Thanks to /u/throzen for the sample
Irish whiskey is an interesting gauge of how experienced a whiskey drinker is.
Allow me to explain: I don’t mean that if you don’t like Irish whiskey you aren’t a true whiskey snob, whatever the fuck that means.
What I mean is after experiencing a few different levels of Irish whiskey, my Irish scores changed. They increased, some decreased. Part of this is because I live in the part of Canada that hates alcohol and only brings in the most popular Irish whiskies, with Jameson being the main one. Well, other than one time a year.
Yes, during the weeks after St. Patrick’s Day, the LCBO has a slightly better selection of Irish whiskey. Why after? They aren’t that bright.
This year they ended up with Green Spot Léoville Barton after the holiday where everyone buys Irish whiskey. This is one of the newer versions of the spot line from Mitchell & Son’s.
What makes this one different? Well like the original Green Spot doesn’t define the casks used. This one? Ex-bourbon, fresh American oak, and Oloroso sherry casks, and then finished in Château Léoville Barton Red Wine Casks.
Sounds like other whiskies, right? Actually… no. This is the first Irish whiskey to ever be finished in Bordeaux casks. And not just any, but a winery that has descendants from Ireland (thus the non French name, Barton, in the name of the wine casks).
So that’s interesting. Let’s see how all these cask influences impact the whiskey, shall we?
Price: $90.10 CAD at the LCBO
Cask Type: Ex-bourbon, fresh American oak, and sherry, then finished in Château Léoville Barton Red Wine Casks for 12 to 24 months.
Colour: 10YR 8/10
Nose: Bread, old strawberries/cherries, mint, caramel, whipped cream, cashew
Initial yeast that I usually get from some Irish whiskey. The sherry influence is most notable. I want to say any dry, mint, or nuttiness comes from the red wine casks. Adds some dimension here.
However that could be the fresh American oak casks as well.
Taste: Strawberry, brown butter, sesame ball, grassy, cereal, pear
Again, this tastes like a sherry and virgin oak whiskey, more than any red wine influence. Some cereal, though the most prominent note is a strong sesame note. Really tastes like those Chinese buffet desserts. Of which I have no idea which country they originate from.
Finish: Plum, bread, creme de banane, fennel
Big banana/alcohol note at the end, with some spice. Again, I’m having trouble noting where the red wine comes from. Simple finish.
Conclusion: Personally enjoy the regular Green Spot more than this one, though they are different whiskies. This one comes off as a mix between a standard Irish profile of yeast/bread, some virgin cask influences, and the effect of Oloroso sherry casks.
Beyond the sesame and brown butter notes, as well as the interesting alcohol/banana note on the finish. This feels like a situation where a lot was done to amp up the whiskey to a point where it could be sold. And they did well. However I hope for the next one they stick to maybe just the red wine on the finish to show off it’s affect.
World Whiskey review #280, Ireland review #68, Whiskey Network review #1235