If you’ve seen our last few posts, you will know that we love a whisk(e)y with a story behind it. Not your standard marketing BS though, but an actual history behind the whisky itself. The Green Spot whiskey is no exception. I first became aware of the whiskey due to its entry in Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die (which has made for many a whisk(e)y selection and post on this site). This whiskey represents our second dalliance with a single pot still whiskey, having already fallen in love with the Redbreast 12, but a less sherried single pot still offering, having been collectively aged for 7 to 8 years and 25% of the whiskey having been sherry cask matured, with the remainder in ex-bourbon barrels. The whiskey itself is a legacy from a traditional Irish practice of distilling a mash of malted and unmalted barley (the unmalted element giving the extra oily and creamy qualities) and being triple distilled to get a purer spirit. The whiskey bottle notes that the whiskey is created exclusively for Mitchell & Sons – a wine and spirits store in Dublin – and harkens back to when distilleries used to sell certain wares via a select few stores. Apparently, this whiskey used to form part of a range of whiskies that were distinguished by just the colour of the spot painted on the barrels and bottles. Green Spot represents the youngest of the range, and has recently seen its siblings Yellow Spot and Red Spot revived (maybe the Blue Spot will return too?). The Green Spot has also seen a couple of special editions in recent times as its popularity grows and the traditional whiskey has been experimented with finishes in ex-Château Léoville Barton Bordeaux wine casks and in ex-Zinfandel wine from Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley, California. AS for now though, here are our notes on the mainstay release itself, becoming ever increasingly available, and bottled at 40% ABV.
A beautiful barley sugar sweetness softness and a little almond marzipan and an underlying creamy vanilla – a bit of time and that sweet barley really stands out – both the grain and the sugars. Bit of fresh green apple and orange zest
So oily and creamy on tongue – vanilla ice cream – the Cornish yellowy one! The end of has a little peppery kick and flash of tangy green apples that you could pick up on the nose but the vanilla and cream are the main event here.
It does have a little more fire towards the end – oak spice from its bourbon and sherry cask housing – the lasting note however is that vanilla ice cream again and there’s a real palate cleansing finishing note to it too – not exactly like a mint/menthol flavour but a little something that really cleans up after itself and invites another sip.
All the best bits of Irish Whiskey A couple of years ago, I attended an Irish whiskey tasting and the Jameson’s rep present was a really charming and enthusiastic lad but he said something which, for better or worse, sticks with me every time I drink an Irish pot still whiskey – “it has that classic Irish creamy mouthfeel”. Just typing “creamy mouthfeel” still makes me cringe BUT this dram has that self-same sensation by the bucketload. The whiskey’s strong vanilla flavours and subtle nutty ones combined with that silky smooth coating makes for one of the easiest drinking whiskies I’ve got in the cabinet. The tastes remind me of the yellow-y vanilla Cornish ice cream you can get here in the UK, but with that little malty and oaky twang reminding you that this is a proper whiskey in play and not a liqueur. This is also the first whiskey I’ve ever bought based on a write-up from a book, and that book is Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die (reviewed previously here). The history of the distillery and the fact that the whiskey nearly disappeared forever enticed me in and I’m glad that I was because despite the 100 others to pursue, I’ve no doubt that I’ll keep coming back to this one. Very highly recommended.
Dram Disclosure: This bottle was bought by myself with my own funds. No promo or agenda. Just an honest, independent and fair review of a personal favourite.