Welcome aboard the Whiskey Train! This month I was thinking I’d re-discover my favorite whiskey, Jameson. Like so many people I was quiet unawares of the many variants produced by the Jameson distillery. In a comfortable relationship with my regular old Jameson Original, it wasn’t until this very year that I even perused the idea of trying another type. It never dawned on me once to browse the whiskey isle for something different. Then one day my boyfriend, the wonderful Red, brought back a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store. It looked like Jameson, It smelled like Jameson…. but the bottle was a bit different. It was indeed a bottle of Jameson, triple distilled, black barrel special reserve, to be more specific. You can imagine my shock and dismay.
It drinks quite smooth and is easily taken neat or on the rocks without needing a mixer of any kind. Ever have one of those weeks where you worked about as hard as an Egyptian slave working on those damned pyramids? Well then, this is one of those adult cocktails that you pour for yourself only after you’ve run a really hot bath after such a week. The regular Jameson ages anywhere from 5 to 7 years but this black barrel stuff is aged in the barrel for at least 12 years. It’s fairly rich and deep in it has notes of vanilla for me, but the professionals have noted stewed apple and toasted woods among the vanilla flavor.
Well, since 1780 John Jameson, who was actually Scottish, acquired the Bow Street Distillery and so began the wonderful journey of producing what would become one of the worlds most popular and recognizable whiskey brands. Today Jameson is the worlds third largest single-distillery. Which is nothing to sneeze at I’d say.
There are a few different Jameson Reserves but the one in which I speak of is actually produced in small batches and is manufactured and shipped in pretty limited quantities in the US. At about 70$ a bottle (at least in the liquor stores in Edison, NJ) it is almost certainly worth it.
- Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve (Formerly known as Jameson 1780)
- Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve is available at their two visitor centres in Ireland and also available from their online shop.
- Jameson Gold Reserve (the only expression of Jameson that uses virgin American oak).
- Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
- Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (Jameson’s oldest and rarest whiskey components).
- Jameson Signature Reserve (exclusive to Travel Retail & Duty Free outlets around the world).
- Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel (available in limited quantities in the US; known as “Small Batch” outside the US)
How is it made you say? Good question. They use something called malted and unmalted Irish barley, all of which is said to come from within close range of the distillery in Cork, Ireland. They dry the barley and fire it in a kiln. So this is very distinctly different from how Scottish Whiskey is made because they fire their barley with peat in the kiln, which gives Irish and Scottish whiskey a pretty different flavor. Sounds like the beginning of a taste test comparison, in the near future hehehe.
The company also participates in a short film contest called “Jameson First Shot”, which was established to search and find creative people new to the film industry. If you win your film is produced by a company that works in conjunction with Jameson called Trigger Street productions founded by none other than the wonderfully talented Kevin Spacey himself. As a winner you are also privy to the talents of an a-list celebrity to star in your movie. Open to people of South Africa, Russia and the USA .Who knew!!!!
How about this for something incredibly randomly awesome! There are Jameson Bartenders Balls, yes that is what I said. Jameson Bartender Balls, all over the country apparently. What these are and what they consist of is pretty interesting and but mostly unknown to me but also super random….they are private events for bartenders and management I guess that have retail accounts and require a RSVP in advance. It’s pretty hush-hush and I think you might actually need an invitation from Jameson themselves, but good to know I suppose if you ever thinking of crashing an awesome party. This would be a good place to start. The only information I could find on the next one is that it is happening in Charlotte, North Carolina.