While Middleton’s modus operandi seems to bank on the historical names of Jameson & Power’s I would say that it’s had the most success with the brands It acquired from wine & spirit merchants. Both Redbreast & the “spot” line-up succeeded in reaching a single malt loving audience in ways it’s other brands had not.
Both product lines were created by independent merchants who bought bulk spirit from Midleton which they put into the various fortified wine casks that were left over from their main businesses. It’s a formula that works well in today’s cask finish dominated market and allows them to sell more of their whisky without seeing too much of an overlap in flavor profile.
The final subject in this Irish pot-still throw down is Yellow Spot, a 12 yr old blend of Ex-bourbon cask, sherry butt & Malaga wine casks (a fortified wine made using Pedro Ximénez & Moscatel grapes).
Nose: Sharp, sweet oak, mineral oil, the nose starts of tight, a bit of apples and jujubes. Yeasty, floral a bit of gooseberry. With time it gets creamy, like whipped cream on top of fruits & custard. There is some oak but it's in the background like a green sappy feeling, overall it's focused on the rich and floral.
Palate: Initially sweet, macadamia nuts, firm oak, coconut, pears and melon. Linseed oil & cooked porridge. There is darker notes from the casks, rich and perfumed with a slight musky center.
Finish: Apples & dried fruit mingle, there's a sharpness there but it is subdued under the richness of the fortified wines. Which in turn dry out rather than allow the palate to naturally decay.
Notes: It is quite a rounded whisky, initially rich and bright, it's just on the border of being too much and that astringent finish doesn't help.
So we now reach the conclusion of out foray into Irish single pot still whisky, what have we learned?
There is a thread that runs through all of them, a mineral, plasticine wax & linseed thing. This unmalted pot still distillate is a trip texture wise, it's super clingy and heavy no wonder it’s been successfully used as the backbone of the Jameson blends, I can see how this full bodied whisky can hold up to a heavy diluting of grain whisky.
All 3 had that powdered sugar confectionery note, like the powder at the bottom of sugar covered jujubes.
They also all had a little spirit kick left to them and some astringency I don't know if that's just the casks or maybe it's the ABV at which the casks are filled.
It's unique and breaks from the flavour palate you'd get in single malt.
@RianC yes I think I might get what you mean by that metallic twang, I sometimes get a coppery tone from some whisky and it's happened individually. I am rather infatuated with this style and wish there were more opportunities to try it.
I recently noticed that the new Method & Madness line by Midleton just released a couple of cask finished pot still whisky. first it was a chestnut cask, now there's cherry wood & acacia cask finishes. While I think finishes can be gimmicky, I am definitely curious to see these "uncommon' woods at work in whisky casks and this style seems to work well for it.
@RianC I found the Green Spot better than the Yellow, despite the younger age (or because of it?) and lower abv %. The Yellow Spot was just too muted for my tastes. It opened up nicely with water, but I feel the Green Spot has more traditional Single Pot Still flavours and aromas. Maybe the Malaga casks throw the balance off too much for my liking. I didn't dislike the Yellow Spot, but I won't buy it again. The Green Spot on the other hand.....