Midleton distillery

Redbreast Dream Cask 2020 – reflections

The Dream Cask – the most hyped whiskey release of the year. For good reason, probably. It’s Redbreast after all, a top class whiskey brand with some fabulous whiskeys out there. Some of my all-time favourite whiskeys are Redbreasts – the 21-year-old, the 12-year-old cask strength and the Mano a Lámh.

Still, I’ve never engaged in the dream casks. First of all, they are too expensive for me. Even before we used our big savings to buy a house in West Cork, I didn’t want to spend €500 on a whiskey. Second, I don’t like that “I may not get one even if I’m happy to spend that kind of money” kind of thing.

If I’ve decided to buy something, I want to just be able to buy it without having to compete with others. This is why I don’t use auction sites, why I don’t hype about super limited whiskeys that sell out in two seconds and why I’m sceptical about free tweet tastings where you sign up and if you’re lucky enough you will be chosen.

Of course, I do these things at times. This week I tried to get a bottle of Kilchoman Feis Ile 2020 edition (but sadly got stuck in a conversation and was 4 minutes too late to the game), and actually signed up for another tweet tasting. But I prefer to just pay the money and get that thing, whatever it may be, without annoyances.

Midleton distillery

Although the dream cask is mostly an “in-your-dreams” whiskey for me, I’m happy about the work that Midleton distillery does, I’m always curious about what the dream cask of the year will be and curious about whether people will open it and what they will think of it. This year I was surprised, and a bit disappointed.

A 28-year-old Ruby port cask.
Probably a very nice whiskey, but – isn’t that a bit like, been there done that? How does this one differ from the Method & Madness, or the 27-year-old Redbreast (other than the extra year, obviously)? 

I do realise that there may be other components in it, whiskeys of other ages and characteristics, that can make it different from the other Ruby port whiskeys. Still, I guess I expected something different, something new, something cool.

Midleton distillery

What about an older whiskey from an extra charred bourbon cask, Madeira cask, extra years in Marsala, or something else that is somewhat different from their previous releases? 

Yes, I get it, it’s popular. People have been over the moon about the other Ruby port cask whiskeys. But for a Ruby port whiskey, I’d rather skip the annoyance of a ballot and get a bottle of the 27-year-old instead, that is available without trouble.

So why do I bother when I don’t plan to enter the competition to get a bottle anyway? That’s a good question. But I love the Midleton products and I like to follow the dream cask to see what they’ve been up to.

I suppose I’m a bit spoiled with other innovative things coming from Midleton. But they have the Method & Madness brand for that, I guess.

To all of you who do choose to enter the competition, I wish you the best of luck. And of course, Happy World Whisk(e)y Day!


7 responses to “Redbreast Dream Cask 2020 – reflections”

  1. Whiskey Nut avatar

    I get cold feet at paying more than €100 for a bottle – let alone €500!
    I’d get nightmares handing over that much for a decent whiskey.
    Not my dream.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I agree! Up to €100 is ok if I know it’s a really good whiskey. I’d pay more only for very particular reasons. Like, I bought my first Redbreast 21 when I had worked a lot of overtime and wanted to use that extra cash for a special treat.

  2. Eddie D'Arcy avatar

    Every single Redbreast released to date has had a Sherry influence, including all 14 single cask releases. Yet all these releases taste completely different. To say it’s a bit like, eh, been there done that because they released one other Redbreast with a Port influence is a bit silly. Port brings a whole bunch of new flavor profiles to Redbreast. Let them explore them and share them with us. There’s plenty of time to explore different casks in the future. Enjoy the present, the Port releases are phenomenal whiskies.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hello Eddie and thanks for your input. As I said, I’m aware of the fact that it likely has other components than the other whiskeys which will give it a slightly different profile. I do appreciate that Midleton explores the port influence, especially since they haven’t done that for long, and yes they are good whiskeys. I’ve tasted the Method & Madness so far, and then port cask finished whiskeys from other distilleries.
      After the Method & Madness and then the quite recent release of the 27-year-old where the same type of port cask has been used, I expected something different. We’ve been spoiled with some interesting surprises from Midleton in recent years (mostly because of Method & Madness, obviously), so my expectations were too high maybe. Perhaps I should just compare it with the different sherry cask expressions as you say.

  3. Daithi O Mordha avatar

    Perhaps a case of ‘A bird in the hand, is worth more than two in the bush’…but as a birdhouse member who literally had covetted getting my hands on just one of the 20 year old PX Dream Casks in 2019 and who as the second agonisingly dripped previously bye before landing the elusive exclusive in my online virtual shopping cart, only for the dream to suddenly turn into a nightmare in a split second, a blindsided by an onscreen flashing blurb which taunted me with its message…”SOLD OUT” I too cursed the flipping cheaters as I saw them who would deploy the methods practiced by the dark arts in order to guarantee that they got their ‘one for the collection and a second that guaranteed they could have their ‘christmas cake’ to eat and drink, like ‘killing two birds with the one stone’ as it were.
    Deflated and left feeling cheated I was one of those who raged against the machine and I spoke out, albeit online, not knowing if anyone cared or listened. But I am happy to acknowledge that the birdhouse has been retrieved from the clutches of the flipping jugglers this year and kudos to the influencers who have conveyed the message to the powers that be who have thankfully acknowledged that those of us who savour the pure precious drop can compete on a level playing field by introducing the fare ballot system which gives all those who can afford to indulge a single chance to savour something special. But spare a thought for the ‘poor’ juggler who can still aquire his sup for flip sake, but may never savour!
    For everyone else like me, let’s celebrate our ‘single pot luck’ as we’re keeping the dream alive. Good luck to all the birdwatchers & keyboard twitchers who covet sighting and perhaps capturing the elusive bird.

    1. Susanne avatar

      A ballot is probably the right way to go. I also think there should be a limit of one bottle per person (maybe there is). Are you going to try for one?

  4. […] to chase down a bottle because they would all be sold out anyway. If you read my post about the Dream Cask earlier this year, you’ll know my opinion about this. I normally don’t even try to get […]

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