Gold Spot has officially entered Massachusetts! This limited edition release celebrates the rich history of the Mitchell family - a group of bonders (which would perhaps be called sourcers in the United States). The story is best told by the Mitchell family themselves about this release:
In 1887, Mitchell & Son, a family of Irish Merchants, expanded into the whiskey bonding business, whereby they sent empty wine, sherry and port casks via horse and cart to the local Jameson Distillery on Bow Street in Dublin. These were then filled and returned to the Mitchell's cellar warehouse underneath Fitzwilliam Lane. Here, beneath the streets of Dublin, each cask was marked with a 'spot' of paint which identified how long it would be matured for; Blue for 7 years, Green for 10 years, Yellow for 12 years, and Red for 15 years; hence the name Spot Whiskey. In time, all but Green Spot disappeared, with the members of the Spot Whiskey family last being seen on whiskey shelves in the early 1960s. However, as the world began to rediscover the taste of this signature style of whiskey, one by one the members of the Spot family began to reappear; from the iconic Yellow Spot in 2012, to the rarely spotted Red Spot in 2018 and finally the family was reunited after 56 years with the relaunch of Blue Spot in 2020.
This story continues with the launch of a special limited edition of Spot Whiskey to celebrate the 135th anniversary of the family whiskey bonding tradition. Embodying the unmistakable qualities of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Gold Spot is matured for at least nine years in a unique proportion of Bourbon Barrels, Sherry Butts, Bordeaux Wine Casks and Port Pipes. Non chill filtered and bottled at 102.8 proof for a whiskey that is complex and full flavored.
Another fun fact from the Spot website:
Gold Spot is the first member of the Spot family to contain a Port matured element. However it’s not Mitchell & Son’s first foray into this famous fortified wine from the Douro valley, up until the 1960’s the family bottled their own Vintage Port.
Now let's get into a proper Amongst the Whiskey review!
Company on Label: Mitchell & Son (Distilled at Midleton Distillery)
Whiskey Type: Irish Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 100% Malted and Unmalted Barley (being a single pot still Irish whiskey)
Age: 9 years
Further identification: This 2022 limited edition release is in commemoration of the 135th anniversary of the family bond of the Mitchell family bonders (1887-2022); it is finished in a unique combination of bourbon barrels, sherry butts, Bordeaux wine casks and port pipes; it is non-chill filter stated
Nose: Soft leather, baking spice and toffee greet me upon raising the glass. Bright white oak tingles in the nostrils. Light clove, allspice, black pepper and soft linen all culminate delicately. The nose-feel is comfortable and inviting. It reminds me of arriving at good company in the woods of Carver. Soft apple notes waft off the glass at times. Butterscotch and freshly baked bread aromas undulate in intensity. The smell of a copper mug sneaks into my glencairn. Time for a sip!
Coming back I find a sip to have unlocked a bright, bakery sweetness touched with vanilla, dry angel food cake and a sprinkle of sugar. Overall the nose is quite light out-of-doors and may be best enjoyed inside a warm home with good company. True moss and dirt manages to overshadow the wonderfully fresh and vibrant earthiness this glass shows off. Enjoying the whiskey in a warmer, closed space produces notes of toffee, paper and linen which equates well to the outside nose with just more volume. It reminds me a bit of those sugar dot sheets of candy that come on wax paper. Pear liqueur can be found on deep inhales. The empty glass smells of clove, copper, and soft molasses.
Palate: Caramel blasts forward immediately on the tongue. Sugar cookie, maple syrup and gingerbread immediately coat the mouth. Brown sugar, nutmeg and a dark pie crust build well with time as a decent heft permeates the mouth and chest. Another sip increases the heft of cherry hots, raisins and mulled wine. Overall this feels very much like a traditional Irish with layered nuances of bready tones. As the glass gets lower the creamy characteristics really begin to shine and I find the unique pot still coffee bean flavor has built a fortress around the fruit flavors from earlier. The linger is a touch moody with a smoldering, sweet spice. My last sip is Irish whiskey canonized. Crème brûlée, vanilla bean and creamy caramel tingle on the tongue. The finish is medium in length with a simple kiss of spice cake and creamy brown sugar frosting.
This pour does well to honor tradition in the Irish whiskey space & delivers an exceptionally well crafted dram without the need to feel like they had to shoot for something remarkable or different than what already exists. Those that are deeply ingrained and experienced in Irish whiskey will certainly appreciate this pour, though I think it's subtleties and allure would be lost on bourbon & rye drinkers. The higher proof didn't do much more for me & I think this drinks similarly to some comparable 90 proof releases.
If price or availability is of concern for you to be able to experience this one I would definitely recommend you start with Redbreast 12 year first if you haven't had that.
All that said I really am glad to be able to enjoy a glass (or two) of this one & I look forward to sharing a pour with good friends soon.