The colour is a rich golden yellow and the nose is punchy with an immediate impact. A heady mix of aromas fight for your attention and combine superbly to give some very promising clues as to what can be expected from this whiskey. There is a distinct sweetness with plenty of vanilla, some honey and malty cereals. These are countered by further aromas of dried grass and wood spices (think of freshly sawn oak and cinnamon).
On the palate, this is initially very spicy and gripping (imagine a combination of notes including bittersweet cereals, cinnamon, nutmeg and oak shavings), before it softens with time in the mouth and becomes a little creamier. It feels almost oily and has notes of vanilla (plenty again), honey and milk chocolate. Underneath is that dried grass, almost hay-like, note from the nose and a distinct citric tang - imagine lemon zest and bitter orange here. With a splash of water, the palate settles and becomes even creamier. The punchy wood spices are softened and the whiskey becomes more delicate, sweet and slightly floral in nature, with the honey and vanilla notes to the fore.
The finish is packed with wood spices and feels quite dry and mouth watering as a result. This oaky, woody spiciness leaves a lasting impression and makes you want to take another sip. With water, the finish becomes sweeter with the vanilla and honey notes prominent, but also seemingly much shorter.
The verdict: This is a lovely new whiskey and an excellent example of the Irish pot still style. It is challenging, in that it is very woody and spicy, but it combines these characteristics superbly with the sweet, rich notes. The depth and complexity created by the aromas and flavours, leaves you wanting another sip once your glass is empty. The overall experience is sublime. As a result, the Yellow Spot is one of our favourite new releases of 2012 to date.
- Whisky For Everyone, 7 June 2012
Nose: Clean and spicy. Cinnamon and cumin sizzling in butter backed with blackcurrant and strawberry fruitiness. There's melted chocolate before it firms into cigar tobacco.
Palate: A very juicy start before those spices pick up and carry the flavours along. Meanwhile a succulent, almost oily, syrupy sweetness (tinned fruits) is bedding things down in the middle of the tongue. Complex and unctuous.
Finish: Green plums and a firm dry farewell.
Comments: You wonder what's coming next ... the Black Spot? The Clear Spot?
-Dave, Whisky Magazine
Nose: Fruity and spicy. Crystallised ginger, apple toffee. Demerara syrup.
Palate: Very sweet at first. Velvety feel. Gets spicier at mid palate. Cooked fruit. A hint of milk chocolate.
Finish: Medium long, sweet and spicy at the same time.
Comments: Spices balance the sweet heart of that delicious whiskey. Oak is perfectly integrated. Excellent
-Martine, Whisky Magazine
"Opulent bouquet of treacle and brazil nut. A salty tang flavours the nuts, vanilla and nutmeg spice".
- Liam Campbell, The Irish Independent, 16/03/13
"While Irish Distillers did not go for lots of releases in 2012, its one contribution was dripping in quality. Yellow Spot was something of a shock, looking back to the 1950s to take pot still whiskey in a brand new direction.
In doing so, they re-established their link with Dublin wine and spirit retailer Mitchell & Son, who used to buy barrels of whiskey from the Midleton distillery and used a colour spot system to identify their age.
This, then, is an older sibling to the much-loved Green Spot, and is 12 years old. The shock part comes from the fact that, in addition to pot still whiskey matured in bourbon and sherry casks, some of the whiskey has been fully matured in casks previously used for Malaga wine. It makes a difference.
This whiskey flip-flops dramatically. There are green apple, oily malt, nutmeg, and spice notes, as you would expect from an aged pot still whiskey, but there's vanilla and marzipan and some sweet fruit, too. This whiskey takes an affectionate glance at Speyside, then decides it is still Irish after all. Just a little sweeter than normal. Unique and a game changer."
-DR, Whisky Advocate, Spring 2013
Yellow Spot 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey had not been seen in whiskey shops since the early 1960s. It was originally part of Mitchell & Son Wine Merchant’s ‘Spot’ range of whiskeys which included Blue, Green, Yellow and Red Spot. These names were derived from the Mitchell’s practice of marking their maturing casks of whiskey with a mark or daub of coloured paint to determine the age potential of the whiskey. Blue Spot was an 8 year old, Green a 10, Yellow a 12 and Red Spot a 15 year old.