Jameson Irish Whiskey
Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey 79.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted March 17, 2014
The town of Midleton, near Cork City, is home to the largest distillery in Ireland, aptly named the Midleton Distillery. This distillery is part of the Pernod-Ricard group of companies, and it is home to a variety of Irish Whiskey Brands as Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew, and Red Breast all are distilled at the Midleton Distillery; as is the largest selling Irish Whiskey Brand in the world, Jameson. (Incidentally, the Jameson Brand is also part of the Pernod-Ricard conglomerate of companies.)
John Jameson, a Scotsman, established the company that bears his name in the year 1780, in Dublin Ireland. The popularity of Jameson Irish Whiskey grew steadily, and by the early 1800′s it was the most popular whiskey in the world. Social and political events such as the temperance movement in Ireland, and the Irish War of Independence (which caused a trade war with Britain) caused Jameson to lose its position as the world leader in whiskey sales. However, in spite of these set backs, Jameson remains the third largest single distillery whiskey brand in the World.
This review is of the flagship of the Jameson brand, the spirit simply called Jameson Irish Whiskey. According the producer’s website, this is a triple distilled spirit made from a blend of pot still and grain whiskeys. Both previously used sherry and bourbon oak casks are used in the maturation of the spirit; however the whiskey carries no age statement. (By law all Irish Whiskey must be aged a minimum of 3 years in oak casks.)
Jameson Irish Whiskey is distributed in Canada by Corby Brands who are responsible for much of the Pernod Ricard portfolio of Spirits here in Canada. My sample bottle for the purpose of this review was a 200 ml flask style bottle.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
Although I received a 200 ml flask to review, the standard Jameson Irish Whiskey bottling is the tall green 750 ml bottle shown to the left. The labeling is attractive, and the only minor quibble I have is with the red metallic screw cap which seals the bottle (these flimsy caps drive me crazy). However; this whiskey is rather attractively priced as an economy brand so I can be rather forgiving, especially as the rest of the bottle presentation is so nice.
In the Glass 8/10
In the glass, the whiskey displays a very light straw colour, and a tilt of my glass and a slow swirl reveals a thin sheen of spirit on the inside of the glass which drops an abundance of skinny legs back down into the whiskey. The initial aroma in the breezes above glass represents a soft punky sweet butterscotch interlaced with clean oak spices.
As the glass breathes, I notice a light woodiness of freshly sanded oak in the background with the wood spices beginning to resemble ginger, cilantro, cardamom, and freshly harvested grain. There is also a mild punky smell within the whiskey which is obviously a reflection of the Irish pot still influence. There is also a light floral undertone which reminds me of early blooming flowers in the spring. The overall effect is of a pleasant young whiskey.
In the Mouth 48/60
The entry into the mouth brings forward punky soft butterscotch flavours followed very quickly by heated wood spices. There is a mildly bitter/sour influence within the whisky which reminds me of pickle juice (sweet bread and butter pickles), also a firm but subtle flavour of vanilla, and some hints of almond and raisin.
The whiskey remains pleasant although it would be a stretch to call the whiskey complex. The flavour profile represents a young whiskey with lightly sweet malt influences melded with sharper grainy spice.
In the Throat 11/15
Soft butterscotch and heated white pepper seem to linger just a little while before the whiskey is gone. What remains is a light touch of unpleasant burn which unfortunately must be alleviated with a lump of ice and a splash of soda.
The Afterburn 8/10
The Jameson Irish Whiskey is on that borderline between sipping and mixing. For myself, I found my best enjoyment when I mixed the whiskey with a little soda and ice, rather than when I sipped the spirit neat. Ice and soda alleviates the mildly unpleasant burn, and the interesting pot still flavours seem to find a nice place in the resulting cocktails (see my suggested recipe down below).
You may read some of my other Whiskey Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
I have been having a lot of fun lately working with a classic cocktail called the Brandy Crusta. The old cocktail books I have read seem to hint that Brandy was originally the choice spirit for mixing cocktails, and many of the old Brandy recipes were later altered to suit other spirits. Hence the Brandy Crusta spawned the Rum Crusta, and also the Whiskey Crusta.
This is my take on the Crusta with respect to how it should be constructed with Irish Whiskey. I call my recipe, the Emerald Crusta.
2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
dash Angostura Bitters
Spiral Lime Peel
optional Q-Ginger (sub Ginger-ale or Ginger Beer)
Rim a cocktail glass with a wedge of Lime
Powder the rim of the glass with fine sugar
Place a Spiral lime Peel in the bottom of the glass
Place the first 5 ingredients in a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain onto the spiral lime peel in the cocktail glass
If desired, complete with a splash of Q-Ginger
Add a lump of ice in the center of the lime spiral
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)