Redbreast Interview part 3

What do you look for in a whiskey?
Again, it would depend on the moment, but I would favour whiskeys with
depth and complexity - I like whiskeys with long finishes. Using a wine
analogy, I'm probably a old world drinker rather than a new world drinker.


What can you tell us about Redbreast that we may not know?
Well Redbreast dates to 1903 at which time the Jameson Distillery in Bow
St. agreed to supply newly distilled whiskey to the Gilbeys Wines & Spirits
Import Company who would then mature the whiskey themselves 'under bond' -
meaning that no tax was paid on the whiskey until it was ready to be sold.
Gilbeys came up with their own brand name for this whiskey, Redbreast.
Over the remainder of the 20th century, the Irish whiskey industry imploded
largely due to the world preference for lighter more accessible blended
whiskeys, a market which had now been cornered by Scotch. In time, the
main Irish players, Jameson, Powers and Paddy recognised that the writing
was on the wall and that in order to survive, they had to accept that the
world had fallen out of love with its full flavoured pot still whiskey and
now preferred the lighter blended whiskey. Gradually, all of the main
brands evolved into blended whiskeys which of course laid the foundation
for the rejuvenation of the industry as we are evidencing today with
Jameson. Redbreast however, ploughed a lonely furrow as a pot still
whiskey and when it was eventually purchased by Irish Distillers from
Gilbeys in 1970, it had only a small, niche following. Today, the renewed
interest in Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (pot still whiskey originating
from a Single distillery) has led a surge in demand and has provided the
basis for the new 'Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton' initiative,

Any myths you would like to explain?
The obvious myth relates to the origin of the name with many interesting
theories in circulation but I can confirm that the name was inspired by
Ireland's favourite small bird, the Robin Redbreast.

Which qualities would you admire the most in Redbreast?
I admire the fact than even though the entire industry (quite rightfully)
transitioned from single pot still whiskeys to blend, Redbreast stood
steadfast in its belief and significance of the tradition of pot still
Irish whiskey. it demonstrates a strength of character and indefatigable
spirit which in many ways is very evident in the whiskey itself

Anything else you want to tell us?
For people new to Whisky what would you recommend they begin with?
It is probably the obvious answer but Jameson would be my clear
recommendation. It has incredible balance with a wonderful smooth
mouthfeel and just the right amount of full-bodied pot still to give the
whiskey flavour.

What is the future for Irish Whiskies?
The future for Irish whiskey looks very promising with more and more people
discovering the unique smoothness and flavours of our whiskeys. While we
still have some ground to make up over the other major whiskey producing
nations, we have the tradition and the whiskeys to make a real difference.

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