Green SpotIrish Whiskey
Green Spot is the oldest pure pot still brand still in existence, and nobody's Irish whiskey education is complete until they have tried it.
From the Mitchell & Son website
Green Spot is to the true Irish whiskey drinker what an Irish Round Tower is to the archaeologist. It is a beautifully preserved, almost living throwback to the old Ireland which takes some searching to locate, but once found, is an experience to savour. When I first discovered it, it was like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Once upon a time in Ireland, many hundreds of wine merchants would fill their own casks with the spirit from their local distilleries and sell it under their own brand name, occasionally giving mention to the stills where it first bubbled into life. But all that changed when distillers became proprietorial and wished, often with good reason, due to the dubious practises of some merchants, to have complete control over any whiskey which bore their name . As businesses closed or merged, brands were lost. Others decided not to compete with the ever more powerful distillers. Some distillers simply refused to supply the whiskey.
In the end there was only one left which can still be found today. That sole survivor is Green Spot. There are no exact record as to when the brand first hit the streets, but certainly by the early 1920s the long-established wine merchants of Mitchell and Son of Kildare Street, Dublin, were annually putting aside 100 sherry hogsheads to be filled at Jameson’s Bow Street distillery. So that the whiskey would not be too overpowered by the wine, half the casks used had held oloroso and other dark sherries; the other half were the former homes of lighter finos. The Jameson pot still would mature for five years in those casks before being vatted together and then allowed to blend and mature for a further five years in those same butts in Mitchell’s old bonded warehouses in Fitzwilliam Lane.
The brand was originally known as Pat Whiskey, with a man looking very much the worse for wear apparently bursting through the label. Behind him was dark green shading. From this image grew the name Green Spot. The popularity of this type of whiskey spread to a seven year old Blue Spot, a Yellow Spot (12) and Red Spot (15).
As the costs involved in maturing expensive sherry casks became heavier and heavier, Mitchells reverted to vatting just the single and the original Green version. However, when Jameson switched production from Bow Street to Johns Lane, the make-up of the whiskey altered for the first time in living memory. Mitchell’s maturing stocks were running low, and having no intention of losing their famous brand, the company entered into an agreement with Irish Distillers to produce the whiskey. A stipulation was that the whiskey supplied had to be matured in Midleton’s own casks, but IDG were able to guarantee the future of the brand as pure pot still whiskey. The current Green Spot is made entirely from seven and eight year old Midleton pot still, a healthy 25% coming from sherry cask, which is quite evident in its aroma and taste. With Irish Distillers producing their own 12 year old pot still, Redbreast, it was understandable they were not willing to produce an older vatting for Mitchell’s. But when Redbreast was taken off the market, Green Spot enjoyed the distinction of being the only and very last, pure Irish Pot Still in existence. Now with Midleton back on the shelves it can no longer claim that, but it does remain the longest running pot still whiskey to continuously remain on the shelves.
Only 500 cases are made each year, all for the home market, with most of this sold through Mitchell’s shop at 21, Kildare Street, Dublin. Those 6000 bottles represent a very small part of the total Mitchell operation. But for a seventh generation family company which dates back to 1805, it is one they cherish as a vital part of their own history and Ireland’s whiskey heritage.
Character and Style of Green Spot