There are a lot of things whisky aficionados will talk about when discussing what makes a quality whisky. Lots of purists will espouse the value of non-chillfiltering, not adding caramel color and bottling at cask strength. You’d be hard pressed to build a case against any of these ideals, but as with anything in life, there are always exceptions.
There’s definitely some E150 caramel coloring in this release. Hold a sample of the 12 and 15 year side by side and it becomes pretty obvious. This isn’t uncommon, by any means whether you believe the psychological impetus behind the decision to color is underhanded or appropriate. The Cask Strength and 15 year releases also tout the Non-chill filtered nomenclature on the label leading me to believe that the 12 year standard is, in fact, chill filtered to boot. Also, at a mere 40% abv you’re not even close to cask strength. Still, you’d be wasting your time if you tried to convince me that Redbreast’s 12 year old is an inferior whisky. This stuff is delicious.
Nose: Maraschino cherries and gummy lifesavers. Uncooked boba tea pearls and some buttercream vanilla frosting. A sweet and fruity malt with a few funky, grassy notes. Modestly toasty. Deliciously fruity. Water opens up lots of fresh notes and granite.
Palate: Not as much fruit on the palate. Butterscotch and malt. The typical Redbreast birthday cake flavor is obvious. Some almond as it travels down. Juicy! While water helps the nose along, it kind of takes some of the grassy notes in the palate to the barnyard.
What else can I say? Classic! The whole Redbreast line is amazing as well.