The fifth permanent Redbreast expression is finished in hand selected, first-fill sherry butts that are seasoned with Oloroso sherry from Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, Spain.
Billy Leighton, Midleton head blender, told DI: “The whiskey industry in general takes a lot of what is here in Jerez for granted. It is not a simple thing they are doing and we are kind of giving back to the sherry industry and recognising the incredible, and irreplaceable, work they do.”
Leighton said the Lustau Edition is “designed to be slotted into the family, not to replace something else” and explained the reason for using the “top-selling first-fill Irish whiskey out there”, Redbreast 12 Year Old.
“All the Redbreast family is sherry-driven. The cask make-up is all first-fill casks. That is where a lot of the spiciness comes from in the 12 Year Old. The basic flavour driver is the sherry. With the Lustau Edition, the liquid is designed with the bodega style in mind. What we were trying to do for Redbreast lovers is look at the sherry contribution.”
The new edition is matured initially in a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks, and has been finished for one year in sherry cask butts from Lustau.
Brendan Buckley, global innovation and prestige whiskey portfolio director at Irish Distillers, said Redbreast has gone from strength-to-strength since its relaunch in 2011 and that his company is “committed to spreading the word Redbreast around the world as the whiskey renaissance continues.”
Leighton added: “There are a lot of people taking short cuts and we are not one of them. This project was a long time in the making and we didn’t cut corners. We visited the bodega many, many times and the project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the recently departed Lustau winemaker and dear friend, Manuel Lozano.”
Redbreast Lustau Edition – 46% abv without chill-filtration - is available this month in the following markets: Canada ($90); Ireland (€69); and the UK (£55). It will roll out in the United States from October 1, at RRP $69.