Single Pot Still whiskey is a traditional Irish product made from a mash that includes both malted and unmalted barley that is triple-distilled in copper pot stills. The style has seen a resurgence over the recent years, but since I’m late to the party and don’t want to beat a dead horse, the video below is entertaining if you’re in search of a little more information.
…now on to the good stuff!
Green Spot doesn’t cary an age statement, but according to the source it is composed of single pot still whiskey aged in new bourbon, second fill bourbon, and sherry casks for 7-11 years and bottled at 40%.
Notes: Green Spot
Initially, Green Spot’s nose is thin with explicit grain notes. This is not typically my thing but there’s more lying beneath the surface that intrigues. Cereal notes are arid and agile. The nose is full but simple; vibrant, spunky, and young. I enjoy it quite well.
Soft traces of lilac, lavender, and other spring herbs build anticipation as though you’re passing through a blooming garden accompanied by a faint breeze as a crescendo of fresh sliced green apple, green grapes, and a hint of prosecco arrive to steal the show. There’s a trace of peach lingering in there as well. Overall, very fresh and playful.
There are not too many surprises on the palate. The entry is abrupt and the vibrancy of seemingly younger malt takes hold. You get almost exactly what the nose primitively suggests: a clean, light, even, and simple experience.
I expected more fruit to follow through to the palate but I was left longing for something a bit more dashing. The mouthfeel is decent; the grain is conspicuous with a faint velvety texture, but it doesn’t particularly excite or disappoint.
The finish is clean and dry. I’m left thinking the 40% bottling proof makes what is probably otherwise an overwhelmingly delicious drink mediocre.
Yellow Spot is a 12 year old single pot still whiskey matured in bourbon, Spanish Sherry, and Spanish Malaga casks bottled at 46.0%.
Notes: Yellow Spot
Yellow Spot’s bouquet carries the same coarse, grain-forward character that drives the experience of Green Spot, but with added complexity, depth, and maturity.
Dusty, musky, burnt, and brandy-esque aromas are amplified as notes of shortbread, ginger, and vanilla–exuberant in comparison, but for the ensemble restrained–fill in the gaps.
Extravagant butterscotch and dark fruit enchant. It’s borderline spectacular. Between the two, I’m exponentially more interested in courting this Spot than the other.
When drinking, the front-palate is excited and sweetness moves from front to back as darker notes carry into the finish. The extra wood influence rounds out the palate by calming the spirit and dressing it in modest attire.
There’s more weight on the body here and Yellow Spot is confident carrying it. It introduces itself as relaxed and sophisticated but, unfortunately, as you get acquainted it doesn’t continue to shed layers. A true master of first impressions.
A hint of ripened banana sweetens up the finish. Clean and easy.
Green Spot & Yellow Spot Blend
Because both of these whiskeys each had their own distinct profiles, I was curious if they’d work well in a blend. The answer was yes, sort of.
Blending these two mutes the best aspects of each on the nose, but the palate more than makes up for the loss. At a ratio of 50/50 the young spirit is cut with a bit of wood, but not overpowered. The spunky character of Green Spot works quite well with the depth and relaxation of Yellow Spot. The two combine for an interesting and enjoyable blend that is both fresh and buttery.
I [very unscientifically] experimented with different ratios and arrived at 70/30 in favor of Yellow Spot to suit my tastes. If you have both of these bottles at home I encourage you to take them off the shelf and have a little fun yourself.
My first taste of both Spot whiskeys was at the beach, so my initial thought was that the salty/briny air was causing both to come off much sweeter than they actually were. As I eventually tried them in different settings it became apparent that this wasn’t the case.
These are sweet whiskeys plain and simple.
In different settings both held true to their character. I enjoyed Yellow Spot on all occasions, but Green Spot jumped up a few notches the second time, showing off the spring herbs mentioned above.
Could Green Spot be a shapeshifter? I think so, but I’ll need to revisit in a few months to find out. It’s good, but not near as interesting as Yellow Spot. It’s a bit too thin for me, but I can understand why so many are raving fans. It’s an easy, quality drink.
I can’t say Yellow Spot is one of my favorites, but I do like it. It’s assertive and interesting with more complexity–and it has a dark side which scores bonus points with me.
Considering price, Green Spot is a decent buy at about $50 if you prefer your whiskey smooth and polite, but Yellow Spot isn’t worth the 2x markup it commands.
I probably won’t be seeking out either of these bottles in the future, but I’d be delighted to receive either as a gift! And speaking of gifts, I must say thank you to Marshall Smith for sending these samples!
C++ for Green Spot
B- for Yellow Spot