Review: Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey

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Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey
Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey

Last year, Pernod Ricard brought the formerly “mythical” Green Spot Irish Whiskey to the United States right before St. Patrick’s Day. The reception was warm for the brand and it has done quite well. This year Pernod is bringing over Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey. Like Green Spot, Yellow Spot was previously only available in Europe (where it was officially re-launched in 2012). Pernod has seen some solid success for their Redbreast Brand, another Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

Yellow Spot is a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Irish single pot still whiskey doesn’t mean it’s single distilled, but that it’s triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills within a SINGLE distillery. Unlike Green Spot, which didn’t carry an age statement, Yellow Spot is a 12 year old whiskey which was aged in a combination of American ex-bourbon barrels, Spanish sherry, and Spanish Malaga casks.

Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (46% ABV, 92 proof, $99.99) – dark gold in color,  the nose on Yellow Spot is more a showcase for oak than many other Irish whiskeys on the market. The oak here isn’t overbearing, but it is very present, and accompanied by honey, milk chocolate, cream, malt, and peach.

The entry for Yellow Spot is flavorful, soft, lightly sweet, and much less oak forward than the nose, with deep honey, peach, cream, and milk chocolate. As we head towards the midpalate, this whiskey sheds the sweeter notes established in the opening for drier grain notes accompanied by oak, black pepper, and allspice. The midpalate is quite spicy for an Irish whiskey but it manages to keep the spice fairly well balanced. At the end of the midpalate is a nice toasted grain and coffee bean note. The finish for Yellow Spot is fairly short and slightly dry, but it manages to nearly clean up all the flavors from the whiskey leaving a pleasant, cool sensation on the palate.

There’s a reason why both Green Spot and Yellow Spot have been so sought after – they’re good Irish whiskeys. The jump in price from Green Spot to Yellow Spot, however, is not good. Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey is a 100% jump in price over Green Spot ($50 vs $100), and while Yellow Spot is an excellent Irish Whiskey, it’s tough to swallow the $100 price tag for a 12 year Irish Whiskey. We’re surprised that Pernod didn’t bring Yellow Spot in closer to the Powers John’s Lane Release 12 Year Old Single Pot Still, which comes in under $70. Still, if money isn’t an issue and you’re looking for a unique Irish Whiskey with lots of flavor and good character, it’s hard to go wrong with Yellow Spot. 90 Points.

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90
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+Geoff Kleinman, is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist and staff reviewer for Whisky Advocate Magazine. Geoff's work has appeared in dozens of major magazines including Playboy Magazine, Black Book, and Mixology Magazine. He is a current sitting judge for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the founder of the Society of Modern Journalists, holds BAR certification from the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group, is a Certified Cognac Educator, and a Kentucky Colonel
  • Tanstaafl2

    When Yellow Spot came out in Ireland and Europe it was originally priced closer to the Powers John’s Lane (without VAT of course. I first acquired it in the UK shortly after its initial release). Sadly I think Pernod is buying in to the “mystique” this brand has acquired and raised the price accordingly. I think it is a lovely whiskey but the price will make it an occasional treat rather than a regular pour. That said I think there is likely to be less of it available than PJL and Pernod isn’t likely to lose any sleep over my decision since both are made on the same stills at Pernod’s Midleton distillery (as is Redbreast).