Showing posts with label Mitchell & Son. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitchell & Son. Show all posts

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Spots Star At Cork Whiskey Festival.

Spots Star At Cork Whiskey Fest

Taking us to the high Spots at Gallaghers is Midleton Whiskey Ambassador Ger Garland

I met three of the Spots at the inaugural Cork Whiskey Festival, all part of a stellar masterclass in Gallaghers Gastro Pub where Midleton Legend Ger Garland and Brand Ambassador Matthew Smith guided us through the selection along with  some of their finishing wines.

My conclusion? That Green Spot is amiable, ideal for chillout moments if rather innocent and playful (a morning sip said Matthew). Yellow is more grown up, a little edgier (just a tad). Red is smoother, more sophisticated. By the way, if someone said to me "you can have the Green only" I would not be at all disappointed. 

And that 12-year old sherry turned out to be an unexpected favourite! Perhaps not that unexpected as Lustau is my favourite sherry.

The line-up at Gallaghers

The story of the Spots began under the hustle and bustle of cobbled Dublin streets in the early 1900s where a single pot still Irish whiskey brand was quietly making a name for itself. The first of the branded spots didn’t appear until the 1920s.

Mitchell & Son matured their whiskey in casks in a network of underground cellars. When the fortified wine casks were filled (exclusively with new make spirit from Bow St. Distillery) and brought back to Mitchells, they were marked with a daub or ‘spot’ of paint which identified how long they would be matured for. Blue for 7 years, green for 10 years, yellow for 12 years and red for 15 years – hence the name Spot Whiskey.


These along with the Green Spot Wine Geese series as well as limited editions such as Gold Spot make up the full selection of Spot Whiskeys. At Gallagher, we enjoyed the Green, the Yellow and the Red.

Back in the days when distillers sold barrels of whiskey direct to customers who finished them in their own way, there was a lot of variation in the market, according to Matthew.

The bonding business thrived for decades but was on the way out in the 1960s when the few remaining distilleries, consolidated in Midleton as Irish Distillers, refused to continue the supply barrels. But, as often happens in Ireland (and presumably elsewhere), someone knew someone and through that insider track, Mitchell had their supply continued.

While sherry and fortified wines are often quoted as being the difference makers in the Spots, credit is not always given to the influence of the Spanish oak in which these wines have been matured. This oak (from Galicia), Matthew told us, is spicier, drier and with more astringency, than other oaks.

And there are also different influences as we move from Spot to Spot though all are Pot Still. The first difference is ABV: 40% for Green, 46% for Yellow and Red. The second is age, 10 years for Green, 12 for Yellow and 15 for Red. All are matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks but there is a third cask used in the case of Yellow (Malaga wine) and Red (Marsala wine from Sicily). All these factors add to the variety in Irish whiskey even if Spot, though well-loved, is not a large share of the overall market here. Prices too go up as you move from Green to Red!

Green Spot with its light and delicate nose and flavours and silky mouthfeel is, like all the Spots, produced in Midleton. It weighs in at 40% ABV but the Cask Strength version, that we also tasted, has a hefty 59.1%. Ger said it is quite potent and hinted that you may need to add a drop of water!

Ger was very much taken with the 12-year old sherry and so was I. “Amazing with Gubbeen smoked cheese or their smoked sausage,” he advised. “With its nutty nose and rich flavours, it is a nice interlude on our whiskey journey today.”

Now we were on to Yellow Spot. Matthew: “Moving to a sweeter basis. The 12-year statement on the bottle means that the youngest whiskey in the product is 12 years old, it will also contain older.” He indicated that those with a sweet tooth will prefer the Yellow over the Green. And Ger confirmed that the Malaga wine is very sweet and syrupy, a dessert wine.

Matthew enthused over the Red saying it was fantastic,  with that dessert wine influence now from the Marsala "..darker.. more complex…sweeter..” For me though, it was also smoother than the Yellow. 

While Ger was enthusiastic about the Marsala, I didn’t really fancy it on its own - it was also part of the tasting. But it certainly seemed to do the trick with the Red Spot.

Time now to leave the packed room and head out into the city rain and prepare for another day on the whiskey trail tomorrow. And the good news, after a hugely successful opening night and a string of well attended events on the first day, that insiders are already forecasting that the Festival will be back again next year.

Like to know more about the Spot Series? Then please click here 

And Single Pot Still? Single Pot Still whiskey is unique to Ireland in general and is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley and then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. In order words, your Spots are very good to begin with.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Mitchell & Son In Cork Whiskey Fest "Spot"light. Fercullen Now In USA!

Mitchell & Son 

In Cork Whiskey Fest "Spot"light 


Fercullen Now In USA!


The famous Mitchell & Son bottles will be the subject of a masterclass during the Cork Whiskey Fest in March. Details below but first we sample the original Green Spot, the current fill in my Bradley's Hip Flask.

Mitchell & Son Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV

Widely available at c. €65.00

Fresh and gentle aromatics, apple and elderflower plus honey notes. Light fruit notes on the mellow palate, exotic such as mango and pineapple, more closer to home like apple, and honey too.  Mellow yes but quite full bodied with a light spicy and lingering finish from this gorgeous pale-gold coloured whiskey, the original Green Spot.

This is now produced in Midleton. That was not always the case: The Green Spot name originated from the Mitchell family’s practice (started around 1900) of marking casks of different ages with a daub of coloured paint. Originally there was a ‘Blue Spot’, ‘Red Spot’ and even a ‘Yellow Spot’, but Green Spot emerged as their most popular whiskey and is one of the few “whiskey bonder brands” to survive to modern day.

Single Pot Still whiskey is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, in particular, and is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley and then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel.

Cork Whiskey Fest. I've reserved my ticket for the Spot Masterclass, details.....

You can learn more, much more, about the Spots and whiskey in general at Cork Whiskey Fest 2023

On the Saturday (Mar 25th), Midleton legend Ger Garland and Brand Ambassador Matthew Smith guide you through a selection of Spot whiskey along with their finishing wines, for this stellar masterclass. Mitchell and Sons Wine & Spirits Merchants are the sole remaining licenced bonder with Irish Distillers. Their wine finished single pot still Irish whiskeys are a pillar in Irish Whiskey. 

The festival will take place from 24th – 26th March across Cork City’s historic Victorian Quarter. Centred on MacCurtain St, CWF 2023 will concentrate whiskey fans on 1 street, for 3 days for plenty of craic and fantastic whiskey experiences. You will be hosted by many Festival Friends, in the many bars and rooms of The VQ, that will make Cork the epicentre of Irish Whiskey for one weekend. Come join the many masterclasses and events that CWF 2023 has to offer, on the tickets page.


Fercullen Now In USA!


 Powerscourt Distillery is delighted to announce that the US arm of Zamora Company will import, sell, and market Fercullen in the market, effective immediately.

“We at the Powerscourt Distillery have waited until the right time and crucially finding the right partner before we launched Fercullen Irish Whiskey into the US market and we are in a great position to appoint Zamora Company USA as our national importers,” Ryan Stapleton, Powerscourt Distillery's global head of sales.

Fercullen Falls, Fercullen Single Malt, 15 Year Old Fercullen Whiskey, and limited edition Fercullen 21 Year Old, will be available in the States.

“As we continue to grow our world-class spirits and wines in the US, Irish whiskey has long been at the top of our list of categories to strengthen our portfolio, and Fercullen from the Powerscourt Distillery has always been our top choice,” said Andrew Stewart, global brand manager at Zamora Company USA.

We look forward to bringing our core Fercullen and limited release Irish whiskeys to the US in 2023 and to working closely with the excellent team at Zamora Company USA in the years to come.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Spirit Safe: Clonakilty Distillery announce sustainability commitments

press release
June's Spirit Safe: Clonakilty; Rebel, Jameson 18, Kinsale, Gold Spot Irish Whiskey, istil 38. Redbreast Dream Cask.

Clonakilty Distillery has announced

 future sustainability commitments

The distillery has outlined a number of pledges in an attempt to increase awareness of sustainability and will focus on reducing overall energy usage with the aim of eliminating the use of single-use plastic from their whiskey packaging by the end of the year.


The purpose behind these commitments is to increase biodiversity in Clonakilty by working with the local community to provide food and habitat for native birds, bees, and insects. The Distillery has outlined a number of commitments, including planting over 100 mature trees and 400 natural hedgerows and shrubs by 2023, as well as establishing a permanent wildflower meadow.


Michael Scully, Managing Director at Clonakilty Distillery said, “We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, prioritising sustainable actions where possible”.


He added that “We work closely with our colleagues and the local community in Clonakilty while constantly seeking improvements to implement best practice so that we at Clonakilty Distillery can make our own difference in helping to shape a better world”.


The distillery has already made a direct and significant impact on the economic and social well-being of the community by taking over a former bank building in a prime waterfront location in Clonakilty town.


Other sustainability commitments are as follows:

  • By the end of 2022 the distillery will reduce average glass weight by 15%.
  • By 2025, a minimum of 40% recycled glass will be included in the standard bottles, with the intention of increasing this even further as technology allows.
  • By 2025, 100% of packaging materials will be reusable, recyclable and/or compostable.
  • The Distillery has promised to continue assisting local charities and groups on a yearly basis, as well as creating and cultivating relationships with local sustainability community groups.  By 2023, 100 percent of production will take place in the local area and community. This will involve processes such as blending, bottling, and packaging.


News from Cork's Rebel City Distillery...

We are open for tours!

We are delighted to finally be able to say we are opening for tours on 1 July.

We are the first distillery to open in Cork city for 50 years. Come take a tour. Beginning with a signature Maharani gin & tonic at the Custom Oak Bar before entering the distillery and learning about the fine balance between alchemy and artistry underpinning each spirit crafted here.

Book now to avoid disappointment!

Book Now

Jameson, the world’s favourite and most awarded Irish whiskey, has unveiled a new liquid and packaging evolution for its iconic Jameson 18 Years.

Jameson 18 Years’ exceptionally balanced blend of distillates, matured in hand selected American and European oak barrels for a minimum of 18 years, is one of Jameson’s most awarded whiskeys. The much loved whiskey has undergone an important evolution including a sustainable packaging revamp and a higher ABV liquid.

Putting sustainability at the forefront, Jameson 18 Years will now be presented in new, lightweight packaging with the original box redesigned as fully recyclable cardboard complete with foiled accents.

The packaging redesign aligns to Irish Distillers’ and Pernod Ricard’s broader sustainability commitments by focusing on minimising waste at every step by fostering and applying a circular mindset across the business.  

Alongside the new and lighter weight packaging update, Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman and his team have introduced a significant change to the celebrated Jameson 18 Years whiskey.

Kevin O’Gorman explains: “Made from a selection of some of our oldest and most precious distillates, which are then married and finished in first fill American bourbon barrels for a minimum of 6 months, Jameson 18 Years is already an exceptional whiskey in terms of quality.
“And to truly allow the complexity of this whiskey to shine, we have increased the ABV from 40% to 46% and removed the need for chill filtration. This modification helps to concentrate the signature flavours found in Jameson 18 Years balancing Jameson’s characteristic smoothness with the depth of the whiskey in its natural state.”
In addition, the new packaging will feature a scannable QR code which will direct Jameson fans to a virtual guided tasting hosted by the Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman.  
Brendan Buckley, Global Marketing Director at Irish Distillers commented: “At Irish Distillers we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. We understand that our packaging plays an important role in the protection and in the delivery of the overall experience of our whiskey, but it is also one of the most carbon-intensive activities in the value chain when you take into consideration the manufacturing process, transportation, and its lifecycle.

“Over the past number of years, we as a business have been successful in devising and implementing new ways of reducing the environmental impact of our packaging through redesign and experimentation with new materials all of which is reflected in the updated Jameson 18 Years packaging. We will continue to innovate to minimize our environmental impact and preserve our natural resources by reusing, reimagining, recycling and reducing, adopting a truly circular mindset.”

The new look Jameson 18 Years will be rolled out globally in high-end, specialist off-trade and leading on-trade outlets over the coming months for an RRP of €200 (70cl).






Having only entered the Asian market one year ago, Kinsale Spirit Company in Cork has completely surpassed expectations at The DB Asia Summer Tasting awards by taking three medals. Founders Ernest Cantillon, Colin Ross, and Tom O’Riordan, are thrilled to see Spanish Earl Irish WhiskeyRed Earl Irish Whiskey, and Kinsale Gin, take the top spots in their categories at the competition.


Last summer, the Drinks Business Asia launched its Summer Tasting competition to find the best drinks brands on the world stage. Chaired by The Drinks Business Asia’s Managing Editor Alice Liang, and assessed by a panel of leading industry experts, including Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, senior buyers and leading mixologists, the judges blind-tasted the best of wine and spirits, and awarded Silver to Red Earl Irish Whiskey, Gold to Kinsale Gin, and, for the most outstanding expressions, the coveted Master medal to Spanish Earl Irish Whiskey.




Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey starts its ageing in ex-Bourbon casks for nearly 4 years and then is split into two finishing casks, ex Imperial stout and ex aged golden Jamaican rum. The two triple-distilled malt Irish whiskeys are then recombined after at least 3 months apart, and bottled. The stout element is inspired by Spanish General, Juan del Aguila’s, time spent in Cork, renowned the world over for stout production for hundreds of years, while rum, being the preferred drink of seafarers of old, lends sweet toffee to the dark chocolate of the stout.


Red Earl Blended Irish Whiskey is a combination of ex-bourbon-barrelled grain Irish whiskey and ex-sherry triple distilled malt, matured for 45 months and then merged to spend a further minimum period of 4 months in ex-Rioja casks. The company chose Rioja for its spicy fruits, and as a mark of respect to the resting place of the eponymous Red Earl, Hugh O’Donnell, near to the Rioja region of Spain.


Kinsale Gin, the original product in the Kinsale Spirit Co. range, is a multi-award winning gin distilled using botanicals hand-picked around Kinsale. Notes of meadowsweet, elderflower & elderberry combine with aromas of lemon verbena and lemon grass to dance with spicy juniper.


Speaking of the win at the DB Awards, co-founder Ernest Cantillon says:


Spanish Earl, the Master Medal winner, will be released in China this Summer, along with Great Earl.  Our Red Earl has been in China for the past two years and sells very well both online and in shops and bars. Cork is twinned with Shanghai and we have spent the past 4 years building up relationships in China. The Chinese market is a challenging one but with big potential rewards, so we always felt it was worth the work. While our other whiskeys have done very well in similar competitions all over the world, this is our first time winning the very top prize in such a big competition. It is the perfect launchpad for our latest whiskey expression to be released into the Chinese market on top of building on the reputation of Red Earl amongst our existing customers there.”


​​Kinsale Spirit Co will have space to hang their medals soon with their new distillery build beginning in Kinsale this year.



The Spot family shines brighter than ever with a limited-edition whiskey honouring the colourful 135-year legacy of wine & spirits merchants, Mitchell & Son

Irish Distillers, makers of some of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, together with the Mitchell family are marking 135 years of whiskey bonding among the Mitchell family, one of Ireland’s last remaining wine merchants, by crafting a celebratory vibrant Spot release, Gold Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.  

This limited-edition expression pays tribute to the colourful history of the Mitchell’s whiskey bonding business which commenced in 1887 when the bonders sent empty wine and fortified wine casks to the local Jameson Distillery, in Bow Street, to be filled with new single pot still spirit for maturation in its underground cellars. Once filled, the fortified wine casks would be marked with a daub or ‘spot’ of coloured paint, to determine the age potential with Blue Spot, Green Spot, Yellow Spot and Red Spot, respectively indicating the 7, 10, 12 and 15 years of the celebrated expression within the Spot range.

The colour gold symbolises quality, prestige, specialness and celebration and so the Mitchells chose this colour to signify their enduring relationship with whiskey bonding over seven generations and 135 years.  This special release commemorates the past and nods to the future of whiskey innovation by embodying the unmistakable qualities of single pot still Irish whiskey.

Matured for a minimum of nine years, the expression builds on the foundation of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, typical of the Spot whiskey style, and is married together with a unique proportion of hand selected Bordeaux wine casks and port pipes. The inclusion of port casks – sourced from Irish Distillers’ long-established partners in Portugal’s Douro Valley– is a first for a modern iteration of Spot whiskey.

Working in collaboration with the Mitchells, the team at Midleton Distillery was inspired by archive documents dating back to the late 1800s showing significant quantities of port casks imported into Ireland which, once emptied, would have been used to mature whiskey. The combination of the four different cask types imparts exceptional flavours of vibrant fruits enhanced by delicate oak tannins and wood spices, with the port wine-driven cask inclusion adding an additional layer of complexity and character, alongside a taste of history.

Katherine Condon, Distiller at Irish Distillers, comments: “It has been a privilege and a joy to work with the renowned Mitchell family as they took us on a journey through the rich history of their business, handed down through seven generations.

“Gold Spot truly is a liquid time capsule with the wine-driven casks treading a beautiful balance of tradition and innovation and marking their 135-year history of whiskey bonding in Ireland. We
cherish these opportunities to collaborate with the Mitchell family and look forward to welcoming even more whiskey fans to taste a piece of whiskey history within the Spot family.”

Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director at Mitchell & Son, adds: “As the oldest family run wine and spirits merchants in Ireland, we’re delighted to continue the legacy of the Spot family, and our family’s historic role in Dublin’s whiskey bonding era.
“It has been fascinating to once again collaborate with Katherine Condon and the talented team at Midleton to celebrate the colourful story of our family business, utilising casks that would have been originally introduced to Irish whiskey in the late 1800s. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this wonderful family of whiskeys.”
Unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin, the non-chill filtered release is bottled at 51.4% ABV or 102.8 Proof – a reference to historical methods of measuring alcohol content as noted in the Mitchell’s archive. The whiskey will be available online from from 12pm Irish Time and at Whiskey Live Dublin on the 10th of June and from all good retailers from Monday the 13th of June at the RRP of €120.  It will be available to buy in Ireland, France, the UK and Global Travel Retail, and the USA from mid-July.

Check out the video here.


istil 38 Pot Still Irish Vodka


 Pouring at Taste of Dublin 2022


The recently launched istil 38 Premium Irish Vodka has been gathering great momentum. With three expressions in its range, the best cocktail bars, gastro pubs and independent off licences around the entire country have all been huge supporters of this independently owned brand. It would only be fitting that it should feature at one of Ireland's premier food & drink festivals, Taste of Dublin.


For this year's annual event in Iveagh Gardens, istil 38 will be the pouring vodka at the main bar. This will give the thousands of customers attending over the three days from June 16th-19th, a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Ireland's most exciting vodka. The brand's creative director Pippa Ormond O'Connor (above) adds,

"I've always loved attending Taste of Dublin. It's such a well run and exciting gathering of the finest chefs and food & drink producers. We're extremely honoured to be placed amongst such incredible national talents. Our team has worked really hard to pull together a fantastic menu that is perfect for sultry summer evenings at such a delicious and fun-filled festival."



At the main festival bar, attendants will be able to enjoy:

- istil Vodka Soda & Lime

- Vanilla Mule

- istil Pink Berry & Citrus Tonic


About istil 38 Premium Irish Vodka

istil 38 was founded and is operated by Sugarloaf Beverages. The brand's management team is composed of lifelong drinks industry veterans, Shane Davey who works as managing director and co-directors Niall O'Dwyer and John Reynolds. They are also joined by business woman and lifestyle guru Pippa O'Connor Ormond. She has invested in the brand and taken on the role of creative director.

Produced in a traditional copper pot still, but made to be enjoyed with thoroughly modern serves, istil 38 Irish Vodka has three expressions in its range. A classic vodka and two flavours, Pink Berries and Vanilla. Each one is specifically designed to be mixed into long drinks and into some of the world's most loved cocktails.  

It is slow distilled four times thus leaving the vodka so pure that it needs no further filtration, leaving istil 38 with a highly finessed quality of liquid. This distillation process also gives the vodka a softer, velvety mouthfeel.

The classic istil 38 Pot Still Irish Vodka is smooth and rich enough to enjoy neat but also works wonderfully mixed with soda and fresh lime.

istil 38 Pink Berries is flavoured with Irish berries to give it a fruity sweetness that pairs wonderfully with citrus tonic waters.

istil 38 Vanilla is crafted with Madagascan Vanilla and its recipe was specifically formulated to be the ideal vodka for two of the world's most popular cocktails - the Espresso Martini and the Pornstar Martini.


Another key element behind istil 38, is their environmental and sustainability policy. They are proud to be officially partnered with Hometree with whom they are working to establish and conserve permanent and native woodland in Ireland. 5c from every bottle will be donated to Hometree. And istil 38's actual bottle was chosen due to its shape and weight, which meant less CO2 emissions when transporting. As a brand, they have committed to being a carbon neutral company from the very start of their journey.



Irish customers given rare chance to win a bottle of latest Redbreast Dream Cask release by finding a golden cork in a bottle of Redbreast 12 Year Old

Redbreast Irish Whiskey, produced by Irish Distillers at its world-renowned Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork, is offering whiskey lovers the chance to win a bottle of its eagerly anticipated fifth annual Dream Cask release – Redbreast Dream Cask Double Cask Edition, simply by finding one of three golden corks hidden among bottles of its award-winning Redbreast 12 Year Old.

Available exclusively to Irish customers through O’Briens Off Licences, Celtic Whiskey Shop and Brown Thomas Grafton Street, Dublin from Wednesday, 1st June, the competition represents a rare opportunity to secure one of the most sought-after limited edition expressions in the annual Irish whiskey calendar. Now in its fifth year, the annual Redbreast Dream Cask release features a small selection of the very finest whiskeys in Midleton’s exceptional inventory which are finished in ‘dream’ casks to create a sublime expression.  This year’s truly unique release, Redbreast Dream Cask Double Cask Edition, marries two dream casks for the first time, hand selected by Master Blender, Billy Leighton and Blender, Dave McCabe.  The 30 year old single pot still Irish whiskey captures the quintessential Redbreast style while celebrating innovation and craftsmanship.

“Bottling these outstanding casks together at precisely the right moment has resulted in an incredibly complex Irish whiskey that harmoniously balances the vanilla sweetness and caramel creaminess from the bourbon barrel and the deep, dark fruitiness from the sherry butt,” explains Leighton.

“With an ABV of 56.9%, the resulting liquid is rich in robust spice with wood-driven characteristics and notes of dark-roasted coffee, sweet liquorice, orange peel and smoked almonds amplified by the wine cask’s influence.”

Jessica Norris, Marketing Director Ireland at Irish Distillers, comments: “Our new ‘golden cork’ campaign offers three lucky winners the chance to win a bottle of the latest Redbreast Dream Cask release. We’re delighted to partner with O’Briens Off Licences, Celtic Whiskey Shop and Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin on this exclusive opportunity giving our loyal customers a chance to find a golden cork in each of these retailers. With the Dream Cask ballot now closed this is an incredible opportunity to win one of the last few remaining bottles of this special limited edition release. However, those who are not lucky enough to find one of the hidden golden corks can take consolation in enjoying the multi award winning single pot still Irish whiskey, Redbreast 12 Year Old.”