Interest in Irish whiskey is at an all-time high. According to DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales have climbed steadily over the past two decades, and 2020 saw more than five million nine-liter cases sold in the U.S. That’s a 261% increase since 2010.
If you want to hop aboard the Irish whiskey trend, there’s no time like St. Patrick’s Day. Bottles abound across a variety of styles and price points, but one new whiskey with an old pedigree deserves a prominent spot on your shelf.
Blue Spot, a cask-strength single pot still Irish whiskey, is rejoining the Spots whiskey range for the first time since 1960. Green Spot is the best-known of the bunch, as it remained available throughout the decades. Yellow Spot was reintroduced in 2012, and Red Spot followed in 2018. Now, the seven-year-old Blue Spot completes the lineup.
The story of the legendary Spot Irish whiskey range began in the early 1900s when wine and spirits merchants, Mitchell & Son, began maturing whiskey from the local Jameson Distillery in Bow Street in their underground cellars in Dublin. Blue Spot takes its name from the blue daubs or “spots” of paint that the Mitchells used to mark the barrels to signify that the whiskey in those casks were to be matured for a minimum of seven years. Other whiskeys received other dots to signify their aging potential, hence the Green, Yellow and Red bottle expressions.
The reimagined Blue Spot includes whiskey that was aged in Madeira casks, inspired by the historical inventory of Mitchell & Son and typical of the Spot style of whiskey. Archive documents dating back to 1935 show that Madeira wine casks were imported to Ireland and, once emptied, would have been used to mature whiskey.
“The inclusion of whiskey aged in Madeira casks adds flavors that would have been originally introduced into Irish whiskey by the Mitchell family,” says Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director at Mitchell & Son.
On the nose, Blue Spot is complex and layered, with lots of juicy fruit, including pineapple, kiwi, and zesty citrus. That is followed by baking spices, mild oak and hazelnuts. Take a sip to find more fruit, plus barley, sweet vanilla, cinnamon and pepper. It finishes lengthy and very dry, with more fruit and spice. This is good whiskey.
With the most recent existing record of Blue Spot dating back to 1964, it’s been a long wait for this moment—57 years, if you’re counting.
Blue Spot has an ABV of 58.7% and a price tag around $85; it’s available now in select markets nationwide. If you see a bottle, snatch it up, lest you have to wait another 57 years to try it.