redbreast lustau vs. redbreast 12

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: A Duel of Irish Crafts

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: I’ve been fortunate enough to try many different whiskies in my time, but these two have caught my attention recently.

Born in Ireland, these two whiskies are expressions of the Redbreast line from the world-renowned Jameson Distillery, offering their own unique flavours and character. 

The Redbreast Lustau, named after the famous Spanish sherry producer Bodegas Lustau, is a tribute to the craft of sherry cask aging. On the other hand, the Redbreast 12 is a testament to the traditional Irish pot still distillation, reflecting the charm of age and simplicity.

Now, here’s a bit of trivia: The name “Redbreast” comes from the bird, the Robin Redbreast. It’s a symbol of Christmas in many cultures and it’s a fitting symbol for these whiskies—especially when you consider their rich, warm flavours that are perfect for a cold evening.

These two whiskies, while coming from the same distillery, offer unique tasting experiences that demonstrate the versatility of the distillery’s approach. I’ve enjoyed many a dram of both, and as I’ve sipped, I’ve thought long and hard about their subtle nuances, strengths, and weaknesses.

I’ll share my thoughts on the taste, aroma, and overall character of each, and discuss what sets them apart from each other and other whiskies on the market. And of course, I won’t leave you hanging—at the end, I’ll reveal my personal pick between these two Irish gems. 

So, stick around. There’s plenty to learn and discuss!

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: Quick-look Comparison

redbreast lustau
Redbreast Lustau
NoseRich, tropical, nutty
PalateCreamy, toasted, spices
MouthfeelFull-bodied, smooth
FinishLingering, sherry sweetness
AgeNAS (Approx 10-12 Years)
Cask/BarrelsFirst-fill sherry casks
Strength46% ABV/92 Proof
Redbreast Lustau
redbreast 12
Redbreast 12
NoseNutty, rich, ripe fruit
PalateSpicy, creamy vanilla, dried fruit
MouthfeelFull-bodied, oily, and smooth
FinishLong, warming, and complex with a touch of spice
Age12 years
Cask/BarrelsBourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks
Strength40% ABV/80 Proof
Redbreast 12

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: Redbreast Lustau Review

Let’s talk Redbreast Lustau. From the moment the bottle cap opens, the experience begins. 

The nose is one of the Lustau’s most striking aspects. It boasts a complex bouquet of rich, dark fruits – think prunes and figs – complemented by a nutty, almost almond-like character. There’s a hint of oak too, and a slight touch of spices.

On the mouth, the Redbreast Lustau is smooth and rich, somewhat velvety. It doesn’t merely sit on your tongue but rather envelopes it, offering a warming sensation that’s very pleasant.

Moving on to the palate, the Lustau offers a delightfully complex flavour profile. The dark fruits you get on the nose come through here too, but there’s also the addition of some lovely sweet notes, like toffee and honey, that really balance the deeper, richer elements. I also detect a subtle hint of spice, nothing overpowering, but enough to give it a kick.

Now, let’s talk finish. A whisky’s finish can make or break the overall experience, and I’m pleased to report that Lustau’s finish is nothing short of excellent. It’s long and warming, leaving a trail of lingering sweetness that is accented by a touch of dry oak. It’s something that will keep you reaching for another sip.

The ABV or Alcohol by Volume is 46%, making it a fairly potent expression. However, don’t let that scare you off – it’s extremely well-balanced and doesn’t come across as overly harsh or fiery.

If I were to recommend two similar whiskies to Redbreast Lustau, it would be the Aberlour A’bunadh and the GlenDronach Revival. Both are sherry-forward, full-bodied, and exhibit similar flavour profiles.

As for the price, the Redbreast Lustau comes in at £56 or around $70. Considering the quality of the whisky and the depth of the flavours, I’d say that it’s a reasonable price. Sure, it’s not the cheapest option out there, and kind of a bit higher than most mid-tier whiskeys. But in my opinion, the quality more than justifies the cost.

So, how should you enjoy the Lustau? Neat or on the rocks? Personally, I’d suggest trying it neat first. This allows you to truly appreciate the complexity of the flavours. If you find it a bit too potent, feel free to add a splash of water or a small ice cube, but do so sparingly. 

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: Redbreast 12 Review

Time to shift our focus to the Redbreast 12. 

On your nose, it charms you with its scent, luring you in with a lovely nose that’s complex and inviting. There are rich, fruity aromas reminiscent of ripe apples and pears, complemented by a hint of sweet vanilla and a touch of spice. The nose alone is a pleasure, a promise of what’s to come.

When it hits your tongue, the mouthfeel of the Redbreast 12 is silky, almost creamy. It feels substantial, filling your mouth with a rich, buttery texture. This whisky doesn’t just sit on your tongue, it positively dances, providing an array of sensations that add to the overall tasting experience.

The palate, or the flavour, of the Redbreast 12 carries on from its nose and mouthfeel. You’re welcomed with the same rich fruitiness, but now it’s joined by a touch of creamy vanilla, a little spice, and a hint of nuttiness that brings balance and complexity. I also pick up on a subtle oakiness that adds depth to the flavour profile.

On to the finish. Redbreast 12 leaves a lasting impression with a long, warming finish. There’s a soft spice that lingers, along with a touch of dried fruits and a bit of that oakiness that we’ve come to love. It’s a finish that’s satisfying, making you reach out for another sip.

The Redbreast 12 has an ABV of 40%, making it slightly less potent than the Lustau, but don’t be fooled. It still packs a punch, delivering a wealth of flavours that will satisfy any whisky lover.

A similar whisky? That would have to be Green Spot. It’s another Irish pot still whiskey with a similar price point, and it shares the same rich fruitiness and slightly creamy character that makes Redbreast 12 so enjoyable.

Speaking of price, the Redbreast 12 will set you back around £47 or $61. It’s a little cheaper than the Lustau, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive. It’s a solid investment for any whisky enthusiast, delivering value for money with its depth of flavour and quality. If you are looking for a more premium Redbreast offering I’d recoomed reading Redbreast 21 vs 27.

Finally, how to drink the Redbreast 12? Again, I would suggest starting neat to truly appreciate the depth and complexity of this whiskey. Adding a little water or ice can change the flavours subtly, so it’s worth experimenting to find your perfect serve. However, remember not to overdo it; you don’t want to lose the nuances of this delightful dram.

So there you have it, Redbreast 12 in a nutshell. A solid, flavourful whiskey that holds its own. 

Next, it’s time for the verdict: which of these two titans takes the crown? Keep reading to find out.

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: The Comparison

Nose Comparison

Starting with the nose, the Redbreast Lustau offers a richly layered bouquet. One whiff, and you’re welcomed with a melody of dark fruits, the aromatic equivalent of a stroll through a fruit-laden orchard. Mixed in with that is a robust nutty character, and a dash of spice that teases the senses. 

The Redbreast 12, on the other hand, makes a different but equally compelling statement. It’s more about orchard fruits here; think ripe apples and pears. There’s also a sprinkle of sweet vanilla, along with a tantalising trace of spice that whispers rather than shouts.

Mouthfeel Comparison

The mouthfeel of both whiskies is another point of interest. The Lustau envelops the tongue with a velvety, thick consistency. There’s a decadence to it, almost as if it’s a liquid velvet blanket, warming and soothing. Contrastingly, the Redbreast 12 is creamy, like a buttery silk slip sliding across the palate. It’s lighter than the Lustau, yet every bit as engaging.

Flavour Comparison

When it comes to flavour, the Lustau continues its rich symphony with a hearty serving of dark fruits—think dates and figs, balanced with sweet toffee notes and a pinch of spice. The Redbreast 12 dances to a different tune, hitting the palate with a pleasing mixture of ripe fruit, cream-like vanilla, a hint of spice, and a brush of nuttiness. They’re two distinct flavour profiles, each appealing in its unique way.

Finish Comparison

Next, the finish. The Lustau delivers a long, satisfying finale. It leaves a sweet lingering note with a dry oak twist, like the satisfying end to a well-composed symphony. Redbreast 12, however, gives a finish that’s a little softer, with a play of spice and dried fruits accompanied by a stroke of oakiness. 

If you want to elevate your experience on both ends, let’s just say that this is just the tip of the iceberg: you have to indulge in food as well.

Options for Starters

For starters, consider dishes that complement the unique flavour profiles of each whisky. With the Lustau, a mature cheddar or perhaps a well-aged Gouda could work wonders. The strong, robust flavours of these cheeses would resonate with the dark fruits and spicy notes of the Lustau.

For Redbreast 12, think along the lines of a smoked salmon blini or a plate of creamy brie cheese. The light smokiness of the salmon or the creaminess of the brie would align beautifully with the whisky’s rich fruitiness and creamy undertones.

Next, Main Courses

Now, onto the main courses. A hearty beef stew or a succulent piece of roasted lamb would pair brilliantly with the Lustau. The rich, robust flavours of the food would echo the complexity and depth of the whisky.

On the other hand, Redbreast 12 would thrive alongside a dish with a touch of sweetness or creaminess, say a roast pork with apple sauce or a creamy mushroom risotto. The fruity and creamy characteristics of the whisky would be enhanced by these dishes.

Finally, Desserts

When it comes to desserts, pair the Lustau with something rich and bold, like a dark chocolate tart or a plum pudding. The bittersweet chocolate or the intense fruitiness of the pudding would be a wonderful counterpoint to the whisky’s dark fruity and spicy notes. Redbreast 12, with its fruity and vanilla notes, would pair beautifully with a creamy dessert like a vanilla panna cotta or a classic apple crumble.

As an alternative, you could also consider simpler options, like a selection of nuts or some high-quality dark chocolate. These are great, fuss-free pairings that work well with both whiskies, enhancing the tasting experience without overwhelming the palate.

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: Final Thoughts

This wasn’t an easy task. Each offers a unique and tantalising tasting experience that reflects the expertise and craft of the Jameson Distillery. I’ve grappled with this decision, going back and forth between the two. Each sip, each encounter, seemed to pull me in a new direction. But, at the end of the day, a choice had to be made.

To make this decision, I tried to remain as impartial as possible. I poured over my tasting notes, reflected on my experiences, and ultimately considered which whisky I would be more likely to reach for on any given evening.

While it wasn’t easy, I’ve finally arrived at a decision. But before we get to the reveal, let’s recap what makes each of these whiskies so special. 

If you’re into numbers, here’s a visual:

BestRedbreast LustauRedbreast 12
Colour4/10 5/10 
Total 2730

Redbreast Lustau vs. Redbreast 12: Author’s Verdict

The hue or color of a whisky can often be an overlooked attribute, but it’s one that subliminally sets expectations. Here, the Redbreast 12 wins my favour with its inviting warmth – a promise of good things to come. The Lustau, whilst not disappointing, just didn’t draw me in with the same allure.

On the nose, it’s a dead heat. Both whiskies bring a charming aroma to the forefront, with the Lustau offering a rich tapestry of dark fruits and spice, whilst the Redbreast 12 gives a bouquet of ripe fruits laced with a touch of sweet vanilla.

In the realm of mouthfeel, it’s a similar story. Both whiskies present a texture that’s pleasing to the palate, with the Lustau’s velvety richness holding its own against the creamy smoothness of the Redbreast 12.

When we get to taste, I find the Redbreast 12 takes a slight lead. There’s a harmony in the blend of ripe fruit, vanilla and a subtle nuttiness that resonates more with my palate than the Redbreast Lustau’s profile, which, although enjoyable, didn’t quite hit the same notes for me.

Finally, when it comes to the finish, the Redbreast 12 steals the limelight. It offers a satisfyingly gentle, yet lingering end note, in contrast to the Lustau’s commendable but not as deeply resonant finish.

So, after thoroughly immersing myself in both of these wonderful whiskies, I can say that my preference leans towards the Redbreast 12. It’s not about individual attributes or points of comparison, but about the complete experience that this whisky offers.

There’s another reason why Redbreast 12 nudges ahead. It delivers this exceptional quality at a more affordable price. While the cost difference isn’t substantial, when you’re enjoying a whisky of this calibre, every penny saved is a bonus. The Redbreast 12 demonstrates that you don’t need to break your wallet for a rich and rewarding whisky experience.

And for today’s winner, Redbreast 12 takes the spotlight.

That said, please remember that the world of whisky is incredibly subjective. My personal lean towards Redbreast 12 is purely that—personal (but impartial). You may well find your taste buds dancing to a different tune. And that’s the beauty of it!

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