Whisky Advocate

Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey is back!

May 31st, 2012

Iorwerth Griffiths, Whisky Advocate contributor, shares the news of a new release from Midleton Distillery.

About a year ago at Midleton Distillery, the Irish single pot still whiskey category was relaunched, with the promise of a new whiskey each year. At The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, London, the first of those promised releases has just seen the light of day.

“Welcome back to an old friend,” said Kevin O’Gorman, Irish Distillers master of maturation, as Yellow Spot single pot still whiskey was released on May 23.

Yellow Spot was, like its stablemate Green Spot, an old bonder brand of Dublin wine merchant’s Mitchell and Son. Fittingly Jonathan Mitchell from Mitchell and Sons was also on hand to launch the whiskey to invited guests.

The colors — the “spots” — came from their practice of daubing each selected cask with paint to denote how long the whiskey would be kept in cask. For many long years, Green Spot kept the tradition alive, and now Yellow Spot returns for the first time since the early 1960s. Yellow Spot is bottled at 12 years old and 46% ABV, and 500 cases will be released annually.

However, what is more interesting are the casks used in the vatting. Joining first fill ex-bourbon and sherry casks are ones formerly used for Malaga wine, a sweet wine from Spain that uses the Pedro Ximenez grape. The choice of wood partly reflects Mitchell and Sons’ history, as they would have imported fortified wines and then used the casks to mature whiskey. Irish Distillers proudly boast that they are not involved in ‘finishing’ any of their whiskeys, so that means that the Malaga wine component will also have spent at least 12 years in the wood.

Yellow Spot is certainly a step up from Green Spot, with more wood and spice coming to the fore, and is an excellent addition to the ever-growing ranks of Irish single pot still whiskey.

25 Responses to “Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey is back!”

  1. PeteR says:

    Do you know when (or if) we would see some of it in US? When will you post your review?

    • John Hansell says:

      There is no date set for US importation. I will be getting a review sample but, with the whole Customs BS, I don’t know when I will get it.

  2. Jordan says:

    Sounds like intriguing stuff. Definitely excited about the respectable bottling proof.

  3. Red_Arremer says:

    Nice– Look forward to more details about availability and price!

  4. H.Diaz says:

    46% ABV – very nice. I’ve looong grown tired of only seeing 40% ABV from Irish folk.

  5. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Irish True, I love to see Spots. Any news about bringing back the other Spots (Red n Blue)?
    If you “know” John,what are the similarities and differences of the 4 Spots?

    • Jim Clarke says:

      Age was the difference. Blue Spot was 7 years old historically, Green 10, Yellow 12 and Red 15. I understand that there is no plans to resurrect the Blue Spot since the current Green is closer to that age now. I would have greater hopes that we might see a Red Spot sometime down the tracks though.

      • John Hansell says:

        With Redbreast arlready out there, I would doubt it. Too much confusion with the “Reds”. But it would be nice though.

        • Jim Clarke says:

          One possibility I wouldn’t rule out is a Jameson branding of the Redbreast range. The alternative is to split from tradition and make the top marque the Blue Spot. From what I heard, there are no plans to go younger than the current Green, but the response to Yellow already has those involved thinking to an older whiskey. However, as with the Malaga element of Yellow Spot, there would need to be a USP to differentiate it from existing single potstills as well as any future IDL plans. So very early days, but I’d expect it to happen eventually.

  6. Justin Victor says:

    In Mark Gillespie’s interview last week about Yellow Spot, Kevin O’Gorman of Irish Distillers said that there are no plans currently to bring any of this to the US. Sorry gang. Stay tuned. Maybe that will change.

  7. john brinckerhoff says:

    According to their blending guy, we’ll have to go over the pond to get some, no US sales

  8. Tim says:

    I bought a bottle online and had it shipped to Ohio. Got it in 5 days. It is very nice. Definitely more spice than the Green, more complex. Very very good.

  9. Jim says:

    I had 3 bottles shipped to Florida from thewhiskyexhange and got them within a week with no problems.

  10. [...] finally got a chance to taste Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey this week and must say that I was very impressed. I can’t imagine any true Irish [...]

  11. Gary Gillman says:

    John, I saw your recent remarks on Yellow Spot and therefore look forward to trying it. I am hoping it is rather a step up from the current Green Spot, which I find disappointing. (I’m referring to the one in the updated bottle shape, although I assume there is no change in the whiskey itself). I find it has a marked “fresh wood” character, the wax and mint notes are there too but less dominant than I recall. I prefer a more “seasoned wood” taste. Whereas 10 years ago and more, I recall Green Spot having a delightful greengage or juicy fruit gum-like taste, fresh and fruity not from sherry casks, or predominantly so, but from the raw barley in the mash and distillation method. Green Spot always varied to a degree as any good non-blend should, but again this current one leaves me cold. I will definitely buy the Yellow Spot when I see it though and perhaps it has more the palate I recall from the Green Spot of years back.

    Gary

    • John Hansell says:

      Gary, the only Green Spot I have right now is one of the older bottles from many years ago, so I can’t make the comparison for you. Sorry.

  12. Dara says:

    Yellow Spot has been taken off the shelves of most retailers here in Ireland.
    Apparently the launch was such a sucess that stocks at their warehouses are running low and with a second bottling not due till next month they’re worried that there won’t be enough stock to meet the usual demand for premium whiskeys at christmas.
    I know Mitchells themselves only get a handful of bottles every few weeks for their own store and there is a “waiting list”.

  13. The leveller says:

    Flew out from Cork airport last night back to London – a very impressive range of Irish whiskey there – lots of yellow spot, along with the Barry Crocketts & the regular lines of Powers Johns Lane etc. Yellow Spot was 65 Euros on the shelves.

  14. Peter says:

    Just returned through Shannon today, plenty of yellow spot at duty free, EUR 47.50.

  15. Justin says:

    Just got back from Ireland, brought a green and a yellow back! No yellow to be found in Dublin, it’s sold out. Got the yellow at Jamison distillery in midleton (they indeed do have some in their shop), they’re now sitting next to my bushmills distillery reserve and bushmills 21 here at home! Unfortunately there are zero plans to distribute any mitchell & sons whiskey outside Ireland, have to go to the island to get some unless someone wants to sell one they brought back here in the us (not me!).

  16. Gary says:

    Just got back from Ireland and brought a Yellow Spot back with me. Will save it for a special occasion.

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