Introduced in 2016, Redbreast Lustau Edition offers a sherry finished spin on the pot still favourite. Initially matured in American and European (about as non-specific as you can get) casks for between 9 and 12 years, this is finished in first fill sherry from Jerez-based Bodegas Lustau for an additional year. Bottled at a higher ABV than the entry 12 year old – but if you look around, often available at a similar pricepoint. Master of Malt will currently sort you a bottle out for £45.90.
Nose: Sherry-forward. Rolled marzipan and chamois leather sit with orange peels and liqueurs whilst oloroso walnut nuttiness, glace cherries and jammy berries are joined by chocolate sauce and ginger and cinnamon spiced fruit cake. Moist oakiness and earthy qualities resist in the background. The addition of water presents cereal milk cake with slices of fresh apple and creamy quality from toffee.
Taste: Soft, and nicely bodied with plenty of oiliness. Spices and oxidative sherry are up-front and centre – raisins, figs, baked plums and ample ginger, cinnamon and cask-influenced pepperiness. Chopped walnuts, macadamia and malt loaf follow with blood oranges and soured spiced apples. Dilution offers a more rounded syrupy sweetness with a reduced spicy core – wild honey alongside chocolate Angel Delight and dry oakiness.
Finish: Medium with freshly planed oak, apples, underling maltiness and light golden sugars.
Redbreast Lustau Edition presents with plenty of distillate weight as well as (expectedly I guess) plenty of sherry influence. It’s rich, fairly opulent and entirely pleasantly composed. And yet I still prefer the ‘naturalness’ of the 12 year old - irrespective of the improved body and sweet treats that this amped up iteration presents. I’ve nothing against a good whack of sherry when it’s at home - but here the result of the finish masks some of the fruity qualities of the underlying spirit. Qualities which I believe are defining of the Redbreast character. Undeniably tasty - but for me - a little heavy handed.