Gold Spot Irish Whiskey Review [In Depth]

Gold Spot Irish Whiskey

Alex author
Founder, writer
Gold Spot Irish Whisky header

Gold Spot Irish Whiskey Details

Distillery: Gold Spot (from Jameson?)

Type & Region: Irish Whisky, Ireland

Alcohol: 51.4%

Composition: 100% malted barley

Aged: 9 years

Color: 1.4/2.0 on the color scale (tawny)

Price: $130 MSRP (often marked up)

From the company website:

135 years later the Mitchell family colours shine brighter than ever. When the Mitchell family began bonding whiskey 135 years ago, they brought their own colourful legacy to the Dublin whiskey scene. After generations of a family business covering everything from confectionery to cafes to imported wines, when the Mitchells brought their eclectic energy to whiskey bonding, the Spot family was born. To celebrate this enduring relationship, we created our most vibrant Spot release to date – Gold Spot. Gold Spot is matured for at least nine years in Bourbon Barrels, Sherry Butts, Bordeaux Wine Casks and Port Pipes. Non chill filtered and bottled at 51.4% ABV for a whiskey that is complex and full flavoured.

Gold Spot Irish Whiskey overview

The Mitchell and Sons Spot whiskeys, Green (and special versions of it), Yellow, Red, Blue, and Gold Spot, are some of the most popular premium Irish Whiskeys out there today. I have a little experience with these whiskeys, although I’ve never actually reviewed one.
I’m not even going to try to write anything particularly poetic or witty in this overview because I don’t feel like it. Instead, I’ll mention a few facts and get to the actual review.
First off, Gold Spot Whiskey is a 9 years Irish whiskey aged in a combination of bourbon, sherry, Bordeaux, and Port barrels. In simpler terms, bourbon and a variety of red wine casks, with Bordeaux wine being particularly uncommon in Irish Whiskey.
Second, the Spot brand is owned by Pernod Ricard, who also owns Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton, Knappogue Castle, and other well known Irish whiskey brands. So no, the Spot brand isn’t some small craft operation, they’re part of a big company with a lot of old whiskey. If you thought you were supporting a small operation, you’re not. I don’t write that to imply anything bad, it’s just a fact and you should be aware of that.
Three, Gold Spot Irish Whiskey is allocated and often highly marked up north of $250. I will never understand why it’s allocated and hyped, especially when the age and ABV aren’t noteworthy, but I decided to give it a try when I found it for $130, which is around MSRP but admittedly not remotely affordable. If nothing else, it’s a privilege to be able to buy and review this. Hopefully you’ll get something useful from this too.
This is another personal thought. When I think of higher ABV Irish Whiskey, I always think of Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength, one of my personal favorites and an amazing mix of age, ABV, deliciousness, and price. For whatever reason, no one really talks about or chases it even though it has all the trappings of a sought after whiskey.
Who knows, maybe there is a compelling reason so let’s find out if this is Gold-level stuff in this Gold Spot Irish Whiskey review.
Gold Spot Irish Whisky front
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Gold Spot Irish Whiskey smell

Gold Spot Whiskey is fruity up front with solid alcohol kick. There’s berries, honey, date, roasted oak, cinnamon, clove, spritz of fresh orange, cherry, pineapple, toasted grain, and a little tobacco and vanilla. The bourbon-aged and red wine barrel-aged components are well balanced. The bourbon-aged part still shines with bright and tropical fruits such as orange and pineapple, while the wine components bring dark berries, dates, cherry, and overall dark jammy sweetness.
The oak is surprisingly roasty and dark too, which I suspect comes from the sherry, Bordeaux, and Port, which can have oaky and lightly tannic notes. In my experience, Bordeaux especially can have stronger dryness and tannins, and my guess is that those are coming through.
The rich fruitiness and oak smell great, but the heat is stronger than I’d ever expect from 51.4%, kicking far harder than that. It can take over the scents at times, which is strange because it smells way less hot and more fruity when I open the top and smell straight from the bottle. It’s very different in the glass, and that’s not ideal.
After swirling I smell toasted honey, dark berry, pineapple, dark oak that’s somewhat roasted, cinnamon, clove, fresh orange, some caramel nougat, fennel, vanilla, mint, coffee, and toasted biscuit. The heat singes my nostrils though, feeling like it’s closer to 65%, while the density of the scents themselves can’t always compensate.

Gold Spot Irish Whiskey is fruit-forward with the mix of bourbon and wine cask influence, but also has the extra oakiness and spice from the red wines that generally provides nice density. It’s somewhat held back by the stronger heat, but all in all it’s still fragrant and great.

Gold Spot Irish Whisky back

Gold Spot Irish Whiskey taste and aftertaste

The flavors are densely sweet and fruity up front with honey, berry, pineapple, and orange, followed by toasted oak, cinnamon, cherry, pineapple, black pepper, and roasted biscuit. The flavors again are a nice balance between the tropical bourbon and darker red wine fruit components so the fruitiness from both is clear. At the same time, there’s a slightly tannic and drying quality too, which I think comes from the red wine.
The viscosity is marginally above average, and the alcohol again kicks a little harder than the 51.4%, but is less intense than it is in the scents. That lower intensity helps a lot.
After “chewing” I get honey, jammy orange, cherry and strawberry, pineapple, a lot of roasted oak (surprising), clove, fennel, toasted biscuit, a little bit of coffee and caramel nougat, and some tannins in the back (like how Bordeaux red wine can be a little oaky and dry). Gold Spot is still fruit-forward, but the flavors become more oaky, spicy, and slightly tannic towards the back, which probably comes from the wine casks. They also become slightly darker, as the darker sweetness slightly picks up.
Thankfully, “chewing” releases more fruitiness and a little more viscosity, and I’m all for it. It’s delicious and I’m finally coming around to thinking this is delightful as the kicking heat gets pushed back a bit more as my mouth adjusts. It still has a stronger kick than any low-50% whiskey I’ve ever had, which makes me feel a little conflicted. I can get over it, but it’s always in the back nagging me. I don’t know how this was blended to get that result, but I wish they could have done a little better with that.
The aftertaste starts with honey, pineapple, cherry, roasted oak, black pepper, and cinnamon. It’s quite spicy on the back end with cinnamon, black pepper, heat, and some red pepper. After “chewing” there’s berry, honey, roasted oak, cinnamon, and coffee with lingering dark, roasty, and lightly sweet notes.
Weighing everything, Gold Spot Irish Whiskey is delicious and I’ve come around to it. I’ve had better, but it’s still great.

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Gold Spot Irish Whiskey Rating

Top Shelf
Gold Spot Irish Whiskey is very good, “Top Shelf” stuff. The marriage of bourbon cask and various red wine casks creates a fruity whiskey that’s also surprisingly oaky and spicy, and a little tannic. Those wine casks really bring the oak and tannins. That’s all well and good, but the drawback is the heat. Even at just 51.4% ABV, it has an outsized presence that drags down the scents, but mercifully calms down more in the flavors.
I really thought that my senses were being more sensitive than normal because the ABV shouldn’t have felt that intense. To check and also open up a bottle I’d been meaning to open, I fresh cracked a bottle of Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve 2021 rum (54.5% ABV), and smelled it seconds after pouring it. It was immediately noticeable to me that the heat was calmer, and this was a newly opened and poured bottle with little to no time to air out. Maybe the rum is also that much better too.
To that point, Gold Spot Irish Whiskey tastes better than it smells, as the heat is better controlled and better stays out of the way so the fruit from all those finishes can shine.
But let’s be real here, Gold Spot is absolutely not good enough to justify any price north of $150. It’s not even close. This should honestly be a $100 bottle at most, maybe $150 if you’re super generous. Unfortunately, its “commemorative” label probably limits the supply and jacks up the price. People, come to your senses! Seriously, I think that Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength is a far better option for 95% of you reading this review. Ironically Redbreast is owned by the same company that owns Spot Whisky.
The crazy thing is that Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength is 12 years old, cask strength, less than $100, and has little to no hype around. It may not have the Port or Bordeaux cask finishes, but it still has bourbon and sherry maturation / finishes. I honestly don’t think that most people will be able to tell much of a difference, let alone a $100+ difference. Sure, Redbreast isn’t everywhere, but it’s far easier to find than Gold Spot and from what I can tell, rarely marked up if you do find it.
This is delicious whiskey that can’t justify the price or hype, but honestly the price may not matter for most people who are willing to drop $130+ on a bottle. But hear me out…please don’t pay $200+, it just isn’t that good. You’re just lying to yourself at that point. And if you trust me, don’t overpay.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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