There are exceptions to every rule and sometimes our intuitions are wrong. I rarely purchase whiskies bottled at 40% abv, since many tend to be mixers or "entry-level" offerings that don't interest me much. Whiskies bottled at 40% are commonly weak, thin, and uninteresting when sipped neat. However awhile back, a friend had me try an Irish Single Pot Still bottled at 40% abv that was delectable. As time went on, I wondered if the whiskey in question was really that good, or if my memory was playing tricks on me. I had to get a bottle to see if my memory was faulty or if it was the real deal.
Bonded Whiskey, what is that?
Green Spot is a bonded Irish whiskey, made for Mitchell & Son by Midleton. The whole thing used to be more common, and it is not unlike what happens in bourbon or in Canadian whisky. For example, MGP of Indiana produces a ton of bourbon whiskey and sells it to "craft" distillers who bottle it and sell it as their own product, while the "craft" distiller's own product ages. But unlike many MGP-sourced bourbons, there is no attempt by Mitchell & Son to hide the true provenance of their whiskey. Yay for transparency !
- Nose (undiluted): Classic spicy green Pot Still notes (cardamom perhaps? a touch of mint), pears, peaches, caramel, green apples, a little ginger
- Palate (undiluted): richer than you might expect from 40% abv, creamy texture, ripe pears, toffee, a herbal note near the end
- Finish: medium length, vanilla, more pears, ginger, a little nutmeg, oak
With water, the nose becomes a bit oakier with a touch more ginger coming through. The texture does NOT benefit from the addition of water as the wonderful creaminess disappears when the whiskey is diluted. Skip the water and sip this one neat.
I was surprised that this whiskey is just as good, nay, better than I remembered it. Despite the low proof, it is rich, creamy, chewy and all other kinds of delicious. It may not be a popular opinion, but I like Green Spot even more than Yellow Spot. Now I'll admit that this one may not blow people away right off the hop; but if you have a whole bottle, you'll gain an appreciation of how flawlessly made it is. It may be counterintuitive to prefer a younger, lower abv whiskey to its older, higher abv sibling, but Green Spot seems to be the exception to the rule.
@Nozinan I’m sure you’ll get the chance to try it. Whiskey constantly surprises me. Just when I think I’ve got my “ideal parameters” figured out, something like this (or more recently Bushmills 10) comes along and proves me wrong. I guess the lesson is “don’t assume before you try”.