Blue Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Returns After Decades Of Absence

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / November 11, 2020

The Spot family of Irish whiskeys has a particular fondness in the hearts and minds of lovers of this whiskey category. It came about starting in the early 1900s, when wine and spirits merchants, Mitchell & Son, began maturing whiskey from the local Jameson Distillery in Bow Street in their underground cellars in Dublin City Center. The Spot whiskeys traditionally had splotches of colored paint that were used to indicate the aging potential of each cask. Blue spots indicated seven years, green spots 10, yellow spots 12, and red spots 15, the pinnacle of the range.

The Spot range today is managed by Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard, in conjunction with the Mitchell family. The Green expression had been around for some time, Yellow returned in 2012 and the Red was reintroduced back in 2018 for the first time since the mid-1960s. That left only Blue Spot, which we first took notice of its potential return to the fold earlier this year. Now it has officially been brought back.

Blue Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Blue Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (image via Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard)

The new Blue Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, according to those behind it, launches after the most recent existing record of it was found to be 1964. Some 56 years later, reuniting the historic Spot Family for the first time in over half a century, what one has here is a reimagined offering that first builds upon the foundation of bourbon and sherry casks. What is added in is whiskey aged in ex-Madeira casks, said to be “inspired by the historical inventory of Mitchell & Son and typical of the Spot style of whiskey.”

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In notes from the brand, “the team at Irish Distillers’ Midleton Distillery have been sourcing Madeira wine seasoned casks for over 20 years. These casks are carefully handcrafted in a cooperage in the north of Portugal and then sent to the island of Madeira. Once seasoned, the casks are shipped back to Midleton and filled with pot still distillate and left to mature, allowing the Madeira wine influence to impart wonderful flavours of stewed apples, hazelnuts and sweet spices. These Madeira casks, along with ex-Bourbon and ex-sherry casks are then hand selected and married together.”

“It is with absolute pleasure that we reintroduce Blue Spot and bring a piece of Dublin’s rich whiskey history back to life,” said Kevin O’Gorman, Master Distiller at Irish Distillers, in a prepared statement. “Over the years I have had the honour of collaborating with the Mitchell family, who for generations have celebrated the influence of fine wines on Irish whiskey, as we have reintroduced expressions to the beloved Spot range.

“I am incredibly proud to celebrate with Jonathan and Robert Mitchell on this historic day as Blue Spot takes its place alongside Green, Yellow and Red Spot, reuniting the whole family once again.”

“It’s been a privilege to shed light on the history of whiskey bonding in Ireland and the role our family had to play in it as we relaunch Blue Spot,” added Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director at Mitchell & Son. “The inclusion of whiskey aged in Madeira casks adds flavours that would have been originally introduced into Irish whiskey by the Mitchell family. As the full Spot range comes back to life, we find ourselves bursting with pride for the role our family played in the creation of this treasured range of whiskeys.”

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As it stands now, plans call for a non chill filtered, cask strength release that will see ABV varying annually, Blue Spot is available from this month for €80 (around $95 USD) in Ireland, UK, France, Canada, Northern Ireland and Global Travel Retail, and in the USA from February 2021. You’ll find official tasting notes for it below.

  • Nose: A light mix of pineapple, kiwi, green banana and lime zest followed by Pot Still spices, baked apple, hazelnut and toasted wood.
  • Taste: A smooth mouthfeel with a subtle mix of fruit, a hint of clove oil and cracked black pepper corns. Sweet spices, vanilla and cinnamon add to the wood’s nutty contribution.
  • Finish: A lasting and distinctly palatable balance of exotic fruits and spices.

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