Whisky Focus - Irish Distillers Whiskeys Impress At Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017

Irish Distillers Whiskeys Impress At Ultimate Spirits Challenge

3rd April 2017
Yellow Spot Single Pot Still whiskey stands out from the crowd at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017 competition.

Yellow Spot 12 Year Old gets near perfect score at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017 competition.I am a huge fan of the Irish Single Pot Still whiskey so it comes as no surprise to me to hear that Irish Distillers and their outstanding range of Midleton Distillery produced Single Pot Still whiskeys have once again impressed the judges at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, one of the leading US based spirits competitions where each whiskey is evaluated blind by judging panels in multi-stages assessments to remove any inherent or individual bias.

Standing out from the crowd at this years competition was Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey which was awarded an almost perfect score 99/100. Yellow Spot was recognised by the judges for its quintessential single pot still character and this is the highest scoring Irish whiskey in any category since Redbreast 21 year old was awarded 100 points in 2014.

Incredibly eight out of the nine Irish Pot Single Pot Still whiskeys entered into this years competition by Irish Distillers were awarded scores of 95/100 or above demonstrating the unrivalled quality and craftsmanship of the whiskeys from the Midleton Distillery. For the Ultimate Spirits Challenge scores for all nine whiskeys from the Redbreast, Spot and Powers ranges see below and you will also find my review of a few of them below also:
  • Yellow Spot 12 Year Old (Chairman's Trophy) – 99/100
  • Redbreast 15 Year Old – 98/100
  • Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength 12 Years Old – 97/100
  • Redbreast Lustau Edition – 97/100
  • Redbreast 21 Year Old – 97/100
  • Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton – 96/100
  • Powers John’s Lane Release 12 Year Old – 95/100
  • Redbreast 12 Year Old – 95/100
  • Green Spot – 89/10

The Ultimate Spirits Challenge signals the start of the awards season and I predict 2017 will be a extremely good year for the booming Irish whiskey category and I would also predict that the new Method and Madness whiskey range from the Midleton distillery will be picking up an award or two in the coming months.

You will find all the award winning whiskeys available from specialist online whisky retailers such as Master of Malt

Redbreast 12 Cask Strength Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Lovely rich sherried notes, the fruit just hits you, red apples, raisins, coconut ice, sweet vanilla fudge. Some fresh oak spice.

Taste: Full bodied, layers of rich fruit and spice, oatcake biscuits, dark chocolate, delicious sweet vanilla and dry oak.

Finish: A long finish. Slowly drying oak, fading fruit and spice and a touch of vanilla fudge hanging around right to the end.

Comment: Wonderful sherry and spices, you just want to pour yourself another. The balance of rich fruit, spice and oak is perfect. Interestingly adding a drop of water doesn't turn it into a standard Redbreast 12 (I tried), it keeps its big rich sherried fruit, spice and vanilla character, I guess this is to do with the number of casks in the batch being much smaller than the number going into a standard Redbreast 12.

An absolute cracker, loved it!!!

SMW Score 96 /100

Powers John's Lane Release Review

Powers John's Lane 12 year old was bottled at 46% ABV and non chill filtered.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: New leather, flowery, dark chocolate, coffee, touch of citrus.

Taste: Full bodied in the mouth, oily. Delicate bitter sweet, dried fruits, honey, toffee, coconut and spicy. Oaky.

Finish: Honey, spice, chocolate and a drying oakiness.

Comment: This is undoubtedly still related to the other members of the Powers family but this is definitely a delicious big oily woody Irish Single Pot Still whiskey.

SMW Score 95 /100

Redbreast 21 Year Old Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Packed with that unique Irish pot still fruitiness with just a touch of sherry fruitiness in there also. The fruit makes way for vanilla and mild pot still spices.

Taste: Soft creamy vanilla, juicy barley, a lovely Demerara sweetness, layers of rich fruit, touch of nuttiness. The delicious mild pot still spices increase with each mouthful, menthol at the end.

Finish: Long. Dark chocolate, raisin and pineapple, mildly drying oak and slowly fading pot still spices.

Comment: As I hoped a 46%, non chill-filtered Irish pot still whiskey of this age would be, brilliant from nose to finish. The balance of fruit, spice and oak is perfect. It is unbelievable to think Redbreast pot still whiskey almost disappeared, I could only have dreamt of a Redbreast 21 year old a few years ago. A must try for Irish pot still whiskey drinkers, a deliciously juicy mature Irish single pot still whiskey.

SMW Score 93/100

Redbreast Lustau Edition Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: An enticing sweet almost candied sherried fruitiness mingles with a little sweet vanilla and coconut and a little oak spice.

Taste:  A deliciously rich and creamy smooth mouthfeel, vanilla, juicy barley and a lovely light Demerara sweetness balance perfectly with the delicious sherried rich fruit - raisins, a little orange, lemon, pear drops. Pot still spices add to the pleasure and become more apparent with each mouthful.

Finish: A lovely very long finish, the rich sherried fruit slowly fades leaving mildly drying oak and slowly fading pot still spices.

Comment: Can you imagine the Redbreast 12 year old finished for 1 year in a quality Oloroso sherry butt, this is it, well perhaps a little younger than 12 years old but the result is a delicious balance of sherry and Irish pot still spices. The sherry finish enhances the delicious sherry dimension of this superb Irish pot still whiskey and I am certain that this will be very popular. A brilliant addition to the Redbreast core range.

SMW Score 91/100

Redbreast 12 Year Old Review

Redbreast is aged 12 years and bottled at 40% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Oak, vanilla, sweet ripe fruits.

Taste: Spices and sherry simply dance around the mouth, creamy, coconut.

Finish: Deliciously long, rich fruit, sweet vanilla, oily, spicy.

Comment: This is a classic, absolutely delicious and in my opinion the best buy Irish whiskey available. This is single pot still whiskey!!!

SMW Score 90/100

Green Spot Review

Green Spot has no age statement but is made up of whiskey aged between 7 - 10 years, it was bottled at 40% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet, fresh green fruit, honey and menthol, oak spice.

Taste: Full bodied, sweet honey, rich,  a touch of menthol and a wee bit of spice coming in at the end.

Finish: Long, ginger, bit of sherry, sweet, spicy and dry.

Comment: If you are after a less sherry influenced single pot still whiskey then this is the one for you.

SMW Whisky Score 91/100

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