Jameson. The world’s bestselling Irish whiskey. By far. But much as I suspect that many of the folks pushing Glenfiddich to the top of the charts are more the ‘scotch and soda’ crowd than the connoisseurs and collectors, I have a feeling that many of the good people downing Jameson are probably not sitting around sipping this stuff from nosing glasses. It’s just not a dram of that caliber. This is more a shotglass kinda drink, I think. Or maybe best used in Irish Coffee and the like.
Jameson is a blended Irish whiskey, built from a bit of pot still distillate and – based on the profile – what I assume is a lot of grain spirit. Apparently there are sherry casks used in maturing some of the spirit that goes into this blend, but I’m hard-pressed to pick up on much of that influence in the final product. It seems to be more of a concentrated bourbon profile driving this one on than sherry making much of an impression. Sadly too, I gotta say that the pot still component of this whiskey is simply crushed beneath the heft of the grains and the relatively youthful bite.
With a bit of time in good barrels this all could all come together nicely, but I honestly don’t believe this whiskey is given even close to enough time in wood to allow its more rambunctious nature to settle down into a well-behaved middle age.
So…let’s see if we have this straight…1) the component of the whiskey with the most personality is grossly under-represented, to the point of being almost invisible and 2) the overall product tastes young and unripe. Mmmmmmm. Recipe for success!
I must admit that I’m a Bushmills guy, first and foremost. That’s the juice I cut my teeth on. And even better than the Bush (easy now) is Redbreast. But hey…there’s enough love in my heart to go ’round. Or so I thought.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a bad whiskey. It simply needs to be noted that you get what you pay for. When you’re picking up a $25 bottle of whiskey, you’re getting a $25 bottle of whiskey. If you’re looking for a somewhat smoother ride, you gotta go for something a little longer in the teeth and less reliant on neutral spirit to constitute so much of its make-up.
My advice? Pour it in a shot glass, toss it back, slam it down, order another. Rinse, repeat.
Nose: Not dissimilar to some of the better Canadian whiskies, character-wise. But with more fruit. Big oak notes. Bourbon spices. Lemon rind. Custard. Toasted marshmallow. Not a lot more. Smells young, but not feinty. Still carries an alcohol-nip that would fade with a little more time.
Palate: Ouch. Vodka. The neutral spirit that props this one up must constitute 80% of the mashbill. This is spirity to be sure. Green apple. Oak. Cinnamon. A little Cream Of Wheat porridge with brown sugar. Citrus. Vanilla extract. A lot of wood on the finish.
Thoughts: To be fair…this is a very clean drink, and would mature well. Older Jameson can be stunning. Not my thing, but decent, for what it’s worth. At the end of the day though, I’ll stick with the 1608 distillery.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt