Redbreast Unveils “Kentucky Oak Edition” for U.S. Market
Redbreast Irish Whiskey, created by Irish Distillers at Midleton Distillery, is embarking on an exciting new chapter as it unveils a dedicated whiskey collection for the United States. The American Oak series celebrates the influential and integral role of native wood in the production of Redbreast Irish Whiskey, giving provenance to the wood and unique American Oak influences to the whiskey.
The first limited release in this innovative series, Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition, is made from malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills and matured in American Oak Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso sherry butts, before being finished for a period of 3 to 7 months in naturally air-dried PEFC certified American White Oak sourced from the Taylor Family’s Elk Cave Farm in Kentucky. These casks have been hand selected for finishing, using the best quality white oak, to impart additional sweet notes of vanilla and elevated wood spices.
“Redbreast is renowned for its heavy sherry influence,”
explains Master Blender Billy Leighton. “This can often mean that its ex-bourbon counterpart is overlooked, even though Kentucky white oak barrels, which have previously held bourbon, are central to the Redbreast DNA.
“This series explores the role American white oak plays in the composition of Redbreast, and takes it one step further, with a final flourish in virgin casks to enable the wood contribution to truly take centre stage.”
Seeking the best quality barrels, Leighton and the team at Midleton Distillery partnered with the owners of Elk Cave Farm, Clifton and sons Scott and Steve Taylor, to source high grade white oak from their 1,300-acre tree farm. As committed environmentalists, the Taylor family have championed sustainable farming practices since purchasing the land in 1959 and today are recognised across the country for the award-winning methods used on their farm. Under the Taylor family’s guardianship, Elk Cave Farm has become renowned for successfully applying the oak shelterwood system in their mature oak forests. Shelterwood, a forestry technique that emphasizes early tending of young oak seedlings by improving forest light conditions and reducing competitors, has proven successful in the Taylors’ mission to sustainably manage their oak forests. In addition, these productive oak forests will provide valuable wildlife habitat, clean water and fresh air today and for future generations.
Once felled, sawn and air dried, the oak was worked into 63 casks and shipped to Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, to be filled with a bespoke batch of Redbreast whiskey. Leighton and his team diligently monitored the barrels until the perfect balance of flavour, aroma and wood contribution had been achieved.
Further reinforcing Midleton’s pioneering spirit, the result is luxuriously smooth and distinctly Redbreast with an additional layer of sweet vanilla and elevated wood spices imparted from the virgin Kentucky casks. Bottled at 101 proof (50.5% ABV), the non-chill filtered whiskey effortlessly balances the pot still spices and dried fruit with the intricate aroma of freshly cut cedarwood and decadent notes of almond and brown sugar toffee for an elevated flavour profile.
“Crafting this whiskey has been a journey of discovery,” adds Leighton. “From learning about the trailblazing work of the Taylor family improving the sustainability of America’s oak forests, to exploring the region’s influence upon our whiskey, all of which has shaped this deliciously complex whiskey. The Kentucky Oak series demonstrates Redbreast’s continued evolution, setting the bar for subsequent expressions in the series.”
Scott Taylor adds:
“Our family is honoured to work alongside the Redbreast team, witnessing first-hand their passion and dedication to creating great tasting sustainably produced whiskey. Much like whiskey making, tree farming requires patience and faith that future generations will reap the benefit of decisions we make today. It has been incredibly rewarding to watch this project come to fruition and to see our home-grown Kentucky oak shape the flavour of a Redbreast Irish whiskey.”
Redbreast Kentucky Oak will be exclusively available in the US from June 23rd at an SRP of $95.99. For more information, and selected retailers, visit the Redbreast website: www.redbreastwhiskey.com.
 The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. Elk Farm has been verified by independent experts as a sustainably managed forest in line with strict international standards.