Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Gawd bless the Irish. We can forgive them for giving us the likes of Westlife and The Corrs, for they have also supplied the world with Single Pot Still whiskey. Whereas Scottish whisky uses malted barley (which has been tricked into germinating), Single Pot Still whiskey uses a mixture of malted barley and unmalted, or green, barley, before being distilled in a pot still.

The Yellow Spot whiskey, with an ‘e’, comes from the Midleton distillery in Ireland, and is made for Mitchell & Sons alongside the well-regarded Green Spot to evoke the glories of another age. The spot branding, incidentally, comes from the way the casks were marked with coloured spots of paint – and there used to be red and blue spots as well. This particular style of whiskey was last bottled in the 1950s, and Yellow Spot “is the rare taste of a bonder’s style Single Pot Still Irish whiskey”. Bottled at 46%, it’s made up of whisky that’s been matured fully for 12 years in three types of cask: American bourbon casks, Spanish sherry butts and Spanish Malaga casks, which does all kinds of sexy-crazy stuff to the whisky. I picked up a bottle of the Yellow Spot after being impressed by the samples at the recent Whisky Show at Vinopolis.

Colour: a vibrant amber. Catches a really yellow glow in the right light. On the nose: very interesting. A fresh blast of lemon and lime, gin and tonic. Sweet notes settle in: sherry, crème brûlée, custard. Leave it a moment and come back to it: even more desserts come to mind.

In the mouth: now that’s a texture. Satin bedsheets, 80s chic. The theme is undeniably about the barley, but it’s the centre of something very layered. Fruit flavours spiral around it, orange, lemon, grapefruit. A very clean Assam tea. The sweetness is there following on from the nose, but it’s not too much: it’s very subtle. A super-silky finish, with plenty of gentle spice and heat, but again that lovely barley comes along as a reminder of what it’s all about. Sometimes it doesn’t strike me as complex as it could be, but perhaps I’m being deceived by its wonderful texture.

This is after-dinner stuff, the kind of thing you’d pour when you’re about to stretch out on your leather couch with your lady or man friend (or both depending on your scene) and maybe stick on a bit of Spandau Ballet. I’m not quite sure why I’ve gone all 80s with this – after all, this whisky is meant to hearken back to a style of the 50s – but it is a wonderfully smooth operator, classy, stylish, evocative, fruity – if a little quick to finish.

A bottle will cost you £60.

    1. Malt says:

      Above any other? Now that’s a tough one. This is a great everyday whisky. I don’t like using the word smooth, but this really is smooth and approachable, and good value for money.

      That said, there are a couple of Japanese whiskies coming up on Monday from the Karuizawa distillery that are more expensive, but absolutely worth it.

      A vague answer, I know…

      1. Ahhhh smooth wise would you say it was similar to the Dalwhinnie 15 yo?

        Not sure the other halfs patience could stand a Karuizawa! (cost wise)

        You must have built a considerable collection of whisky, do you invest in it or just drink it?

        1. Malt says:

          Probably a lot smoother than the Dalwhinnie, though probably doesn’t have quite as much variety in flavours. The Dalwhinnie is a very good whisky.

          Drink! Well, the collection never gets too big, since I like to finish the bottles rather than have them sit around for more than a year or so. I order multiples of samples quite a bit, before I commit to a whole bottle. The Whisky Show was brilliant, as I got familiar with a lot of whiskies all in one go, so now I have a few on my radar, so to speak.

          There are a couple of whiskies I’ve got sitting on the side. A Port Ellen from 1982, and a Nikka Single Grain Whisky form 1995. They’re as of yet unopened. I have no idea when I’ll drink them. Of course, the Port Ellen is likely to go up in price…

          1. Ahhh I hate finishing a bottle so I tend to leave a few drams in the bottom just as a little reminder so that I know what its like before purchasing a replacement! of what you have at the moment which is your favourite?

            Mine has to be my Glenlivet Nadurra its fantastic!

            I missed TWS this year but am already planning next years attendance now!

            Don’t know if you’ve seen it but DK have a whisky opus they released last month, it is a fantastic reference for Distilleries and is great to dip in and out of! take a look and let me know what you think of it!

            Im not sure how you can have them sat on a shelf goading you with their sealed caps! I would have to drink it! how many bottles would you say you have going at any one time?

          2. Malt says:

            My favourite at the moment? Possibly the Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2006 or the Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée Chateau Margaux. I change each month!
            I spotted the DK book yes – will check it out, thanks.

            I probably have no more than about 13,14 open at any one time. I keep quite a few sealed, since it gives me more to look forward to and they’ll keep better perhaps. What about you?

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