Apr 082014
 

Jameson Irish Whiskey010

40% abv

Score:  76/100

 

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

 Posted by at 8:06 am
Jan 032014
 

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve 2007007

46% abv

Score:  93/100

 

One of my best mates is Irish.  He’s fiercely proud of that fact too.  So much so that we have to constantly remind him that it is the Scots that produce 95% of the glorious drams he likes to hoard and sip.  That helps to momentarily take him down a peg or two, but never seems to be enough to wipe the filthy Irish prejudices out of his mouth. 

But every now and again, just to show a little love and solidarity, we have to throw a bit of appreciation at the fine folk from the Emerald Isle.  Without them we’d not have one of the world’s greatest accents, Guinness, Flogging Molly, St. Paddy’s Day parties, Oscar Wilde, Shane MacGowan, James Joyce, Bushmills, Conan O’Brien, Gary Oldman, Dropkick Murphys and so much more.  They also say the Irish invented whisky, which makes ’em gold in my books, so it must just be the present company I keep that seems like rabble.  Such is the nature of searching out your drinking buddies from the likes of Northern Alberta.

Among the greatest gifts the Irish have given the greater whisky world sits one absolutely sparkling gem of almost untouched clarity and brilliance.  That gem is Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve 2007 edition.  The first time I tasted this whisky was literally one of those ‘knock the wind out of you’ surprises.  I simply had no idea Irish whisky could be this beautiful.  It was the aforementioned Irish gent himself who opened that bottle to generously share with a group of eager folk at an early (and now defunct)  incarnation of our local whisky club.  It was a magical moment, wherein a room full of people were simultaneously bowled over.  It’s become one of those touchstone moments in my whisky learnin’.

I want to state something clearly here:  This is a blended whisky.  That’s important.  All blenders rigorously engaged in their craft should stop for a moment and be made aware that something like this exists out there.  If a blended whisky this sublime (Irish, or otherwise) can be created through the blender’s alchemy once, it can certainly be done again.  Maltmonster used these words in a previous write-up:  “Blended whiskey with older grain (23-24 years old) and malted and unmalted barley matured in bourbon and port casks.”   Whatever the mashbill…this is simply great stuff.  Almost untouchable.

Nose:  Pineapple.  Grapefruit.  Mango.  Maybe some peach.  Man…this is fruit on parade.  Deeply rich in tropical notes.  Even deeper than I remember.  But they’re quite well integrated into the whole.  Deep inhalations are VERY rewarding.  Some citrus.  White chocolate.  Yogurt-covered Fun Fruits (anyone remember those things?).  A touch of sweet sugar cookies.  Cinnamon.  Some great spicy bourbon notes.

Palate:  Those same tart and tangy tropical fruit notes.  Like an ‘adults only’ version of Five Alive.  Orange rind.  Lots of spice and a bit of chocolate.  There’s also an oaky note at play. 

Thoughts:  Utterly fantastic.  Far and away the greatest Irish whiskey I have ever tasted.

*(The author would like to state for the record that he loves the Irish and that no Irish or Edmontonians were hurt in the making if this review.  Excepting perhaps the feelings of O’Maltmonster.)

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Dec 042010
 

Maltmonster sat down to a trio of young beauties a few nights back and graciously offered up his take on a few of Ireland’s underappreciated gems.  Buckle up…

 

TRINITY   TASTING   OF   IRISH   WHISKIES

It’s been said that whiskey was invented so the Irish wouldn’t rule the world, but who would want to live in a world without whiskey.  After all good health is merely the slowest rate at which one can die!

Knowing that I will never rule the world, I picked out three of my current favorite Irish whiskies for review.

 

EARTHBushmills 16 Year old, 40% ABV.  This is a single malt with a three wood influence; Bourbon, Oloroso and Port (A conscience does not prevent sin, it only prevents from enjoying it.).

Nose – Coco / coffee, raisins and almonds

Taste – Delicate sweetness, burnt toffee                        

Finish – Medium to long. Elegant

Assessment – First Irish malt whiskey I fell in love with. Always recommend this to others.

 

WATERRed Breast 12 Year old, 40 % ABV. Blended whiskey (A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.).

Nose – Apples, pears and succulent strawberries. Floral

Taste – Creamy vanilla. Complex and little spicy

Finish – Medium. Very balanced

Assessment – This is my 2nd favorite Irish blend. Good value considering the price is around $40-$50.

 

FIREJameson 2007 Rarest Vintage Reserve, 46 % ABV. Blended whiskey with older grain (23-24 years old) and malted and unmalted barley matured in bourbon and port casks (Lead me not into temptation as I can usually find it by myself.).

Nose – Sublime citrus notes, marshmallows. Fragrant

Taste – Layered cake. Elegant wine .Silky smooth.

Finish – Medium to long. . Brilliant stuff. Hats off to the blender on this one.

Assessment – Best Jameson I’ve ever had. Bit pricey, but worth it if you can afford it.

 

Maltmonster