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.