Whisky Connosr

Green Spot Single Pot Still

Green Giant (if an inch short)

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

21st Oct 2014


Green Spot Single Pot Still
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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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.

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