazing history. But as the 28 year old Redbreast with a Ruby Port component was announced, I can’t lie, I felt somewhat deflated when I read what it was. As you may know, in February this year, Redbreast launched a 27 year old Ruby Port as part of their standard release portfolio. Here I was, sitting at home honestly thinking “Are they really throwing out a whiskey a year older and calling it a Dream Cask??!!”. I was lucky enough to receive a 50ml sample from Redbreast in the days leading up to the launch so the first thing that struck me was to do a side by side comparison of the 27 and 28 once it was launched. Due to 12 hour shifts in work I actually didn’t get to try it until World Whisky Day when the announcement was made but I made sure I got time to myself, a pour of the 27 yo and the Dream Cask side by side and no distractions.

So firstly lets look at what makes up the Dream Cask 28 year old. Four casks in the making, these are;

  • Single Port Still distilled in 1989, matured in ex-bourbon and re casked into a Ruby Port cask in 1995
  • Single Pot Still distilled in 1991 and matured in second fill ex-bourbon
  • Single Pot Still distilled in 1991 and matured in second fill ex-bourbon
  • Single Pot Still distilled in 1991, matured in ex-bourbon and re-casked in 2011 into a Sherry butt.

IMG-0742The four components were then married together in that Ruby Port cask for 105 days. I’ve been told that the fortified components make up a WHOPPING 75% of this marriage. So with those in mind, we now have a massive sherry/port component, a component that is 31years old and a marriage for three months in a Ruby Port Cask. Does that make a difference?? Hell yes it does…..! The first difference that is visually evident is the colour. The 28 yo is much much darker. From a dark gold hue of the 27 year old we see a dark syrup honey colour for the 28 year old. Both look inviting.

The 27 year old nose presents us with some cinnamon and clove spice, citrus in the form of orange peel and tropical fruit. The palate, rich, complex, inviting plums, peaches, berries with a good deal of spice. The finish lingers just enough for a long rating and gives a slight drying of the mouth.

As the 28 is the real purpose of this article, it’s what got my attention for writing notes. Neither got water……there is no need whatsoever to add even a drop. Here are the 28 year old notes;

Nose – Rich, sweet, complex nose with an abundance of tropical fruit and berries to the fore. Mango, peach and blood orange all intertwined with blackberries and blackcurrants. Sweetness arrives in the form of a Dairy Milk Caramel bar. Some spice in the form of cinnamon.

Palate – Oily mouth coating that, like the nose, is very rich. Here the Redbreast components start to really shine. Raisins, figs and apricots arrive and linger a while. These are overtaken mid palate by a sudden explosion of plums, grapes, blackberries and ripe fleshy peaches. Very slight bitterness, similar to a very dark chocolate.

Finish – A really long, lingering finish that seems to continue forever. It really slows you down from going for a second drop so that you can savor every second of it. Tannin spice towards the end and even a slight minty note right at the very end. Glorious.

Overall – How does it stack up against the 27 yo?? It doesn’t…….it blows it out of the water instead. I absolutely adore the 27 year old, so much so I bought a bottle when it was released, much to the absolute disgust of my wife when she saw the price tag. The 28 year old however, is an absolute bomb compared to it. While the ABV is lower, it is as if you put the Redbreast 12 and the Cask Strength side by side. Both are lovely whiskeys, but with the cask strength all the flavours are ramped up to a new level. The explosion of fruit in this Dream Cask is like that. It is simply stunning and very much on par with the 28 year old Method and Madness that so much of us know and love while maintaining the Redbreast Sherry character. The ballot now makes me nervous…….

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This sample was provided free of charge to the author. No monetary reward was received for the review. The review, as with all our reviews, was written subjectively and not influenced in anyway.

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