Whisky Focus - Red Spot 15 Year Old Review

Red Spot 15 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review

30th November 2018
Irish Distillers bring the rich and spicy Red Spot 15 year old back to life.

Red Spot 15 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish WhiskeyIrish Distillers has added a 15 year old expression to their single pot still "Spot" range, the Red Spot 15 Year Old whiskey is not exactly a new expression but it hasn't been seen since the 1960's.

Crafted from an old recipe handed down by the Mitchell & Son family of wine merchants, the creators of the original Spot Whiskeys range in the early 1900's which Irish Distillers brought back to life in 2012. The reimagined Red Spot is a triple-distilled, single pot still Irish whiskey that has been matured for a minimum of 15 years in a combination of casks pre-seasoned with Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and Marsala fortified wine.

Irish Distillers tell me that to create Red Spot Marsala fortified wine casks were procured from Sicily in the early 2000s and then, in 2004, were filled with a five-year-old Bourbon matured single pot still Irish whiskey. The subtle contribution from the tight grain of the American oak was the ideal base for the heavy spice and ripe fruit flavours imparted through maturation in Marsala wine casks, which has been carefully blended with ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry whiskeys to achieve the perfect balance of flavour.

The Red Spot name was derived from the Mitchell’s practice of marking their maturing casks of whiskey with a daub of coloured paint to determine the age potential of the whiskey; with a Blue, Green, Yellow or Red Spot indicating 7, 10, 12 or 15 years respectively. Now that we have the Red Spot 15 year old it now only remains for Irish Distillers to bring the Blue Spot 7 year old back to life, will such a young single pot still whiskey be of the same quality standard that has been set by the rest of the range? I am not sure, but would be very interested to find out.

Bottled at 46% ABV and non chill-filtered, Red Spot 15 year old will be re-introduced and available from this month at the RRP of €115/£102/US $130 in Ireland and from January 2019 in the USA, UK, France and Global Travel Retail and will be available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: An enticingly complex rich mix of pot still spices, apricots and sultanas with a slight candied edge as well as a little earthiness and some sweet toasted oak.

Taste: A delicious sweet Marsala wine fruitiness leads with apricot, raisin and a hint of orange, this is dusted with pepper. A little honey & vanilla mix and the pot still spices add to the pleasure and become more apparent with each mouthful.

Finish: Long, the fruit that led on the palate bows out to let the delicious lingering pot still spice and toasted oak have the final say.

Comment: This is one that grew on me, after a few drams it has won me over, the Marsala wine fruitiness is in charge at first but after a few mouthfuls the pot still spices and the oak show they are more than equal to the fruit. Deliciously rich and complex and if you are able to get hold of this where you are, I am sure you wont be disappointed to find this rich Marsala wine influenced, spicy Irish single pot still in you Christmas stocking.

SMW Score 91/100

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