Nose: Lots of pineapple lumps and banana lollies, along with a deliciously pervasive sense of golden syrup on buttered and toasted crumpets. Canned stone fruits such as peaches and apricots also feature heavily. Also some notes of both custard and pecan pies showing up after the whiskey is left to breathe for a moment. Definitely sweet on the nose, but not sickeningly so.
Palate: Sponge cake is the first thing that comes to mind, with those crumpets dripping with golden syrup from the nose coming through as well. Also some fruit jellies, and a late burst of oak spices coming through.
Mouthfeel: Reasonably thick – especially for what I expect from an Irish whiskey. A slight alcohol tingle, but not a lot, and it dies quickly.
Finish: The oak spices hang around for an age, along with some sweet malty bread notes. The fruit and lollies fizzle fairly quickly on the finish relatively speaking.
Ice: A cube or two of ice really brings forth the oak spice notes while flattening the sweetness quite a bit on the palate.
Yellow Spot is a Single Pot-Still Irish whiskey that has been bottled at 46% after being aged for 12 years in a mixture of ex-Bourbon casks, Sherry casks, and Malaga casks (a fortified wine from around the Spanish city of Malaga, made from Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes) – a portion of the whiskey is aged full-term in its respective cask before being married prior to bottling. Yellow Spot is distilled at the Middleton Distillery for Mitchell & Son, family-owned merchants in Dublin.
Mitchell & Son re-released Yellow Spot in 2012 for the first time since production ceased in the late 1950’s. Originally one of a family of four “Spot” whiskies (so named as Mitchell & Son would splash a spot of paint on every cask to easily identify which bottling it was destined for – no different really to mum giving each kid a different coloured lunchbox to ensure we never took the wrong one), along with Green Spot (then 10 years old), Red Spot (15 years old), and Blue Spot (7 years old) – which is not currently bottled. Red Spot was only recently re-introduced, and has yet to make it down here to Australia.
Post World War 2, after world war, civil war, a trade war with the British, a famine, and prohibition in the US, the Irish whiskey industry was in its death throes, so most of the distilleries amalgamated to form Irish Distillers – a move that quite possibly saved the industry from slipping from existence entirely. It was also by that time that Mitchell & Son’s whiskey range had retreated from the four different “spots” down to a catalogue of Green Spot all on it’s own. In 1976 Irish Distillers decided to stop selling independent bond stores and bottlers with its spirit, which was very nearly disastrous for Mitchell & Son whiskey – fortunately Mr Mitchell managed to start a public campaign involving many of Dublin’s high society, which put enough pressure on Irish Distillers that they decided that Mitchell & Son could be the exception to the rule.
Unfortunately during these dark days for Irish whiskey, the recipes for no longer sold Blue Spot, Red Spot, and Yellow Spot were apparently lost. It was only a recent discovery of an unopened bottle of Yellow Spot with a completely intact seal at The Little Museum of Dublin, and a search back through what recipes they could find, and bills of lading to see what had been ordered back then, that enabled Mitchel & Son to recreate the recipe, and re-release Yellow Spot to the market. Thank the heavens for The Little Museum of Dublin – I had no idea we had them to thank for this whiskey’s resurrection when I visited a few years ago.
I really enjoyed my Yellow Spot, and will quite probably buy another bottle of it in the future (so many whiskies to drink, only one liver). Despite the extra two years minimum in casks compared to the Green Spot, I’m not sure that the recipe of Yellow Spot is better, just different – and certainly no less. The extra few percent alcohol though certainly allows the Yellow Spot to punch above the Green Spot.