Green Spot, Green Spot Chateau Montelena and Blue Spot Batch 3


This review has been a long time coming, I've previously reviewed Green Spot but in it's Chateau Leoville Barton guise, I've covered Red Spot and scored a 26 year old Single Cask Green Spot a 4 out of 10 much to the amazement of many.....honestly, it wasn't a great dram. So it really is time I covered the OG, the regular, baby of the the Spot range, Green Spot. As a bonus I've thrown in tasting notes for the second in the Wine Geese series, the Chateau Montelena and also the third batch of Blue Spot.

Mitchell & Son's date back to the early 1800's when Englishman William Mitchell set up shop on Dublin's Grafton Street selling tea, port and cakes. In 1887 the entered the whiskey bonding business, filling their own casks with spirit bought from Dublin's local distilleries.

Their whiskey brand was originally known as Pat Whiskey but would eventually morph into the 'Spot' range of whiskies, so called due to the practice of daubing casks with different colours of paint to indicate their age.

I had read online someone bemoaning the lack of an age statement on modern Green Spot considering that Midleton distillery are quite open about the fact that the liquid in the bottle is aged between 7 -10 years. This takes us back to those paint daubs.

The range of the Spot whiskies has expanded to accommodate the original colours of Blue, Green, Yellow and Red which originally indicated 7 year, 10 year, 12 year and 15 year maturations respectively. As the recently re-released Blue Spot continues with it's 7 year age statement in keeping with it's origins, this age statement is taken in the line-up and as Green Spot is vatted from 7 - 10 year old spirits they can't use the 10 year age statement on the label. Maybe one day the 10 year old Green Spot will return as a core release but I'd likely not hold my breath on that happening.

Green Spot nearly ceased to exist in the 1960's when IDL stopped supplying Mitchell & Son's with spirit. Mitchell's had enough stock built up to keep them supplied for 10 years. Then IDL back tracked a little and struck a new deal with Mitchell's. Midleton would produce and mature the whiskey but Mitchell's would have all the distribution rights in Ireland. Green Spot had now changed markedly. Originally aged for 10 years in sherry casks this new whiskey would be matured in bourbon and sherry casks at a ratio of 75% bourbon/25 sherry and would be aged for between 7 to 10 years. It has remained as such to this day. Bottled at 40% you can pick up Green Spot quite readily now for around £40 - £45 a bottle.

The Green Spot Chateau Montelena is the second of the Wine Geese series linking Midleton with world class wineries that have Irish heritage. Chateau Montelena started life in California's Napa Valley back in the 1890's and gradually it built up an excellent reputation. Jim Barrett, the son of a Waterford man who emigrated to Boston after the conclusion of World War 1, became a partner in the vineyard in 1968 and then replanted it in 1972 as well as installing wine making equipment in the vineyards historic buildings. Today Jim's son Bo looks after the day to day running of the vineyard.

The vineyard produces a variety of wine styles - Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. IDL chose to pair their Green Spot with the Zinfandel, taking the standard Green Spot and further maturing it in Zinfandel wine casks for 12 months. It's also bottled at 46% abv and can be found for around £60.

Finally we have the third batch of Blue Spot. Matured in Bourbon barrels, Sherry butts and Portuguese Madeira casks this is matured for at least 7 years. In batch one at least the Madeira component was purported to be at least 20 years old. It's bottled at cask strength with this batch coming in at a healthy 58.9% and can be bought from the Midleton shop for £85.

Green Spot 40% abv

Nose: Fresh, light and zesty. Sweet cereal notes, drying hay, green apples and dried apricot. Lime zest, agave syrup, caramel and cinnamon. Time brings some nectarines too along with dusty wood.

Palate: For 40% abv the mouthfeel is pretty good. On top of that is the pot still spice kick - gentle, but apparent. Vanilla cream topped with lime zest, green apples, butterscotch. Barley sugar, ginger ale, cinnamon and a hint of clove too. The sherry element provides a dry nuttiness.

Finish: Short to medium length with citrus zest, ginger heat and vanilla.

Score: 6 out of 10

Green Spot Chateau Montelena 46% abv

Nose: Rich and sweet. Toasted oak and cedar wood. Caramel custard, vanilla, Danish pastry, white chocolate, stem ginger and some white pepper. Underneath this are ripe red apples, cranberry juice and strawberries. We come back to more oak and a little menthol.

Palate: A pretty thick mouthfeel. Plenty of pot still spice right away. Then it's vanilla, honey and marzipan followed by clove nutmeg and ground ginger plus some pepper and quite a bit of toasted oak. Citrus in the form of orange and lemon zest. There's banana here too alongside apples and a blush of strawberry.

Finish: Medium length - quite nutty, baking spice and drying oak

Score: 7 out of 10

Blue Spot 58.9% abv

Nose: Buttercream and butterscotch. Warm cinnamon rolls, nutmeg and Madeira wine. Walnuts and toasted hazelnuts along with cream soda. `Dried fruits of date, raisin and roasted figs. A hint of coconut shavings alongside tinned pineapple covered in condensed milk. Citrus too with a little mix of orange peel and lime juice. Water brings out some cocoa, clove and and a floral sweetness. 

Palate: A nice juicy and oily mouthfeel with plenty of pot still spiciness. There’s that pineapple sweetness straight away along with papaya and apple sauce. Very creamy with vanilla cream and butterscotch sauce. There’s baking spices too with cinnamon, stem ginger and nutmeg. Towards the end we get milk chocolate covered raisins and fig rolls. A little woodiness too to counteract the sweetness. Water brings out some dried apricot, more vanilla and more of the bourbon barrel character. 

Finish: Medium length with tropical fruit and cream sweetness, baking spices and a lingering warmth from the high abv. 

Score: 7 out of 10



A very solid showing from the Spot whiskies line up.

Green Spot is a very tasty gateway into the wonderful world of Pot Still Irish whiskey. Perhaps hampered a little by its presentation at 40%, it still displays a great mouthfeel and plenty of character. It's not overly complex but that's no bad thing. It is however well executed and a great summer dram. Well worth exploring especially if you are new to the Pot Still style.

The Chateau Montelena is really very good and for me at least, a better dram than the over oaked Chateau Leoville Barton. It's a nice mix sweetness, red berries and oak without being overly sweet or overly oaky....I suppose balanced is the word I'm looking for. For the price I think this is a great dram.

This batch of Blue Spot doesn’t quite hit the height of batch 1 but it ain’t far off. Still thoroughly enjoyable, it just feels a little simpler and less complex than the first batch (for my thoughts on Batch 1 please follow this link to another website worthy of your consideration). This batch is veering on the side of dessert dram territory, like the Yellow Spot on steroids. I still think Blue Spot is my favourite of the range though so I’ll definitely invest in another bottle.

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