Distilled: Green Spot Irish whiskey hits the, uh, spot

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From the June 12, 2014 edition

Whenever a new Irish whiskey from the Jameson family (i.e. the Middleton Distillery) becomes available in Ohio, you know it’s going to be covered in this column. As a devout Jameson fan, if there’s a Jameson tasting involving all vintages of the Irish nectar of the gods, plus some rare stuff, you know I’ll be there.

I attended — yes, I’m not actually expressing the enthusiasm I had being there — a whiskey tasting a couple weeks ago that involved a number of Jameson and Redbreast whiskeys and even the Middleton Very Rare. I’d had most of these, so I was most interested in Green Spot because it’s recently been released in Ohio and word was, it’s the good s---. (Hell, whiskey guru Jim Murray said Green Spot was, “Complex throughout, unquestionably one of the world’s greatest branded whiskeys.”)

It’s hard to disagree with Murray — partly because he’s an undoubted genius, but also because Green Spot is fantastic. It’s best compared to Redbreast 12, a smooth, single pot still whiskey with an incredible oiliness that dances on the palate.

Here’s the thing though, I like Green Spot slightly better than Redbreast 12. I find Redbreast 15 superior — I didn’t try it to directly to compare with Green Spot at the tasting — but not by a lot, and not at the considerably higher cost.

Comparing Green Spot to the other Jameson whiskeys (including Middleton Very Rare and a cask-strength Red Breast), Green Spot was right up there, or above, my favorite Irish-produced products. Besting the likes of Jameson 12, my favorite, and the similarly stellar, yet very different, Jameson 18 Limited Reserve is quite an accomplishment.

Going up against the Redbreast cask strength (107 proof) was a tough comparison. The cask strength whiskey is vastly different than anything else and required a dash of water to release the subtler flavors resting underneath the powerful liquor.

Overall, Green Spot is an absolutely wonderful addition to Ohio, and at $50 a bottle is a similar price point to the Jameson and Redbreast 12. If you enjoy those, especially Redbreast, you need to try Green Spot.