Green Spot, a pure/single pot still whiskey from the Midleton distillery (they of Jameson fame) has been a bit of a cult whiskey in the US for some time, largely on account of its unavailability. It showed up on these shores again a month or two ago and was greeted with excitement and hype. One retailer sent out a sales email proclaiming it “The Pappy Van Winkle of Ireland” (I’ll let you guess who that was). Once upon a time this kind of thing would have made me want to score a bottle right away but I am more cautious now. In this particular case, as you will see, I am very glad I waited till I’d had a chance to taste a sample.
Green Spot apparently comprises 25% sherry cask matured spirit, and the spirit itself is triple-distilled in a pot still from a combination of malted and unmalted barley (which is what makes it different from Scottish malt whisky, which is also distilled in a pot still and can also be triple-distilled).
Green Spot (40%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Not terribly expressive at first with a dusty, almost cardboardy intro. Some brighter, acidic notes come up from under that after a bit–peppery lime mostly; after a bit takes a turn towards orange. Not really getting a whole lot of sherry here. After a bit there’s some tart-sweet apple and then muskier fruit–pears? That dusty/cardboardy thing doesn’t entirely go away. With more time the lime comes back out.
Palate: Mild with peppery citrus and then some of the musky fruit. Very watery mouthfeel. More cereally on the second sip and something reminiscent of vegetable oil. The citrus gets a little stronger with time and there’s a ghost of sherry in here somewhere but mostly it tastes like it was matured in very inactive casks. At the end there’s a slight soapiness to it too.
Finish: Medium. That minerally note becomes reminiscent of wet cardboard.
Comments: I was expecting to like this but after some promising development on the nose the palate really disappointed. Yes, it’s an easy drinking whisky but there’s not a whole lot else to recommend it; especially at the price (in the region of $50-60 in most markets). Try before you buy. But if you don’t have that opportunity, I recommend that you pass on this–keep in mind, of course, that I don’t seem to have the best record with Irish whiskey. It’s entirely ordinary and while you might feel some small sense of achievement in getting a bottle, the experience of drinking it will likely be less inspiring.
Rating: 76 points.
Thanks to Patrick for the sample!