Yellow Spot came crashing back on to the scene in 2012 after a 60-year hiatus. The recipe was ostensibly pieced back together using
ancient parchments and stone tablets order ledgers found in the Mitchell & Son archives, and since re-release has been a hit both on the award circuit and on the shelves of many a pot still aficionado.
Here it’s all about the sherry casks. They use a greater proportion of refill sherry butts in addition to the first fill bourbon barrels found in the Green Spot formula. But this time, we also have Malaga casks (sweet, often fortified wine), promising something that borders on a sherry monster. Lastly, the extra price tag gets us not only a prominent age statement – 12 – it also scrounges up an extra 3% ABV, letting Yellow Spot percolate at a pleasing 46%.
Aaaaah… relaxation in a glass. Don’t let the eclectic mix of casks on the bill of materials give you the impression that the nose on Yellow Spot is going to be a bludgeon. Instead, it’s silky, lighter and remarkably soft compared to the slightly weaker Green Spot.
Yellow Spot trades the apples for richer orchard fruits (think stewed peaches and apricots). The added sherry/wine casks are right there, dried fruit, jam, spices and citrus. A little less spicy – at least on the nose! – and a lot more creamy. Sour cream. Biscuits. Prunes. Raisins.
Pure heaven in a glass. Hotter, spicier and heavier than Green Spot, and significantly more flavourful and punchy than either Redbreast 12 or 21, albeit with at a cost: The big cask influence means we are slightly removed from crisp, raw pot still foundation.
It’s still there – particularly in the mossy, grassy flavours that coat the palate on the finish – but you can almost feel it being smothered somewhat. A matter of taste, but this is one of the rare cases where I prefer the big, bold barrel (or butt?) influence.
It’s a dessert whiskey, that’s for sure. Spicy, buttery and dark. Think Christmas pudding, mince pies, cloves, brandy, red wine. The texture is awesome – thick and oily, some of the best in the business. And strong. Yellow Spot it teetering on being “too hot”, in that state of careful balance where each sip is a commitment but without being a chore. Truly incredible whiskey!
For funsies I added some water, which made the drink a lot less decadent and a little more easy-to-sip. But even better was to slap some ice in there and let it develop – best of both worlds, but don’t take more than 20 minutes per glass or that ice will do some damage.
Yellow Spot is my Uigeadail of Irish whiskey. Readily available. Eats awards for breakfast. Garners knowing nods among the whisky bros. And tastes absolutely fantastic alongside a pretty reasonable price, all things considered.
Even less of a daily slammer than Green Spot, but one I seem to crack open whenever winter sets in and I need a little heat to warm these tired and creaky bones!