It was a frosty Saturday night and I needed some liquid fire (a.k.a whiskey) to help warm me up! The bar only had the usual “entry level” suspects so I asked my girlfriend to “surprise me” with one of them while I went to the Gents. A tumbler of golden nectar sat waiting for me when I returned to our table. Intrigued, I peered at the tumbler without a clue of its contents. With a flutter of her eyelids my girlfriend hinted that it was a bourbon. I knew she was lying, and a whiff of the mysterious nectar (and her cheeky smile) confirmed it. There was definitely something “bourbony” about it, but it wasn’t bourbon. What I did know for sure was that it was damn good “entry level” whiskey that put to shame many of the outrageously expensive whiskies I had enjoyed that week. It did not take long for me to finish the whisky, and as I savoured my last gulp the idenitity of the mysterious dram was revealed: Jameson Original.
Jameson is Irish whiskey made from malted and unmalted barley that has been dried without a single puff of peat smoke. It is then distilled three times, as opposed to most Scotch whisky which is generally distilled two times, and aged for between 4 to 7 years in sherry and bourbon casks. To tame the fire even more, Jameson blends this whiskey made from malted and unmalted barley with a delicate grain whiskey to create the “entry level” Jameson Original. It is now a staple of my whisky cabinet and one of my favourite mixers, particularly delicious with cloudy apple juice or ginger ale.
On the nose the bourbon cask influence is most obvious, with vanilla and caramel accompanying a bouquet of mixed grain, barley, grass, green apple, gooey licorice and glazed cherries. On the palate the bourbon themed vanillas and raisin are interrupted by lighter bursts of sherry wood, which brings glazed cherry and a nuttiness that accentuates earthy and grassy undertones, raw grain and barley.This magic then proceeds to the finish and the shimmers of sherry wood become more dominant, bringing to the fore the nuts and dried fruit with a hint of spice and drying wood notes.
Overall, Jameson Original is sharp, crisp, fresh, sweet and smooth as silk. At is price, it is in my view one of the world’s best value whiskies and perhaps one of the few “entry level” whiskies that can hold its own against some premium products on the market while giving others a good old Irish hiding. What do you think of that, boyo?