This is the cask strength version of the Redbreast 12 that was a huge hit when it arrived in the US some years ago, and it was quite well received in its own right. I have to admit I wasn’t crazy about it the first time I tried it (or, more accurately, I didn’t think it offered enough to justify the price premium over the regular 12) but am interested to see what I make of it this time around.
Redbreast 12 CS (57.7%%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Aromatic, floral wood that gets sweet quite fast, moving from honey to vanilla sweetness in the span of a few seconds. Settles finally in a darker, muskier fruity sweetness framed by polished wood, and there’s more honey and some raisins too. With time it gets a little grassy and the wood gets a little sharper but it’s still the honeyed fruit that dominates. With water there’s a dusty/talcum powder’ish note and more creamy vanilla below that.
Palate: Hot. The polished wood makes the first impression and then comes the honey and the fruit (apricot and lemon now). Gets salty as it goes (blood on the tongue). The texture is soft despite the heat. Water takes care of the heat but brings that dusty note out on the palate as well and more wood as well.
Finish: Long. Slightly salty and woody and not very interesting. Actually, well after the swallow some of the fruit emerges again. As on the palate, water makes the wood expand and makes it more astringent as well.
Comments: I liked the nose a lot (especially without water) but the palate and especially the finish are not at that level for me. And I don’t think I have anything better to say about the price/quality ratio either. I much prefer the mellower charms of the regular 12 yo (which has also, alas, gone up in price).
Rating: 84 points.
Thanks to bpbleus for the sample!