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Green Spot Single Pot Still

Average score from 12 reviews and 26 ratings 84

Green Spot Single Pot Still

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@OdysseusUnbound
Green Spot Single Pot Still

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 !

Tasting notes

  • 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.

@OdysseusUnbound

I agree whisky continues to surprise. Sometimes random samples just occur!

Macallan 12 (US 43% version) and Benromach 10 43%, as well as a number of Canadian releases, have taught me that low ABV can sometimes work well. But I maintain that any of these low ABV whiskies would be even better if they allowed us to decide how much to dilute them.

Great review. Green Spot has been on my list of whiskies to try for some time now I really do need to grab a bottle!

@Robert99

The St-Julien French wine was one of my favorite before its price became stratospheric. It is famous for the second round of notes of prunes, leather, tobacco and earth. For me, some of them were like coming in a stable full of horses with a basket of ripe red fruits. Can this great wine provide a nice finish to an Irish whisky?

Even if its name is Green Spot Leoville Barton, you have to be aware that this triple distilled whisky has seen two other cssks before finishimg into the famous St-Julien wine cask. So it starts its live in Bourbon barrel and goes into Sherry cask and then end into the wine cask. Now, lets see how this aging process is doing.

The nose: Right from the pour, I got rubber but please let your dram take air. I left my glass for half an hour and then the rubber became integrated with an animal side to it but in front, you have spices like from the best french oak with a strong clean mint and a winey side that works. In the background there is a ton of flavors: vanilla, cereal, a soft majoram, a faint sage and just the idea of sweetness.

The palate: Wow! I was not expecting that... The bourbon delivers a nice warm toffee and all the flavors from the nose follow but in a second role. It is very sweet.The spices are now more sherry notes with the mint being smaller. Swirling a sip, you have a more buttery caramel.

The finish: The mint seems to carry the spices. They both fade away and leave place to the same but faint buttery caramel. If you take air, the rubber comes back with is animal side. The empty glass is more herbal with a nice tea flavor, homey and prune.

Conclusion: This bottle was opened maybe three months ago. My first impression was that the wine finish was more obvious. Now, the influence of the two other casks is more present. I would prefer it if the rubber note was more discreet but all in all, I really like it a lot. The quality of the french oak is fantastic. I think the rubber note may come from the sherry cask. At the end, it is the sweetness with the buttery of the bourbon cask that links all the flavors together

@Nozinan It is my first Green Spot but I suppose the wine finish make it quite different from the regular expression. Freshly opened, I would have give it 3 to 4 points more if only for having the biggest wine finish I encountered that works. Thanks for the kind words.

Very nice review. I've passed by Green Spot and Yellow spot a few times and I figure one these days I'll pull one off the shelf...

@Rantavahti

Green Spot is a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey matured in first fill and re-fill bourbon casks and sherry casks. Coming from New Midleton Distillery (which makes Redbreast), I had high hopes tasting this at Irish whiskey tasting in our local whisky community.

Somehow this dram didn’t rock my boat as much as I had thought. Probably too young for this kind of palate, a bit rough. Green Spot is like a TV movie, having few moments of glory, but at time to time, being a bit dull.

Full of green fruits, felt like I was tasting it on a House On Greenapple Road.

Nose: Hints of sherry and green apples. Apricot in a perfume kinda way, the aromas are delicate. Sugared barley notes.

Taste: Green fruits like apples and (raw) pears, and some rubber notes. Water brings out nice toffee.

Finish: Quick, with spices and bitter notes, hints of oak with small amounts of vanilla.

Balance: The nose makes a lot more promises, than the actual taste gives. Not a bad dram but too delicate for my taste and a bit one-sided. Have to keep in mind, that these tasting notes are based on only one sample, though. Probably a full, oxidated bottle of this might chance the score over time.

Yes, I have to try it again. I really feel like a bottle of this opened, resting in the cabinet, would give different results than a freshly opened bottle at a tasting. For me the nose felt delicate, it was hard to get aromas from it. Taste and aftertaste were more powerful, yet bit dull. But based on 2-3 cl sample, my review is not the most reliable even for myself...

Interesting. Do try Green Spot a few more times, when you get the chance. I've never found it delicate, and I've always liked it a lot.

@WhiskyBee

It was with much fanfare that legendary Irish whiskey Green Spot was made available in the States last spring. Produced by the Midleton Distillery (best known for Jameson), and made for and distributed by wine merchants Mitchell & Son, its name derives from the Mitchell family tradition of marking barrels with spots of paint (Green, Yellow, Red, Blue) to indicate age. Aged in bourbon and sherry casks, its mashbill incorporates malted and, unique to Irish whiskey, unmalted barley. No grain whiskey involved. Pure copper pot-still stuff, in the manner of Redbreast (also produced at Midleton). Aged at least seven to eight years (although some sources say seven to ten).

I have some very nit-picky reservations about Green Spot, but based on my fourth and fifth drams from a two-week old bottle, I’d say its high reputation is well-earned. It may not surpass Redbreast 12 CS as my favorite Irish, but it may well be the best 40% ABV whiskey or whisky I’ve ever tasted. At minimum strength, it’s amazingly flavorful and robust. But don’t you dare let it within a hundred yards of a water drop.

Nose: A lollapalooza on the schnozzola. Vanilla, presumably from the bourbon casks, hogs half the show, but there’s abundant complexity in the other half. Sherry, mown grass, caramel, apples, pears, melons, and a touch of menthol-minty Vicks inhaler. Each of these aromas vies for attention at various intervals during a five-minute sit in my Glencairn. It’s exciting, surprising, and whimsical, and I’ve never used such adjectives in a nosing description.

Palate: I’m undecided as to whether this is a letdown after the foretold promise of the nose. On one hand, the complexity dissipates. On the other, it’s so clean, pure, and elegantly understated that I hesitate to complain. The texture, oily and waxy, screams louder than the flavors, and the overall sensation is pleasant and warmly satisfying. Flavors struggling to emerge include plain lettuce, bourbon oak, canned cling peaches, and almonds. I’d like more sweetness. Or maybe not. As I said, I’m undecided. Let’s say it’s perfect in its intentions, but falls short of my desires.

Finish: Not especially long, but long enough to satisfy. Here’s where the mere 40% is justified: no burn, plenty of flavor. Just give me ten more seconds, please. Sweet and salty in perfect balance, like a soft pretzel dipped in vanilla icing. Honey, caramel, and maybe some hints of tart goat cheese. A little mint as it waves goodbye. So luscious, but so teasing in its slight abruptness.

There are enough pleasing elements in this whiskey for me to recommend it highly. There are also enough confounding elements to encourage debate. I’ll gladly accept a dram no matter who’s buying.

@PMessinger
@markjedi1

Mitchell & Sons is a wine merchant that has been active since 1805 and in the Roaring Twenties that sold about 100 sherry casks of pot still whiskey per year. The blend was originally named Pat Whiskey and marketed as a 10 Year Old. Then they also bottled a whiskey named Spot, referring to the spot of paint that put on the casks to denote the age. There was a Blue Spot, Red Spot, Yellow Spot and Green Spot. The version bottled today is a bit younger, between 8 and 9 years, of which a quarter matured on sherry casks.

Honeysweet, but soft nose on honey, vanilla, dough, hay and apples. Pears, too. Floral touch. A bit of mint. Evolves toward Petit Beurre cookies with butter. Hint of milk chocolate. Fresh, but light.

It is clean, on the palate, but the body is a bit light. The floral element is very dominant. Chemical sweetness, which is a shame. Citrus, peel included. Breakfast cereals. Some green wood. A salty edge. Spicy.

The long finish on citrus and nutmeg work towards a bitter finale.

Playful nose, maybe a bit too playful, but on the palate and the finish it kind of collapses. Around 35 EUR.

@tjb

Only 1200 bottles of this Irish single pot still Whiskey each year. The nose offers butterscotch, grass, sweet light fruits and a floral hint. The palate gives honey, oak, a tiny whiff of smoke which leaves with a short sweet and slightly peppery finish.

A lovely drop, not challenging but easy to drink.

@talexander

I already reviewed this single pot still whiskey back in March, but it is re-posted here. My notes would be the same, but on a purely subjective level I think I would give this a higher score, just because I love Irish pot still even more now than I did a scant few months ago:

"About a bajillion years ago, in 1887, there were 28 distilleries in Ireland, and only one did not produce single pot still whiskey. Today it's almost the reverse - Midleton is the one Irish distiller (not there are many more) that produces single pot still. What is unique about Green Spot is that the brand is owned by the last Irish whiskey bonder, Mitchell & Son. You see, back in the day, Irish whiskey was sold by companies (whiskey bonders) that provided distillers with casks to fill, and when those casks came back they were matured in warehouses owned by those bonders. When matured, the bonders then sold those whiskies under their own brands. So while the Scots were building global brands like Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal, Irish distillers were entrusting their spirit to local companies that had absolutely no ability to attract consumers beyond their local geographic influence. It's no wonder that by the 1960s Irish whiskey commanded a scant 1% of the global whiskey market. That has changed in recent years, as Irish whiskies such as Jameson and Bushmills have been growing internationally by leaps and bounds, thanks to excellent marketing, celebrity endorsements and a general growth in whisky consumption.

Mitchell & Son identify the casks in their warehouse by a splash of variously coloured paint - and until recently (with the newly rebranded 12 year old Yellow Spot), Green Spot (with no age statement) was the last surviving expression (and historically was always the most popular). The newest release features much more elegant package design than previous releases.

The colour is a bright light gold. The nose is fresh cut grass and anise; herbal, clean and fresh. Eucalyptus and menthol. Water brings out more of that fresh eucalyptus but with more spice.

The palate is even more herbal (oil of oregano), more anise, and some cinnamon. Almonds and pears. Spicy and nutty. Classic pot still, absolutely lovely. Water generally dilutes the palate, but gives a creamier mouthfeel.

The finish is light and brisk, medium length, with lots of lingering spice and fruitiness. As far as pot stills go, this is excellent, though I gravitate toward Redbreast 15 and John's Powers Lane (grab either immediately if you get the chance). But grab this too, as it is not easy to obtain. It's an excellent introduction to what I think is the pinnacle of Irish whiskey styles."

@talexander, very true, "Or he just didn't like it." That could well be the case. And, yes, as you say, lots of people just don't care for the Irish style, in general. My point is that there are some whiskies that really lose their sparkle when they have sat around for awhile. Greenspot, at least what I've had of it from your original big non-Christmas Calendar bottle, is one I would call a "sparkly" or 'bright' sort of whiskey, that bottle of it anyway. I can imagine an old bar sample of that one as not tasting anywhere near as good as the sample I had and loved. I was very pleasantly SURPRISED by it, because even though I find most Irish whiskeys to be agreeable enough, they almost never blow me away, and few of them do I like as much as I like the Greenspot.

I think it's a little from column 'a' (possible over-oxidation / loss of "sparkle") and a little from column 'b' (not my style - I found it light and uncomplicated). I did note the fill level was around 1/3 or even a little under and @Victor's right - I did try it at a whisky bar.

I wasn't too worried though because they have pretty high turnover of the basics - Green Spot was the cheapest Pot Still Irish on the menu and given how well known it is in whisky circles, I figured it was a frequently purchased dram..

I guess I'll have to try again with a fresh sample or bottle to be fair. Thanks for your input guys.

@talexander

About a bajillion years ago, in 1887, there were 28 distilleries in Ireland, and only one did not produce single pot still whiskey. Today it's almost the reverse - Midleton is the one Irish distiller (not there are many more) that produces single pot still. What is unique about Green Spot is that the brand is owned by the last Irish whiskey bonder, Mitchell & Son. You see, back in the day, Irish whiskey was sold by companies (whiskey bonders) that provided distillers with casks to fill, and when those casks came back they were matured in warehouses owned by those bonders. When matured, the bonders then sold those whiskies under their own brands. So while the Scots were building global brands like Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal, Irish distillers were entrusting their spirit to local companies that had absolutely no ability to attract consumers beyond their local geographic influence. It's no wonder that by the 1960s Irish whiskey commanded a scant 1% of the global whiskey market. That has changed in recent years, as Irish whiskies such as Jameson and Bushmills have been growing internationally by leaps and bounds, thanks to excellent marketing, celebrity endorsements and a general growth in whisky consumption.

Mitchell & Son identify the casks in their warehouse by a splash of variously coloured paint - and until recently (with the newly rebranded 12 year old Yellow Spot), Green Spot (with no age statement) was the last surviving expression (and historically was always the most popular). The newest release features much more elegant package design than previous releases.

The colour is a bright light gold. The nose is fresh cut grass and anise; herbal, clean and fresh. Eucalyptus and menthol. Water brings out more of that fresh eucalyptus but with more spice.

The palate is even more herbal (oil of oregano), more anise, and some cinnamon. Almonds and pears. Spicy and nutty. Classic pot still, absolutely lovely. Water generally dilutes the palate, but gives a creamier mouthfeel.

The finish is light and brisk, medium length, with lots of lingering spice and fruitiness. As far as pot stills go, this is excellent, though I gravitate toward Redbreast 15 and John's Powers Lane (grab either immediately if you get the chance). But grab this too, as it is not easy to obtain. It's an excellent introduction to what I think is the pinnacle of Irish whiskey styles.

@j0h3ll

According to Ian Buxton, this is supposed to be one of the best Irish whiskey currently in production. In fact, he considers this one of the very rare and exclusive "holy grail" of whiskeys... I was therefore quite excited when time came to open a bottle with some friends this last St Patrick's Day. Sadly, however, the spirit did not truly live up to my (very high)expectations. Here's what I think of it anyways.

Nose: Not really that much going on. First white fruit, with a clear ripe pear dominance. Wax and soapy notes on the background. Maybe just a hint of lavender as well, which gives a savon de Marseille kind of vibe.

Palate: First wax, then apples, pears, and vibrant citrus. Very fresh and clean, with some slightly bittersweet grape-fruit flavour. Some oak notes on the background, with maybe a very small hint of vanilla as well as something delicately floral. Quite easy to drink and low-profile overall, with a rather volatile mouth feel (induced maybe by the combination of triple distillation and chill filtering...)

Finish: Not the longest of all. Again very clean and refreshing, with a dry edge. Pear notes dominate once again.

Conclusion: Overall a decent whiskey which is far from being painful to drink. However, there is a clear lack of depth which just makes you scream out for "more". Not sure if this is worth all the praise some experts have been giving it over the years. Yet, who am I to say this! Most female members of our whisky club actually love it...

@OJK

Nose: Well, at first not much at all, so much so that one has check that the glass isn't on mute. However after some persistence and a bit of patience, finally some aubergine and cooked courgette come to the fore to put the green into the Green Spot. After the greens we move onto the fruits, principally in the shape of cherries and bananas. The persistence now seems really to be paying off, as the nose slowly evolves and grows into something quite interesting. Ginger and vanilla blend gently into honeycomb and milk chocolate, while a somewhat bitter note of Pritt-Stick glue eases out into a more affable strawberry mousse.

Taste: Once again, quite thin and watery upon entry, however after the experience on the nose one is tempted to be patient and await similar reward. Sadly however the reward never seems to come. Only a few fading silhouettes of honey, and a flickering shortbread hologram can be noted. The soft wind seems to carry a faint and distant cry of toffee and cherry, however one can't tell if it's just the mind playing tricks or not.

Finish: Finally a gust of flavour comes back in to break this sense of desolation. This refreshing eucalyptus breeze carries with it some fine black pepper corns coated in honey, however as the brief wind passes one is left with just a faint trace of burnt oak and tired charcoal on the palate, causing a mild tingling sensation that at least assures us it wasn't just a trick of the mind.

Balance: Well, blink and you'll miss it as the expression goes. Patience certainly pays off on the nose, however no such joy is to be found on the palate. It's a little as if staring expectantly up at the night sky, waiting for a shooting star, only to lie there in vain, slowly falling asleep. Not that the nose is a supernova or anything, however there were at least one or two shooting stars to make a wish from. And on the finish although I wouldn't go so far as to say there were any shooting stars, there were at least the blinking lights of an airplane passing overhead. That all said there are no off-notes, and perhaps with a bit of development there could be a fine whiskey in there somewhere. For the moment though it feels a little like a faint pencil sketch of something that might one day be a painting of note.

Hi @dbk, thanks for your comment, indeed well done for pointing that out, I had in fact forgotten I had commented that! It's a strange one, I first bought my Green Spot bottle just over two years ago and tried it on the day of buying it, and remember very much liking it and became curious about Pot Still whisky in general. I then got on to the Redbreast 12 and fell in love with that (that very much still is a whiskey I'm fond of!), and I think I always remembered the Green Spot in association with that, as I never drank it again since (as unfortunately sometimes happens with some bottles in my collection). To be completely honest I also quite liked the idea of the whiskey, being a hard-to-find Pot Still and with such a memorable bottle and name. So when it came down to trying it again last night for reviewing purposes, I was in fact really looking forward to sitting down with it again. I really sat with it for a while and wanted to give it as much chance as possible, however perhaps what I now expect from a whisky has indeed now changed over the past two years. As I said in the review, there are no off-notes and there's the outline of something potentially very fine, however it didn't quite deliver for me. I'm very much a fan of subtlety and restraint, however this was slightly beyond that for me. Perhaps like with a film that you watch once and remember as being good, and you watch again and it fails to live up to that memory, you're more disappointed than you would otherwise be. This may have contributed to my low-score, however I tried to be as objective as possible when assessing my thoughts on the Green Spot.

Hi @AboutChoice, many thanks! Indeed the nose is the best part of this whiskey, and given its popularity (and as you can see from above my first impressions of it a few years ago!) I would still recommend trying it. I will certainly try and review the Redbreast 12 as soon as possible as it would be interesting to analyse it in light of the discussion above.

Hi @OJK, welcome back! Wow, refined eggplant & zuchini, cherries & bananas, and ginger & vanilla ... I was mesmerized, and was pondering as to how I was going to find this bottle ... before discovering that we hadn't even gotten to the Palate yet :)

In spite of the anti-climatic taste and finish notes, I can't get over that I still want this. But I might hope that you would possibly re-check the palate, and perhaps compare Green Spot to Redbreast 12, etc ? All in all, that was an engaging and fun review !

@dbk

Green Spot is an Irish whiskey produced by Irish Distillers for wine merchants Mitchell & Son of Dublin. It is a pure pot still whiskey (a mixture of malted and unmalted barley), partly matured in sherry casks. And it is simply lovely.

The body is oily; the colour, a sublime honey-yellow.

The nose on this gem is subtle, and beautifully complex. Up front, I find menthol and ripe banana. Hiding just behind, however, is poached pears, vanilla, and a hint of strawberry. Enticing!

The dry overtones on the palate are nicely balanced by a gentle, floral sweetness. This whiskey has a fresh character, with menthol and bananas again, as well as a faint chalkiness (which I’ve also detected in the Greenore 8 year-old), summer peaches, cardamom, and tart grapes. It is exceptionally smooth, the finish signalled by a brief but prominent sour note, vanishing below a fine, lingering resurgence of fruit and mint.

Green Spot has been praised by many, and I can see why. This is a special, delicate whiskey. I take it—like good medicine—on contemplative nights.

great review. love this whiskey, definitely one of my favourites.

Thanks for your kind words @OJK and @markjedi1. I'm glad to have found a bottle; it sets the bar high for Irish whiskey.

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