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Sunday, 14 September 2008

E's are good. Our First WhiskEy reviews. has found itself in rainy / sunny / rainy Dublin. One of our fav cities in Europe, it would be a crime whilst here not to visit the Old Jameson Distillery ( to try some of their famous Irish whiskey.

Jameson Distillery Reserve - 12 Years Old - 40% - 700ml - only available at the distillery

"This is a special selection by the master blender of old triple distilled Jameson matured in both Oloroso and ex-Bourbon barrels."
Additional information tells me that the whiskey in this release is between 12 - 21 years old.

Nose- A waft of fresh hazelnuts. Honey roast ham with cloves and open log fires.

Palate- There is a real sweetness to this on initial tasting. Full Cream milk and rich heather and lavender notes.

Finish- The finish takes in toffee, heather, figs. Quite long for a 40% whiskey and it fades just brilliantly, leaving warming and sweet tones.

Overall- this is a fab whiskey. Retailing at €45 a bottle at the distillery or €55 to have your name on the bottle and the box. This really should be on general release. A fabulously balanced blend. Damn the hand luggage restrictions on liquids, or my bags would be weight down with the stuff.

Jameson Gold - NAS - 700ml - 40% vol

"Jameson Gold is a deluxe Irish whiskey of exceptional harmony. It take unique character from the small selection of traditional pot still whiskeys matured in virgin oak used in the blend."

12 months ago this bottling was only available in duty free, but has now found its way to a general release.

N- A strong and pungent nose of cigars, roast chicken, clear apple juice and coffee.

P- The apple juice flavour really streams through with light touches of coffee.

F- A surprisingly long finish that lingers both with spice and sweetness; brown sugar. Red chillies.

O- this whiskey is far too weak, but that's Jameson for you. From an island where politics has always been a hot topic, this is a distillery that makes whiskey to sit firmly on the fence. At €75 a bottle and clearly their attempt at stealing some of the JW Gold market (see our previous notes on the JW Gold and Blue) I'd go for the distillery reserve every time over this.

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (2007) - Big old wooden box with tasting note pamphlet - 700ml - 40% vol

What luck. is treated to a small, but exciting dram of the Jameson Rarest Reserve. Launched in 2007 this hits the market at €400 a bottle. Their marketing blurb reads thus:

"Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve is Jameson's most exclusive whiskey. Launched in 2007 it embodies all that is great about Jameson. The pick of some of our oldest & rarest whiskeys that were available for individual selection, have been carefully brought together & married by the 4 Jameson Masters to create what is essentially, the ultimate expression of Jameson craftsmanship."

N- Loads and loads of fruit. Water Melons, a hint of over ripe bananas and plums. Some lime in there too with that hint of coffee again. Just Beautiful.

P- Fudge, black cherries dipped in dark chocolate. The wood finish leave a subtle dryness in the mouth.

F- heathers, lavenders, copper delicate.

O- This is a really cracking dram that has everything going for it on the nose, but it so let down by the lack of power in the palate. Great flavours but the need to be bolstered by more than 40% spirit. At €400 a bottle, give the serious whiskey drinkers some respect and bottle this at cask strength or at least up towards 50% vol.

Jameson Signature Reserve - 40% vol - 1ltr - Travel retail only.

A new addition to the Jameson range, this is currently only available in Duty Free.

N- now we are really getting somewhere! Huge, huge liquorice notes. Pot still? Oh, yes! Strong, powerful and just wonderful.

P- I was expecting more. Think those little sweets that you get in liquorice allsorts with the blue bobbles over them. One of those soaked in Bombay Safire gin. Very nice but quite one dimensional.

F- Leaves menthol, spearmint and liquorice. Medium in length.

O- Totally different from any of the other drams above. Much meatier, the fruit and spices of the previous bottles gives way to more mints and herbs. It hits with strength in flavour but the palate is once again let down by the 40% vol!!! Argh!!!

A huge thanks to Michael Flanagan and his staff for their generosity.