If you ever wanted to go back in time and check out the whiskey offerings of yore, you can now cross one off your list and you don’t even need a flux capacitor. Mitchell & Son, with some help from Irish Distillers, has brought back the Red Spot Whiskey after its discontinuation about 50 years ago.
The Mitchell family entered the alcohol world in 1805 as Dublin wine merchants. In 1887, burdened by wine and sherry casks, they decided to get into the whiskey bonding business. Back in those days, Irish distilleries just, well, distilled and sold the spirits directly to retailers. Many distilleries ended up with bad reputations because these merchants could market these spirits however they pleased, often inflating the quality. Some pubs and merchants were also known to water down or otherwise alter the whiskey before serving it to customers.
A blue spot signified seven years of aging, green meant 10 years, yellow 12, and red marked a 15 year aging period.
Mitchell & Son were honorable merchants who are still considered one of the best Irish whiskey bonders because of their dedication to maturation. They sent their casks to the nearby Jameson distillery and marked the returned whiskey-filled casks’ crates with a spot of paint to note how long the different batches were meant to be aged.
A blue spot signified seven years of aging, green meant 10 years, yellow 12, and red marked a 15 year aging period. The resulting Spot Whiskey range was — and continues to be — beloved among connoisseurs.
Red Spot Whiskey joins Green Spot and Yellow Spot, which made their comebacks in the early aughts and 2012, respectively. There’s no word yet on whether or not Blue Spot Whiskey will complete the range anytime soon.
The distillery breathing new life into the Spot Whiskeys is the Midleton Distillery, the largest distillery in Ireland which also produces *drumroll* Jameson whiskey. Midleton follows an old recipe from Mitchell & Son to create a triple-distilled single pot Irish whiskey. To become Red Spot, this whiskey is matured for at least 15 years in a combination of American Bourbon, Spanish sherry, and Sicilian Marsala wine casks.
“At almost 100 years since it was crafted for the first time, […] this is a whiskey homecoming for the ages.”
“Pouring over old recipe books, ledgers and archive material has provided us with the tools to tell the story of Red Spot in a new, yet authentic way — and at almost 100 years since it was crafted for the first time, by my great-grandfather Robert Mitchell, this is a whiskey homecoming for the ages,” said Jonathan Mitchell, director and current “son” of Mitchell & Son, in a statement.
Red Spot is bottled at 46 percent alcohol by volume and boasts a sweet, spicy, oaky flavor profile. Irish retailers currently stock it at €115 (approx. $131), but you’ll be able to get it in the U.S. starting January 2019.