My love of all things Ireland started in 2001 when my college golf team took a trip over to the Emerald Isle to play three years worth of golf in ten days. I had just turned 21 and had never had a drink (hold that thought while I get struck by lightning). I played Adare Manor first off which will host the greatest show on dirt in a few years with the Ryder Cup being played on this Parkland Gem. They dumped north of 100 million into the property so I’ll be upset in a few years if someone doesn’t catch a leprechaun somewhere on the property before or during an epic singles match play comeback United States victory (well I can hope can’t I). After finishing our first round we found this neat place called “The Pub” after throwing holy water on the door frame as a good clean Christian boy I entered into the establishment to the sound of laughter and merriment. I asked the bartender for his recommendation since I was a nube to the whole Irish alcohol thing and he said here try a Smitticks…well it’s spelled Smithwicks, but you drop out a bunch of fucking letters and numbers when there’s alcohol involved in Ireland. I think it’s a function that once you get hammered it’s easier to pronounce certain things, but I could be wrong. I found out that Killians really isn’t Irish for anything and there was a dessert beer called Guinness that apparently makes you lift things more easily. After about an hour my Irish accent kicked in and we were off to the races, or the bathroom…I can’t remember. Fast forward nearly twenty years and I have bought and collected most of the fucking whiskey made in Ireland except Jameson. I still haven’t wrapped by head around why people love that stuff so much.
One of the great things you can do in life is travel, I’ve been blessed to go all over the work teaching golf and building cool shit in the strangest places imaginable. I have met some good people but the best I’ve found are the Irish. No offense to everyone else, but instead of taking that poorly maybe you should step up your game. I have been fortunate the travel to and through Ireland more than any other country in the world, including Canada and they are basically Americas hat. I live pissing distance from Canada, but their whiskey is mostly flavored and that doesn’t count. Very friendly though but goddammit it’s cold up there 6 months a year. I’ve been accused of being a “Plastic Paddy” of late by one of my Irish friends and from what I gather that’s a good thing. It means I’m Pro Irish and as far as I’m concerned “fookin hell” I’m fine with that.
Getting to the whiskey: So this Covid-19, Chinese Virus, Hong Kong Fluey bullshit that’s going around has everyone on lockdown and since I had nothing better to do that clean and organize my basement (so I could work on the new flooring, paint the windows, clean out the gutters, prep the yard for spring and about fifteen other things on the honey-do list) I decided to “fuck all” and scream News Team Assemble! So while I was unpacking I said to myself…or at least the angel on my right shoulder said self “you have purchased a fine selection of world spirits in the last twenty years”, while the devil on my left shoulder said “go for 1,000 bottles and damn the torpedoes!”. In any case I bought a commercial storage rack that nearly took off my shoulder while getting it back to “The Bunker” with my father….aaaaaaand it’s full. Needless to say I vastly underestimated how much booze I had bought and collected from what was a elegant and simple bar selection in my parents basement back in college. I still have the Pink Floyd “Back Catalogue” but it’s signed, framed and waiting to get hung over the new bar once I finish the space.
Almost to the whiskey: The funny thing is Irish don’t have short stories, it’s not in their nature to tell one. It has to be a long, drawn out yarn ultimately ending in a laugh at someones expense. Some of the best nights I have ever had were over a dram of something good with an Irishman. If you don’t know one your a racist asshole and you should dance a jig until one appears. Film it for good measure and post it on YouTube so I can laugh at your dumbass hopping around like a fool.
Spot Irish Whiskies: Upon his deathbed Robert Emmet William Mitchell decreed that going forward all first born children would be named Robert, which is funny because I’m Robert and my first born son is also Robert but again I digress or maybe I really am Irish? Fast forward 215 years and there’s a shitload of Robert Mitchell’s on the books. Irish whiskey for those of you who aren’t in the know is Triple Distilled and typically produced in Single Pot Stills which means they distill it three times (or run it through the shiny metal thingamabobber for those unfamiliar with alcohol distillation). According the Wikipedia, which also states that I won the 2020 Masters Tournament played in April of this year, single pot still whiskey is a style of Irish Whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still. Somewhat similar to single malt whiskey, the style was defined by its inclusion of unmalted raw barley in the mash in addition to malt. However, small amounts of raw oats or wheat may have been used at times. This unmalted component is said to give single pot whiskey a “spicier bristle” and “thicker texture” than the otherwise similar single malt whiskeys. If the whiskey is not distilled completely on the site of a single distillery, then it may be termed pot still whiskey but not single pot still whiskey.
Straight off of their website (click here)
“The Spot Whiskeys go back to the days when Jameson’s distillery would sell their new make spirit to bonders who matured them in wine and fortified wine casks. It was then that Mitchell & Son developed a reputation for creating some of the finest Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey to be found in the capital.”
This is proof that even Jameson needed The Spot to make their whiskey taste better. The name came from the creative marketing nature of a spot of paint on the label of the bottle indicating the number of years the whiskey was allowed to age for. Blue for seven years, Yellow for ten years, Green for twelve years and Red for fifteen years and the new addition Green Spot Château Léoville Barton. They stopped producing Red Spot for fifty years and only recently re-released the whiskey. I believe it’s because after 12 years the level of patience and the lack of whiskey in the Dublin city proper caused panic in the streets and threatened to undermine the civility of this sleepy drinking town, but I could be wrong.
Green Spot 12 Year Irish Whiskey:
NOSE: Toffee and malt are on the forefront, but this whiskey has a wonderfully simple and elegant nature to it, with a smattering of green apple and fresh pear.
PALATE: Soft and warm, with chewy maltiness, and gentle fruit. This is definitely a daily drinker and if you are having company over a great example of the potential of #bottlekill, which means you drank everything in a bottle and post about it on social media.
FINISH: Short but sweet, but lovely balance between the fruit and malt and believe me worth every penny you’ll pay to obtain a bottle.