Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy links in this article our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Everyone loves a comeback story, and a whiskey’s story is one of the most palatable ingredients in a whiskey tasting experience. The Irish whiskey comeback story begins at the beginning of whiskey. The Irish like to claim, and are duly credited, with first distilling what we know as whiskey and sharing the knowledge of how to do so with the Scottish and eventually the rest of the world.
Through various ebb and flows, Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world. After this zenith, changing tastes, wars, trade embargoes, and prohibition in the United States had forced distilleries to shutter or consolidate to the point of there being only two left producing, and they joined together in 1972.
The latest chapter of this saga is the hero’s journey of a return to triumph. While it still has a long way to go to regain the top spot of popularity in the spirit world, Irish whiskey has been among the fastest growing spirits in the world for a number of years now. This resurgence has created a need for new characters to enter the stage, but also many of the old players a time to shine again.
Spot Whiskey, owned today by Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard, has been one of the few Irish whiskey labels that has been able to remain in continuous production during the ups and downs of the Irish whiskey story. While Green Spot (single pot still aged between 7-10 years in sherry casks and bourbon barrels) has been their consistent, the comeback has allowed the brand to reintroduce the world to several of its discontinued offerings.
Yellow Spot was reintroduced in 2012 (aged 12 years in bourbon and sherry, with additional Malaga wine cask aged spirit added to the blend), Red Spot in 2018 ( aged at least 15 years in bourbon and sherry, with Marsala wine cask aged spirit blended) and, most recently, 2020 saw Blue Spot re-emerge to the line up ( aged at least 7 years in bourbon and sherry casks with Portuguese Madeira cask aged spirit blended.)
Tasting Notes: Green Spot
Appearance: Pale and golden in color. Really catches the light as it is swirled in the glass and clings to the sides as it slowly forms legs that cling to the side.
Nose: Warm and fresh with orchard fruit and spice. The impression of green apples is definitely apparent. It is easy to pick out the unmalted barley presence, but it is as if it has been sweetened with agave syrup.
Palate: The taste really balances the aroma well. While you would expect to be overwhelmed by malt and sweetness, dried fruit and citrus emerge to round it out. The finish meets you with some tannic and oak notes that do not linger as long as expected. Overall warm and round with nice chewy texture.
Tasting Notes: Yellow Spot
Appearance: Translucent amber. Really catches the light. As if you are looking through some caramelized sugar after it has cooled.
Nose: Very distinct barley character, but it is as if the dessert cart has been pulled up beside your table. The addition of the Malaga really brings to mind creme brulee and butterscotch pudding. Nosing again, even more after dinner treats come to mind.
Palate: Very satiny texture with a sophisticated, chic layering. The hints that the aroma gave you live up to expectations. The longer aging has definitely imbued more oak characteristics, but the Malaga rounds all of the tannins off while complimenting the sweetness of the barley.
Tasting Notes: Red Spot
Appearance: Reddish- brown to auburn. Distinctive to the others in the line up with a more red tinge. Similar viscous effect while swirling the glass.
Nose: The malted barley component seems to come through more with this expression. Also adding a copper element and fresh picked strawberries to the aroma.
Palate: The hints of strawberry and darker berries are live up to in the taste. Definitely more astringent with a much longer finish. The Red Spot is reminiscent of skipping dessert and going right to cigars after dinner.
Tasting Notes: Blue Spot
Vital Stats: Cask Strength 117.4 proof ( 58.7% A.B.V.) will vary from batch to batch. Single pot Still aged at least 7 years in ex-sherry and new and refill bourbon barrels as well as Portuguese Madeira wine casks. $95.
Appearance: Pale amber. Slightly darker and richer than the Green and Yellow.
Nose: Complex, deep and layered. As well as the ever present barley and malted barley, baking spices are much more present. It is as if all of the fruit and berries from the other expressions have melded together to tell the complete story. The initial hit and the high alcohol is noted, but not unpleasant.
Palate: Much like a good story or a great whiskey, the beginning, middle, and end should all be distinctive but seamlessly blend into one another. Not only that, you should still be thinking about and contemplating its meaning even after you have finished. You get the barley, you get the fruit, you get the distinctiveness of the Madeira and the high proof, but it is as if it is telling you its story in a comforting wise voice.
Tasting each of these in succession and seeing how they relate to each other, you really get a sense of their designed intent. I can picture the Green Spot being an everyday sipper, something that the barkeep at your favorite spot would set in front of you without asking. You might enjoy the Yellow Spot after a birthday celebration. The Red Spot when you are reconnecting with someone who has always been important to you. And, the Blue Spot when you want to remember something forever.
User Review0 (0 votes)
Jason Marshall has spent his career as a bartender advocate and mentor , providing an opportunity for the best new faces and ideas to flourish. The process has given him opportunities to stretch creatively, develop wonderful people who branched out to their own passions, and host cocktail competitions with a...