The famed “Spot” Irish whiskeys have been slowly resurfacing on American shelves over the last decade, starting with Green Spot in 2014, Yellow Spot in 2015, and then a handful of Green Spot special releases (see here and here). In 2018, the much-anticipated Red Spot finally graced our shores. At 15 years old, it’s the senior in the lineup (the newest Blue Spot clocks in at just seven years old). Those generous years are spent aging in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks, as well as Sicilian Marsala-seasoned wine barrels. Like all the “Spots,” this is triple-distilled single pot still whiskey, meaning it’s distilled from both malted and unmalted barley. Let’s put this one through its paces, shall we?
The nose immediately shows some unique dried red fruits, cranberry and strawberry, sitting atop a generous honeyed malt foundation. It’s not quite as rich as other pot still whiskeys in the line. Notes of toasted marshmallow and ripe banana add some complexity, but this one remains rather light and straightforward with the exception of the fruit notes, which surprisingly recede a bit as it opens in the glass. On the palate, Red Spot is bright and oily, but still quite light-bodied, showing a classic pot still character with notes of custard and caramelized sugar, buttered biscuits and a slight bit of candied lemon. The Marsala finishing contributes to the profile with dried cherry, a bit of mixed berry syrup, and a few winey tannins. It’s fresh with a soft heat and develops a lovely sugar cookie note that fades a little prematurely on the somewhat short finish. A very good Irish whiskey, for sure, but for our money, other Spots have the edge.