Review: Yellow Spot 12 Years Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Yellow Spot 2.jpg
Ex-bourbon, Ex-oloroso, and Ex-malaga casks
Malted and Unmalted Barley
Distiller Midleton (Midleton, Ireland)

Another independent Irish whiskey bottling from the producers of Green Spot, matured in ex-bourbon, ex-orloso, and ex-malaga (a sweet fortified wine made from pedro-ximinez and moscatel grapes, originating in the town of Malaga). It took its time coming to North America, coming in 2015 - but it was orignally a 12 y.o. product of Mitchell and sons (along with an 8 y.o. blue spot, a 10 y.o. green spot - the current version is now 7-10 yrs old, and a 15 y.o. green spot) which dropped off the shelves in the 1960s and came back with the increasing popularity of Irish whiskey.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L710131139 08:55

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Woody and complex on the nose – loads of spices and a terrific, rich, barley character to it. An earthy character, dried apricots, prunes – terrific nose. Oak, star anise, oily, green grass, vanilla, caramel, red fruits...The palate is lightly oaky, with custard, dried fruit, and nutmeg and clove on the slightly drying finish. The mouthfeel is just terrific – mouthcoating and oily.

Definitely more cask driven than Green Spot, but it works really well. A very different whiskey – I like it a tad less, yet I’d pay more for it (does that make sense to anyone? It’s in a style that tends to be more expensive) - but my preference depends on the day.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $100.

Review: Bib & Tucker Small Batch White Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

1 day; Ex-bourbon Casks
72% Corn, 15% Malt, 13% Rye
Distiller N/A (USA; Produced by 3 Badge Beverage Corp.)

I was resistant to try this one, as white whiskeys only go so far - but after the president of 3 Badge said he was quite "bullish" on the category, my interest was piqued. Generally, white whiskey - unaged, or, in this case, barely aged - is quite harsh and unpleasant. It really is a category separate from whisky, in my opinion - and white grain spirit or a similar designation would make more sense to me. However, given that 3 Badge makes Masterson's (I love the rye and the barley), I'm always curious to see what else is up their sleeve.

This is matured (perhaps rested is a better description) for 24 hours in once-used Bib & Tucker bourbon barrels after it has been distilled first in a column and then a pot still. White whiskeys are more popular for cocktail uses than straight sipping, so I'll look at some of the recommended cocktails too.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: 001

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

There is a lot of corn on the nose, but it doesn’t have the harshness or rawness of most white whiskeys. Sweet, grainy, and spicy – it seems to me that this is designed as a white whiskey, unlike most which are just the initial products before going into the barrel, full of fusel oils which turn into flavorful esters later in the process. Probably the second best white grain distillate, after stalk and barrel’s rye new make. The palate is easy and pleasant, with corn, dill, and a bit of spice and maple on the end – the end is drying, with a touch of coriander seed and clove. Clean, with a light finish. Not bad!

Value: Low (based on $75; yes, Canadian prices - in the US it is about $40USD....)

I must add that the above is a sipping score. This was made to be mixed. How does it fare? It  its own quite well as part of a boulevardier (better than the aged stuff!). Quite nice, in fact.  It also would work quite well as part of an improved whisky cocktail too (an old fashioned with a dash of marascino and absinthe). It makes a particularly nice black manhattan – though I like making a variant with 1 ½ oz bourbon/rye, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and 1 oz amaro. This is similar to their cynarly cocktail on the website, but I didn’t have any cynar to use on it at the moment. I was interested to try their lightning fizz recipe, because I like allspice – that one works a charm, though add 0.5 oz of allspice dram not 5 oz. Whoever put that cocktail together did a brilliant job - the allspice notes pair brilliantly with the nuttiness of the whisky.