Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
Review: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey 94/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted March 17, 2011
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. Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew, and Red Breast all are distilled at the Midleton Distillery, as is of course, 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.
The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey is a blended Irish Whiskey, the components of which are matured for a minimum of 18 years in a combination of American Bourbon Oak and Spanish Olorosso Sherry Oak Casks. The whiskey includes both grain and pure pot still whiskey varieties and is finished in fresh fill Bourbon barrels. This is the upper end of the Jameson range, and although it has been in regular production since 2002, it is considered to be a connoisseur’s whiskey and is produced in rather limited quantities each year.
The presentation for the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey is pictured to the right. The Whiskey arrives in an attractive green box. The front of the box folds down and the lid is held in place by a magnetic latch at the top of the box. The bottle itself is also green and is a typical whiskey bottle with gentle curves. Each bottle is individually numbered, and the bottle I am reviewing today is number 68708 // 18-8.
In the Glass (9/10)
In the glass the whiskey displays a light amber hue and a quick tilt of my glass and a swirl reveals moderately thick legs which run down the inside of the glass rather slowly. The initial aroma from the glass is of a punky sweet butterscotch and mildly spicy toffee with obvious notes of marzipan. As the glass decants I notice a light woodiness developing, and a light scent of rum in the air with some brown sugar aromas. The overall effect is quite nice.
In the Mouth (57/60)
When I began tasting this whiskey for my review, I had placed myself on a bit of a time line in order to finish it for St. Patrick’s Day. The trouble was, I was enjoying the whiskey so much that I found myself wanting to indulge myself, rather than spending time writing tasting notes. I was experiencing Irish Pure Pot Still flavours for the first time, and I must say that they are quite wonderful. These flavours seem to have softened with 18 years of age into something that resembles a creamy soft toffee embedded in honeycomb underlain with a light marzipan and tainted with flavours of sour mash bourbon. Light oak flavours weave in and out, and all of this flavour comes together at once in a wonderful display of balance. The whiskey has such a beguiling delivery, that I was hooked right from the very first sip.
In the Throat (14/15)
This Jameson Whiskey has a suave sort of creamy sweetness that doesn’t cloy at the palate after the whiskey is sipped. Things are smooth in the exit which is very long and satisfying. The punky, creamy toffee just stays and stays, and a light brown sugar spice compliments the finish beautifully.
The Afterburn (9.5/10)
Every once in a while I taste a whiskey which is rather exceptional. I prize these whiskeys, and if I am honest, I have to admit that I am loath to share them with my friends. The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve is one of these prized whiskeys. When my friends were over last Sunday for a Rum and Whiskey tasting, I kept this bottle conveniently squirreled away and made no mention of my St. Patrick’s Day Irish Whiskey Review. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my friends; but once in a while despite my best efforts to be a better person, I find myself becoming a selfish hoarder.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
This is one of those rare spirits which tastes so good that I was as unwilling to mix any sort of cocktail with it, as I was as to share it. On each night when I tasted it, I would add two or three large ice cubes to my glass and then filled it halfway with my Jameson 18 Year Old. I would sip on the whiskey as the ice slowly melted, and with each sip it seemed as though the whiskey became creamier and smoother. Generally I would be finished the glass with three-quarters of the ice left, and it always seemed as though that last sip was the best sip I had tasted. Which of course would generally induce me refill my glass one more time.
The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve is an outstanding spirit which I heartily recommend to all who appreciate smooth suave flavourful whiskey!
I do want to remind everyone who reads my blog that the aim of my writing is not to help you drink more…it is to help you drink better!
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)