Best of the Best 2013: Spirits: Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Cask Strength Irish Whiskey

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Redbreast Whiskey first appeared as an independent bottling by the Jameson distillery in the early 20th century. In the 1990s, the label reemerged as an 80-proof 12 Year Old pot-still whiskey that was produced using the original triple-distilled formula, which called for approximately two-thirds bourbon barrels and one-third sherry casks. In 2005, a one-off 15 Year Old 90-proof bottling briefly made an appearance in Ireland and France; this whiskey has since been brought into full but limited production, and together with the 12 Year Old, it forms the basis of Redbreast’s single-pot-still category. The latest addition to this portfolio is Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Cask Strength Irish Whiskey (www.singlepotstill.com, $79), a non-chill-filtered powerhouse. Bottled at 117.2 proof, Redbreast’s first cask-strength whiskey emphasizes its sherry-barrel influences, revealing full flavors of ripe fig, dried fruit, and butterscotch.