Week 42 in the Year of Drinking Adventurously – supposed to be hopped cider and whiskey.
I have no real excuse for not following the adventure this week beyond sheer laziness. I could have found some of the recommended hopped ciders and I might have been able to scrounge up an artisan American whiskey. But this week was a bit of a killer. I realize that it probably seems like I’ve been on perpetual vacation for better parts of the last month. And it’s true that I haven’t been home for a good part of that time, so finally work and life and everything caught up to me. I feel like I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel after this weekend. I actually got to read (for pleasure) for a good part of the day on Sunday – something I’ve been neglecting.
I do have a potent potable to talk about, and it is whiskey, just not an artisanal American one. It’s my favorite Irish whiskey: Yellow Spot Single Pot Still whiskey from Mitchell and Sons Distillery in Dublin. I have yet to find it here in the USA. Bostonians and New Yorkers, keep your eyes open for it.
Here’s the story with the Yellow Spot:
The Mitchell family began selling wines and fortified wines on Grafton Street in Dublin in 1805. When they got into the whiskey business, they marked the barrels with a ‘spot’ of colored paint to differentiate the ages of the whiskeys within. What makes a single pot still style? A pot still is like a huge kettle where the batch is boiled, the vapors rise, are collected and cooled to produce the whiskey. Since the pot has to be cleaned after each use, only one batch of whiskey is produced from the single pot. Most whiskeys are distilled in column stills which can be used over and over to create large batches of product.
So in the tradition of the original ‘yellow spot’ barrels, this whiskey has been matured for no less than 12 years in a combination of American bourbon, Spanish sherry and Spanish Malaga casks. And drawing on the Mitchell family history of purveying fortified wines, the final maturation takes place in the Spanish Malaga casks, giving the whiskey an exotic sweetness. Listen to the description of the tasting notes from the bottle:
Nose: Mown hay, cracked black pepper, red bell peppers, nutmeg, clove oil and green tea. Sweet honey and peaches from the Malaga casks.
Taste: Honey sweetness with pot still spices. Flavors of fresh coffee, creamy milk chocolate and creme brûlée. Notes of red apple and toasted oak.
Finish: Sophisticated and complex. Sweetness throughout, with a mix of red grape and dry barley upon exit.
That is quite a melange of flavors! Trust me, though, none of them are so pronounced so as to overpower. This is a truly marvelous whisky. And for nearly $100 a bottle it should be.
Hopefully, Lula can tell you about hopped cider this week. Don’t forget to go see her!
You all figured out the significance of the title of this post, right?