Redbreast Dream Cask Ruby Port Irish Whiskey Is So Good You Can’t Just Go and Buy a Bottle

Redbreast Irish Whiskey’s new Dream Cask Ruby Port Edition is so rare that you need to enter a ballot simply to get the chance to buy a bottle. Is it worth it? Probably…

A blend of four Redbreast whiskeys, each aged in ex-bourbon barrels and an oloroso sherry butt, the Dream Cask Ruby Port edition doesn’t contain anything younger than 28 years.

Bottled at 51.5%, this is the first Redbreast expression to be finished in a single port cask, promising flavours of sweet ripe plums and exotic fruits to the spices, chocolate and cinnamon that you might expect.

The result is an innovative and exciting blend that brigs forth Redbreast’s DNA while adding an extra layer of depth and character.

This isn’t the first time Redbreast has created a special Dream Cask bottle. In 2018, a run of around 800 bottles sold out in six hours. Last year, all 924 Pedro Ximénez Edition bottles disappeared after just 14 minutes.

This year’s Dream Cask offering, the Ruby Port Edition, has been put together by Midleton Master Blender Billy Leighton, who took time to sit down with us and take a taste of the new blend.

“It’s more than three decades since my predecessors went to the Douro Valley and hand-selected the cask which would become Redbreast Dream Cask 2020,” explained Leighton. “I’m delighted to be able to share its creation with whiskey lovers around the world.

“Our third Dream Cask was created with a very significant fortified wine component. This imparts a unique balance of flavours, with less vanilla sweetness and more fleshy fruits that are associated with port.”

Lifting the glass, you’re struck by a fruity nose, with black cherries, dates and plums, but there’s a peppery note too.

A sip somehow fills the mouth, the flavour spreading evenly, seemingly expanding in volume and warming as it goes. There’s a very long finish that is impeccably smooth, with strong plum flavours, a little wood and a combination of leather and spices.

It is, frankly, glorious. My descriptive abilities do it no justice at all.

A taoscán of Dream Cask Ruby Port.

The Dream Cask series is a joy for Leighton to work on, but he’s also responsible for Redbreast’s rapid growth.

“With the renaissance of Irish whiskey, it’s healthy to be looking outside the box, something we do quite a lot,” Leighton commented. “Ten years ago we only had 12-year-old whiskeys, and we launched our top of the range 27-year-old in March. Next, we’ll have a 21-year-old, all driven by innovation and customer choice.

“Each extends the range and calls up aspects of Redbreast DNA; the 15-year-old pickles up the spicy notes set in the 12-year-old, age ad depth is added to the 21-year-old. It’s all to create a choice for consumers, and keep them in the Redbreast family.”

Aged Irish whiskey is rare, and the Redbreast Dream Cask Ruby Port Edition even more so. A single 500ml bottle will be available at €490 (£440) but you won’t be able to simply go out and buy a bottle.

Such is the demand, Redbreast has set up an online ballot hosted on Redbreast’s private members’ club, The Birdhouse. The ballot is now live and runs until 14.59 on Tuesday, 2 June. Successful participants will then be given an opportunity to purchase a bottle.

All ballot entrants will be notified on the 2nd of June whether successful or not. Good luck.

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff has been writing for national newspapers, magazines, regional titles and countless websites since 2003. Specialising in travel and the automotive world, Phil is happiest when exploring foreign lands in foreign cars.