Green Spot Leoville Barton

Leoville

For me, there are 2 or 3 gems in the Midleton range, that I think are truly special. Redbreast 12, Jameson 18, and one or two of the Midelton Rare bottlings I have tried. After these gems, I would say that the rest of the Jameson blends are strong. I haven’t been convinced by Powers John’s Lane, and I am always in two minds about Green Spot and Yellow Spot. Sometimes I like their delicate nature, sometimes it isn’t enough for me.

Irish Distillers are seeing their bottle sales grow at an astronomical level, so there are plenty of  folks enjoying Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Midleton and the others. With this success, the folks at Midleton are not resting on their laurels, and have plans to release lots of new products. When things are going well, this can give their creative folks the backing to be adventurous. It is also a way to continue to engage with new and existing customers, particularly if your range has room to grow.

Green Spot Leoville Barton wine cask finish

Here’s a bit from the press release, which does a better job of explaining it than I would:

The Wine

Set in the heart of the Saint Julien appellation in Bordeaux, one of the most revered winemaking regions in the world, Léoville Barton is a grand cru Château renowned for producing world class wine. Léoville Barton is overseen today by Anthony and Lilian Barton, direct descendants of Thomas Barton, a ‘Wine Geese’[1] winemaker who founded a wine merchant company in 1725, after migrating from his native Ireland.

The History

Green Spot can trace its roots back to Dublin-based wine merchants, Mitchell & Son, who matured, bottled and sold the original Green Spot under bond. Established in 1805, Mitchell & Son aged whiskeys bought from John Jameson’s Bow St Distillery in Dublin in their own casks up until 1968, when the practice of selling whiskey to bonders in cask ceased. From that date, Green Spot was bottled by Irish Distillers who also produce Yellow Spot 12 Year Old and now the new Green Spot Château Léoville Barton.

The Maturation

Initially matured in a traditional mix of ex-Oloroso sherry, new Bourbon and ex-Bourbon barrels the whiskeys were then transferred into the ex-Bordeaux wine casks for between 12 and 24 months. This imparted distinctive, floral flavours of varying intensity, resulting in a perfectly balanced whiskey.

“Maturing Green Spot in the Château Léoville Barton wine casks provided a fascinating assortment of floral and wood characteristics on the nose and palate, which give way to a long, spicy finish reminiscent of the terroir in France and Ireland. I hope whiskey fans enjoy this latest addition to our growing Single Pot Still family and join us in toasting this new whiskey resulting from of our shared Irish heritage.”

So, how does it taste?

Green Spot Leoville-Barton Finish
Sherry & Bourbon Casks, Finished in Wine Casks
46%, Around £50.00

Nose: Grape notes, perfume, tangerine, pear, pink lady apples, berries and raspberries. A dash of spice.
The wine casks add perfume and berry notes. The normal Green Spot has a bit more of a candyfloss note with apricot on the nose.

Palate: Lemon, grapefruit, berries and oak. Hops, lychee and a herbal not.
The wine casks add complexity to the original Green Spot.

What I notice with the Spot range, is they are delicate, nuanced with interesting dashes of flavour. It depends what you are looking for in a dram. I really liked this bottling. I preferred it to the standard Green Spot and to the Yellow Spot, but if you are after a hefty, in your face whiskey, this one isn’t it. Soft, classy. I would say of the 3, sometimes I really like standard Green Spot, sometimes I find it underwhelming. The same for the Yellow Spot, whereas I was genuinely impressed by this expression.

Am I damning the Spots with faint praise? I wouldn’t say so, I just think that there are times I am in the mood for a delicate dram, and other times I am in the mood for a dram that is going to grab me by lapels and give me a shake. That’s why I try to have at least 3 or 4 open bottles at one time, to cater for every mood.

Many thanks to Irish Distillers, the Mitchell Family & Chateau Leoville Barton for inviting me to the launch of this dram and showing me such hospitality.

Chris Hoban

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