Jameson (40%, OB, Circa 2012)

Today if anyone mentions an Irish Coffee, you say Jameson. If you say Irish Whiskey, you still say Jameson, unless you’re an anorak, than you might say something different, like Connemara, if you like it peated, or Teeling, or Middleton. Enough to choose from and Irish Whiskey is on the rise again, and that is really great! It’s the ancient battle between the Scottish and the Irish, where Whiskey originated from, so why then is the Scottish Whisky so big and why was the Irish Whisky nearly dead in the recent past? There are enough examples of fabulous Irish Whiskeys and there is this Jameson. The oldest and best known of all Irish Whiskeys. Again a bottle you see in all the hotel bars and restaurant and in many homes as well.

When I started getting interested in Whisky in general, a long, long time ago, it started with Jim Beam White, the obvious Jack Daniels, Scottish blends like Teachers and Grant’s, and this Jameson. I hated Jack Daniels and Jameson actually, so I moved quickly into Single Malts and was immediately sold on Aberlour and Laphroaig. The rest is history.

Jameson (40%, OB, Circa 2012)Color: Gold.

Nose: Toffee and caramel. Grainy, fruity and quite fresh. The fruity note is quite lovely. Actually it reminds me of Gin a bit. The fresh, juniper like smell with some well hidden clean alcohol. Definitely grainy and seems to me in part like a sweet Dutch Jenever. It also has a paper like quality. This really smells nice, and I don’t recognize the nose from the first bottle of Jameson’s I had. Is that saying something about me, or is that saying something about Jameson? When the Gin aroma’s dissipate a bit, it at least smells like a Whiskey. And a very pleasant one too. Hints of spicy wood, paper and light wax.

Taste: Paper soaked in sweet apricot water. Definitely a bigger and sweeter body, than I remember from my first encounter with this Whiskey. Yes, slightly fruity sugar-water, with a hint of Whiskey. This sounds pretty negative, but let me tell you it is tasty (in a way). It is nice, very light and extremely simple stuff, but tasty nevertheless. No real off notes, not even the paper notes. but also hardly a Whiskey I guess. Short warming finish, with a short but nice aftertaste. Should work well in Irish Coffee! Otherwise, this is only suitable as an aperitif. If you use this as an after dinner dram, you’ll lose a lot of the subtleties.

This actually smells quite nice, I’m surprised. It is something you could drink easily. How is easy. Anything goes. Mix it, drink it straight out of the bottle, use a straw, you name it. It’s the Whisk(e)y-worlds lemonade, and not as horrible as I remember it. Compared to the “Select Reserve” this is more vibrant and a tad more fruity and playful which suits this destillate. I prefer this one, but the 18yo is way better, way more special, and costs more. If you’re interested in the Jameson 18yo, you’d probably do better with a Redbreast 15yo, but I think I mentioned that before.

Points: 72

Jameson “Select Reserve” (40%, OB, Small Batch)

In the Irish Whiskey Week I reviewed the surprisingly wonderful Jameson 18yo. I also stated that up ’til then I never came across a nice Jameson, that scored over 80 points. Thus the 18yo was a surprise and comes highly recommended.

Jameson Select ReserveLet’s give Jameson another shot, although this “Select Reserve” is another NAS Jameson and not very expensive to boot. I feel my old prejudice itching again. I shall not scratch, since I have found that there are quite a few very nice Irish Whiskies around, but I have to say upfront, that I don’t have very high hopes for this one. I hope I’m wrong.

Color: Gold

Nose: Sweet, light and powdery. Small hints of vanilla, cream and toffee. Sort of a Irish Latte Macchiato if you ask me. Probably excellent for an Irish Latte! Slightly fruity and cleanly alcoholic. No sign of wood but there is some forest floor shrubbery present. Smells very young. Not a lot happening in fact, but also nothing wrong (with the nose, nothing wrong with the nose).

Taste: Very light indeed. Grainy, alcoholic and maybe a bit too sweet. Vanilla, toffee and caramel, with hints of honey and luckily the sweetness quickly leaves the stage. Some bitterness and strangely enough, some cardboard, sawdust and grenadine. Here it is grenadine, but Jameson always have a nice fruity edge. Again very simple and it has a pretty short finish. Passes by quickly, but doesn’t leave a bad impression.

When the normal Jameson is considered a Whiskey for Irish Coffee, I most definitely would put this in something too. Irish latte anyone? Yes, this may be a mediocre Whiskey, but this is still a lot better than a lot of other distillates, so it’s not for nothing, we have a 100 point scale. As an (Irish) Whisk(e)y you can do a lot better.

Points: 70

Irish Whiskey Week – Day 3: Jameson 18yo “Master Selection” (40%, OB, JJ18-3)

Irish CloverDay three already of Master Quill’s Irish Whiskey Week, and no more Tyrconnell. Today we’ll focus on Jameson, because what would be an Irish Whiskey Week without Jameson! I’ve tried quite a few Jameson bottlings, but I have never found a bottle that scored over 80 Points, and although not bad, this may have fueled the prejudice I have (or had) against Irish Whiskey.

John Jameson was a Scottish businessman and in 1780 he acquired the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin. Today the Bow Street Distillery is a museum and visitors centre. The production has moved to the Midleton distillery in Cork. The Whiskey itself is produced from a mixture of malted and unmalted or Irish barley, mostly if not all sourced from within a fifty mile radius around the distillery.

Jameson 18yo Master SelectionColor: Copper gold

Nose: Deep and tarry wood, but also quite fruity. Nice to finally smell something Irish (and unpeated) which smells like it has some age and not so light all the time. Nice soft wood. Velvety feel and very elegant. The only thing that doesn’t work for me is the black fruit acidity. It hinders the balance of the nose, luckily the acidity is upfront and dissipates after a while, to leave more room for the oak. Give it some air and time.

Taste: Yes, quite some oak and again lots of sweet red fruits. The Whiskey is not sweet and does show some age. It has the same red fruits I taste in my beloved Redbreast 15yo! Creamy, powdery malty and dry, but with lovely red fruits and a good yet light and malty finish. Very easily drinkable at 40% ABV.

Actually I was quite surprised how nice this is, and how close the taste resembles the first Redbreast 15yo. This should not be a big surprise, since both come from the same Midleton distillery. Still, the Redbreast pack a lot more punch with its 46% ABV and is pretty special. This  Jameson however may have only 40% ABV which may let it down a bit, but is more easy-going and creamier.

This Jameson 18yo “Master Selection” has been rebranded as Jameson 18yo “Limited Reserve” some time ago. I haven’t tried this “new” version yet, so I don’t know how that one will hold up to this Master Selection, which was also produced in batches, hence the Batchnumber JJ18-3 in the title.

Points: 85