Way back in 2011 … I was called out in the comments by Woodford adherents that I was doing the whiskey a disservice by reviewing it based on the sample bottle. I had an opportunity to revisit Woodford Reserve recently – this time from a full 750ml bottle – and thought it would be appropriate to review it again for National Bourbon Heritage Month. Does my review from 4 years ago hold up?
Yellow Spot is Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey matured for 12 years in a combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-Malaga (a sweet Spanish fortified wine) casks. The vatted result is bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV.
While it has the same mouth-filling unctuousness as Redbreast, the sherry notes seem to cover up the nutty/oily notes I associate with single pot still whiskey. There seems to be a lot of depth here, but it’s hidden by a layer of simplicity. One must really search for the complexity.
For the price, this is eminently drinkable straight. Certainly it’s not going to win any awards, but with a pleasant lemon nose, nutty/cereal on the palate, and no “cheap blended” aspect in the finish, this is an easy value.
At once hectic and well-packaged, it demonstrates the intense concentration of flavor possible at cask strength while also showcasing the finer notes of damn fine pot-still Irish whiskey.
I’ve complained (often) about the hated specter of GRAIN WHISKY and the ruinous effect that it has on our lovely, pure single malt when blended by greedy profit-seeking conglomerates in their quest to dull the palates and wash the brains of innocent bar-goers the world round. *cough* Turns out that’s only half-true.
There is nothing balanced or interesting in this, and a few drops of water don’t help. I would suggest using this one for mixed drinks, only.
While this is quite a decent sip, there is nothing outstanding about it to recommend it. Mild and smooth, oaky and with that familiar bourbon barrel-char and brown sugar flavors… it still doesn’t inspire me to drink more. I’m also not crazy about the nose – too composty for me. Maybe it’s the sulfur?
I keep hearing two phrases around the whisky and whiskey community these days. One is “Blends can be excellent!” (Of course, one can also say “Fast Food can be excellent!” but it rarely is. That aside…) The other is “90-95% of the whisky sold internationally is in blends.”…
Redbreast 12 is a must-try for that unique toothy quality. It’s a must-have because this level of quality just isn’t available at this price in competing single malts. Don’t bother with the water – you’ll only mess with the mouthfeel. Enjoy it as-is.