In my first review, I talked about Single Pot Still whiskey, the style of Irish whiskey that has been responsible for the “renaissance” of whiskey coming out of Ireland, and how it’s impacted the world of whiskey. With the deteriorating quality of many blended styles of Irish whiskey over the decades, many which where Single Pot Still whiskeys at one point, like Jameson, Bushmills, Tullamore Dew & Kilbeggan, quantity is unfortunately but logically the producers intent, and no longer the quality. There is nothing wrong with these styles, as they can be found in most bars across world. These brands have basically been responsible for re-introducing the world to Irish whiskey after its downfall, primarily Jameson. That being said, I talk often with many people at work about them and i’m often met with bored looks, with many of them telling me that they’ve had these whiskey many times, and while they like them, they are looking for something different, many times stating they prefer bourbon (which there is nothing wrong with) and many times talking of Single Malt Scotch – this is where I usher them into Irish single malt, especially for those who don’t prefer a lot of the smoke and robust qualities that are commonly found in Scotch whisky.
The history of whiskey shows that for a long time, Irish single malt was more popular outside the United Kingdom for many years, much more than Scotch single malt. Scotch however rose to power from the ashes and aftermath of events such as Prohibition in the US, where as Irish took much, much longer to recover. As a result of this, most people think of single malt today in respect to Scotland and Scotch whisky exclusively. Many would even think of Japan for single malt before considering Ireland. I do enjoy these styles of whisky as well, and there is by no means anything wrong to say about Scotch or Japanese single malt as they’ve taken the throne of the single malt category, specifically Scotch single malt. So where does this leave Irish whiskey? Well thanks to Midleton “bringing back” the single pot still style and while the Redbreast line is marked as being the classical model of this type, it has been Green Spot, and the “Spot” line that has truly captured people’s minds, hearts and senses back to Irish whiskey. That being said, an unlikely Englishman is in fact the man responsible for the Green Spot that we have today…
In 1805 a man named William Mitchell from Northern England, came to Ireland hoping to set up a bakery business at No.10 Grafton Street, Dublin. He did just that, and in doing so, over the next 82 years would establish a confectionery & coffee shop, known later as Mitchell and Sons. The business passed from William to his son George in those 82 years, and then to William’s grandson, Robert. In 1887, Robert wanted to expand the business into wine marketing and eventually spirits sourcing/crafting; one of these spirits would be whiskey, bought in bulk, from Jameson. In those days the Spot range of whiskey was named “Pat Whiskey”, that is up until 1933 when they would introduce the world to John Jameson and Son 10 year old Green Seal whiskey, which would later become Green Spot.
Throughout the many years of Irish whiskey reigning over the world as the leader in whiskey, the Green Spot range expanded with other aged expressions. While Green Spot was the flagship whiskey bottled at 10 years, there would also come a Blue Spot which was aged for 7 years, the Yellow Spot aged for 12 years, and Red Spot aged to at least 15 years. After the decline of Irish whiskey, Mitchell and Sons ended up halting the production of the other spots, with the Yellow dying out in about 1950. Yet the Green Spot would be the last standing of these legendary whiskies, and to keep up with the times they eventually changed the age of this whiskey from a 10 year to a blend of 7-10 year old single pot still whiskeys, which is the Green Spot we have today. With such a long and truly wonderful history on these remarkable whiskeys, lets dive into the Green Spot!
ABV: 40% // 80 proof
Age: NAS // A blend of 7-10 year old single pot still whiskeys
Mash Bill: 100% Barley (malted & unmalted)
Casks: 1st fill bourbon, re-fill bourbon and sherry
Nose: Very soft, sweet scents and quite toasty. Spots of honey, a few pinches of ginger with a bit of lemon. Sherry sweetness is present also, rich baking spices, raisins and some other notes of currants – caramel and toffee are all clearly displayed along with some green apples.
Taste: Creamy and medium bodied. Rich vanilla, baked apples, and moist banana bread dusted with noticeable spice and giving you the most subtle nudge of a burn, reminding you that you are in fact drinking whiskey. Well textured, with marmalade mixed with crushed hazelnuts. The honey and ginger from the nose come back as well.
Finish: Not a very long finish but this just means that you have to keep diving back into this whiskey till the glass is empty and then later need to refill. The spices from the nose stick with you, and don’t leave your tongue, lingering well into the finish. Hints of sweet red grapes come around with pie crust, vanilla and almonds.
Bourbon and House Rating: 96
For a rather long time this legendary whiskey was only available in Ireland, that is up until 2014 when it was launched in the United States. From Tristan & I’s experience with this whiskey, to the feedback of others and the numerous accolades it’s won, Green Spot is considered by many a true Irish treasure. Many people come into my store asking about good Irish whiskey and I commonly find myself pointing them in the direction of Green Spot at least once, if not more during out conversations. It’s what I would call a faithful whiskey, because it’s a good whiskey to have at any time or occasion. Even the hardcore bourbon and scotch drinkers that I have talked to about this guy have generally said that they enjoy this whiskey and is commonly found on the shelf of their home bar or whiskey collection. I gave Green Spot a 96 – a solid, high score, for a solid, classic Irish pot still whiskey.
This goes around $46-$58 in most markets. When you finally acquire this historic whiskey, you’ll see why this one lasted through the ages and why it remains one of the best and fairly inexpensive whiskies around.