Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey often unfairly gets short shrift compared to its highland counterpart, but a jigger of Redbreast soundly puts such silliness to rest. Produced by Irish Distillers (who also make heralded brands like Midleton, Paddy Powers and Jameson), Redbreast is unique among Irish whiskies sold here in the States in that it is distilled in more traditional pot stills (instead of column stills used with blends), and without the addition of grain whiskey. While Redbreast Cask Strength is just as smooth and drinkable as its diluted brethren, it is more full-flavored and noticeably darker and richer – and noticeably stronger at 115 proof. It doesn't have much of a bouquet (most Irish whiskies don't), just a slightly floral smell with hints of honey and pear. But on the tongue, it explodes with flavor, heavy on fruit essences – figs, dates, and apples. It's an unusually big and complex liquid. [$65; singlepotstill.com]