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Monday, March 22, 2021

Blue Spot 7 year old Cask Strength Single Pot Still Whiskey, US Release

Until now, I've only reviewed one of the Spots, Yellow. There are two reasons for this, one less legitimate than the other.

Though I've never written extensively of the more famous Green Spot, I can tell you I find it the most forgettable of all Middleton's single pot still releases. While the Green Spot brand does have a pleasant independent history, and I did find it quite good when I had it in Ireland a decade ago, something seemed to have happened to the recipe once it became mass-produced and distributed to the United States. I can't prove it because I don't have a sample of the pre-expansion Green on hand to compare to the current bottling. That would be a fun Taste Off!

Lack of actual Spots is the other reason behind their absence on Diving for Pearls. Red Spot wasn't resurrected until 2018, and Blue Spot was reborn in 2020.

I'll make up for this spotty vacancy this week, beginning with the cask strength 7-year-old Blue Spot, which was blended from bourbon, sherry and madeira casks, though actual proportions or potential finish times have not been formerly disclosed by the producer.

I adore the label!

Brand: Spot
Spot Color: Blue
Style: Single Pot Still
Country: Ireland
Distillery: Midleton
Age: at least 7 years
Maturation: a vatting of ex-bourbon barrels, sherry butts, and madeira wine casks
Alcohol by Volume: 59.2%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? Probably
(from a bottle split)


There's plenty of heat and something smoky, like smoldering apples, in the nose. Beneath that darkness swirls a mix of the casks: oranges, cinnamon raisin bread, cherry lollipops and Cow Tales candy. Reducing it to 46%abv doesn't do much. I find flowers, apples, burlap, toasted grains and a hint of ocean.

The palate starts hot, metallic and salty, with subtle sugars and sweet citrus around the edges. A hint of lavender in the background. The salt develops into a defined coastal note. Here the 46%abv reduction works in the whiskey's favor. It has a better mouthfeel, and gains a good bitter herb note. More pepper, less sugar. Hints of vanilla custard, lemon candy and tart apples in the back. It's also picked up more of a young sharp pot still spirit, trending towards the Powers blends.

It finishes with sugar, salt and heat. Clementines, cayenne and dried lavender. It keeps that heat and pepper once the whiskey's been diluted to 46%abv. The citrus gets bitterer, and there's more grain and apple.


Kudos to Irish Distillers for releasing a whiskey with a 7-year-old age statement, rather than going NAS and name dropping a historical Celtic landmark. I also appreciate that this didn't result in a sweet winey blob.

On the other hand, I'm not sure this one's done a-cookin'. The elements don't seem to have congealed in the neat nose, while adding water almost closes it up. Thankfully the palate takes to dilution better, releasing some of the pent-up spirit. The finish doesn't do it for me either way, reading sharper and rawer than its much cheaper blended cousins.

If Irish Distillers offers different Blue batches in the future, I'd be happy to give them a try to see how well the casks play together. But I'm more interested in something like this at say......15 years?

Availability - USA, mostly sold out
Pricing - $100-$120, though there are retailers selling it for $300-$500 because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Rating - 80

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