So obviously I like Whiskey. That’s kind of apparent, at least I hope it is. If it isn’t then I must really be doing something wrong with this blog! But before my thriving love of the water of life, I developed a healthy liking for wine. Mostly white in the form of Sancerre, Chablis and Touraine but occasionally I do partake in red wine also. Hard to beat a good Malbec which incidentally, was once the most popular grape in Bordeaux, the region we are looking at tonight. In the world of wine, just like with whiskey, there are big names. And in Bordeaux in France, Cháteau Léoville Barton is one of those. Founded over 200 years ago by an Irish emigrant Thomas Barton, it holds Grand Cru class for over 160 years. We may recognise the name from the whiskey world, but dare I say that in France, their primary thought is red wine. As a useless fact for a whiskey related table quiz you might be at someday……Cháteau Léoville Barton (CLB) doesn’t actually have a Chateau! It is part of a bigger estate of several wineries and Chateaus in the Léoville portfolio. The name “Léoville Barton” is coined from Thomas Barton’s acquisition of land from the Léoville Las Cases vineyard and his own surname. Today it is still a very successful brand and very collectable.
So now we move on to 2015, the middle of the Irish whiskey revival. Single Pot Still is back with a bang and the punters are loving it once again. Greenspot is an old favorite of most Irish whiskey fans. Produced by Irish Distillers LTD and distributed in Ireland by Mitchells & Son, it is a whiskey that most people will remember through the ages in the same way as they remember Redbreast. So when I heard that a new Greenspot finished in red wine barrels was coming out, I remember I was skeptical. Wine and single pot still whiskey? Sure why ruin a great whiskey I said! It didn’t stop me getting a bottle (or two) though! Greenspot itself is a Single Pot Still aged for between 7 and 10 years and made up of a marriage of ex-bourbon cask and ex-Oloroso sherry cask matured whiskey. For Greenspot CLB, this whiskey is then placed in ex wine barrels from the vineyard and allowed to further mature for between 12 and 24 months. The end result was then bottled at 46% and released onto the world. So, onto the tasting.
Nose – Perfume, Caramel, grape/wine notes shine over the usual delicate Greenspot nose.
Palate – Pot Still spice, vanilla, butter, toffee, green apples, red wine giving much more complexity and layers than the standard Greenspot. Creamy mouth feel with obvious influence from the French oak. A drop of water revealed a slight malty taste.
Finish – Medium to long. Nice mellow spice. French oak again shining here. More of a Sherry influence apparent. Finish remains the same with the addition of water. Pointless to have added any for me in this case!
Overall – So yes, I am a Single Pot Still fan and yes, I like Greenspot. Sure, it is more easy going than other robust pot stills such as Powers John’s Lane or Redbreast, but it has its place on my shelf and most likely always will. This wine finish just makes it better. I love how they work together. I sometimes struggle to locate the influence of the finish in some whiskeys but this isn’t one. Instantly you can get the red wine influence and in short, its superb. The legs on the glass also go on forever! It should be noted that this is batch 1 that I am reviewing. Batch 2 hit the shelves last year and I was able to taste it in Cork in October. I found that the wine influence had been dialed back and it and that, for me, was a bit of a disappointment. Everyone to their own and all but I enjoyed the instant recognition of red wine when tasting the Greenspot CLB. I’ll have to put batch 1 and 2 side by side and do a comparison…..you know, in the interest of research!! Till next time, happy dram’in!!