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Redbreast unveils wood-focused series

Irish Distillers has released a Redbreast whiskey finished in air-dried American white oak casks as the first expression in the brand’s new US-exclusive range.

Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition
Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition is the first bottling in the brand’s American Oak series

The limited edition Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition is the first release in the American Oak series, which celebrates the role of wood in the production of Redbreast whiskey.

“Redbreast is renowned for its heavy Sherry influence,” explained 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.

“This series explores the role American white oak plays in the composition of Redbreast, and takes it one step further, with a final flourish in virgin casks to enable the wood contribution to truly take centre stage.”

The new whiskey is made from malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills and matured in American oak Bourbon barrels and Spanish oloroso Sherry butts.

The liquid is then finished for a period of between three to seven months in naturally air-dried American white oak sourced from the Taylor family’s 1,300-acre Elk Cave Farm in Kentucky, US.

The oak, certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), was worked into 63 casks and shipped to Midleton Distillery.

These casks were chosen for their high-quality white oak, leading to sweet notes of vanilla and elevated wood spices.

Bottled at 50.5% ABV, the whiskey combines hints of pot still spices and dried fruit with a nose of freshly cut cedarwood and notes of almond and brown sugar toffee.

Leighton added: “Crafting this whiskey has been a journey of discovery. 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.”

Redbreast Kentucky Oak is exclusively available in the US, with a pricetag of US$95.99.

Irish Distillers is investing €50 million (US$52.2m) to make Midleton the first and largest carbon-neutral distillery by 2026.

Last month, the brand unveiled the fifth bottling in its Redbreast Dream Cask series – a 30-year-old single pot still whiskey.

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