Category Archives: Product Reviews

Spirit Review: Green Spot Irish Whiskey

green-spot-irish-whiskey Green Spot Irish Whiskey is produced by Irish Distillers Limited for famed wine merchants Mitchell & Son or Dublin, Ireland.  It is one of just a few remaining bonded irish whiskeys, as well as one of the few pure pot still whiskeys produced in Ireland, and is limited to just 500 cases per annum.

Originally produced at the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, sometime after Mitchell & Son began selling whiskey in 1887, ‘Green Spot’ refers to the tradition of marking barrels of whiskey with a spot of paint to indicate their age.  Mitchell & Son had a full lineup of whiskies, including Green, Yellow, Red and Blue Spot.

Today, only Green and Yellow Spot remain in production, although their formulations and age have changed since production moved to the Middleton Distillery.  Green Spot is bottled at 40% ABV after being aged in 75% American oak ex-bourbon barrels and 25% in sherry casks for 8-9 years, (although there is no official age statement on the bottle). At the moment, distribution is limited primarily to Ireland with the exception of some online specialty retailers, although IDL aquired the rights to distribute outside of Ireland in 2011. No word on whether this will be sold here in the USA as of yet.

Nose: Orange peel, candied ginger, and honey with a slight herbal quality. Green pears and faint sherry notes.

Palate: Very viscous feel. Spicy ginger and cider with very minimal burn. Very clean flavors. The sherry casks seem to disguise some of the heavier oily flavors often present in pot distilled spirits.

Finish: Medium length, with some hints of hazelnuts. Clean and refreshing, while leaving you wanting another sip.

Rating: ★★★★½

Beer of the Week: Angry Orchard Strawman

Earlier this year the Boston Beer Company, makers of Angry Orchard Cider, launched their all new Cider House Collection. Their first two forays into this arena are Iceman and Strawman.

At 10%abv, and 750ml in volume, these small batch ciders are modeled after traditional European cider-making processes, and use a blend of apples from the Northern Alps and Normandy. These ciders are then fermented with wine yeasts and aged in wooden barrels. So does all this effort, paired with a higher price tag, actually provide something you would want to consume? Let’s find out.

The Strawman pours a rich gold with a fizzy beige head. Lots of tart apple and oak aromas. The taste is tart, with lots of crisp apple, some vanilla notes and woody astringency. The finish is bone dry, very wine like, with just a hint of acetic acid. It would pair extremely well with pork belly, cream sauces and rich seafood. This is a cider that is decidedly different than the bulk of the mainstream american ciders, and if you treat it more like a wine than a cider, definitely is a decent value for the money. Cheers!

Alaskan Black IPA

Beer of the Week: Alaskan Black IPA

Alaskan’s new spring sea­sonal is a session version of their 2010 Double Black IPA Pilot Series. So how does this beer stack up against the competition? Let’s find out.

This beer pours very dark, almost jet black, with a thick and creamy mocha/tan head. First impressions from the nose was choco­late and some roasti­ness from the malts. Also present were some resin pine aromas from the hops with just a hint of citrus in the background. On the taste you definitely notice the chocolate and malt up front which then quickly fades into the hoppy bitterness and is coupled with grapefruit, lemon, and grassy flavors. The finish is long and mildly bit­ter,­ with some slight roasti­ness around the edges.

Over­all, I really enjoyed this ver­sion of a Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale from Alaskan Brew­ing Com­pany. If you are a fan of this style, you may be a tad dis­ap­pointed as it is a little more laid back than others. If you are not a fan of this style, this is the per­fect beer to help you change your mind. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★½☆


Spirit Reviews: Yamazaki 12 Yr Single Malt Whiskey

This 12 year old whisky from Yamazaki first came onto the US market in 1984 and was the first seriously marketed Japanese single malt whisky here in the United States. The Japanese have been making whisky since the 19th century, but their first commercial endeavors began with the opening of the Yamazaki distillery in 1923. Masataka Taketsuru, Yamazaki’s first distillery executive, had studied the craft of distilling in Scotland, and his style of whisky closely mimics the traditional Scottish styles. The Yamazaki 12 is made with just barley, water and yeast, and is aged in a combination of American, Spanish and Japanese oak barrels.

The Yamazaki 12 pours a dark golden brown, darker than many other 12 year old whiskeies. The nose is well malted, and has hints of dried fruits, warm honey and butterscotch. The taste is quite dry, with an almost astringent quality, paired with hints of vanilla, citrus zest, caramelized toffee and just a hint of oak. The finish is long and has hints of spices with a little more of that astringency lingering in the background.

The Yamazaki 12 is an outstanding whisky, especially if looking for an introduction into Japanese or Scotch Whisky. A 750ml bottle will usually run between $40-$50, which is not a bad price for such a great tasting spirit. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★½

Guinness Black Lager Label

Beer of the Week: Guinness Black Lager

Guinness has a new beer in town, and it is breaking it’s age old tradition of brewing stouts by producing a black lager.

With the idea of recreating the distinctive flavor profile of their famous Stout, but in a crisper, refreshing style that will better compete with the other lagers being produced by some of the worlds biggest breweries.

Technically a Schwarzbier, the Guinness Black Lager pours just like their traditional stout, but without the rich, creamy head. The aromas are of gentle malt roastiness coupled with English hop aromas and a very clean yeastiness. The flavors are very guinness-like, with dry roast and bitter hops paired with the whistle clean lager yeast. The mouthfeel is clean and dry without any astringincy. All in all, a easy drinking lager that is sure to be welcomed by lovers of Guinness’s flagship stout. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★½☆