The Tasting Panel magazine

JUNE 2011

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Page 83 of 132

IRISH WHISKEY Irish Whiskey Regains its Title AND IT’S REDBREAST TO THE RESCUE by Richard Carleton Hacker A ccording to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), sales of Irish whiskey in 2010 increased by 22 percent. So mixologists, bar managers and others looking to stir new excitement into their drinks menu with a long-neglected category poised for growth, take note: The Redbreast is coming! The Redbreast is coming! Yes, this sought- after triple-distilled pot still Irish whiskey from Pernod Ricard is making a comeback. But in a not-so- closely-guarded secret (some of our Although triple-distilled, four stills are actually used at Midleton Distillery to produce Redbreast. European brethren and duty-free shoppers knew about it before we did), not only is the coveted Redbreast 12 Year Old being jump-started, the ultra-elusive 15 Year Old is being relaunched as well. Return of the Redbreast A San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal winner, Redbreast 12 is poised to lead the Irish single pot still whiskey renaissance in America. Redbreast began life in 1939 (some say as early as 1903) as an independent bottling by Jameson for Gibley Vintners. The merchant—whose hobby was ornithology—named his whiskey after the robin redbreast, a songbird so loyal to Ireland that it refuses to leave even during the frigid winter months. Redbreast was reintroduced in the 1990s as a 12 Year Old pot still whiskey, with an original formula of two-thirds bourbon barrels to one-third sherry casks. It was a hearty pour and quickly gained a cross-over following among connoisseurs favoring single malt scotch and small batch bourbon, their enthusiasm heightened by Redbreast’s limited availability. Then in 2005—the same year Redbreast 12 Year Old won a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition—Redbreast 15 Year Old came out as a one-off bottling to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Parisian june 201 1 / the tasting panel / 83 PHOTO COURTESY OF PERNOD RICARD PHOTO COURTESY OF PERNOD RICARD

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