Recommendation: Buy it
Type: Irish whiskey
During the course of my whiskey journey I have made the acquaintance of a number of delicious drams, but few brands can boast the consistent quality and excellent value of Jameson.
An Irish whiskey, Jameson is distilled three times (as opposed to Scotch whisky, which tends to be distilled twice). This means that after Jameson distills its “wash” (similar to a strong beer made from malted and unmalted barley), it repeats the process twice; distilling the spirit two further times. This means that the spirit is likely to be smoother and cleaner than whisky which is distilled twice; depending of course on distillation cuts. That does not make it better, as fans of heavy Scotch malts will attest, just characteristically smooth and clean. This happens because the more a whisk(e)y is distilled, the more of the flavours from its raw materials (i.e: barley and that “beer” known as a “wash” in the industry) are stripped away. When Jameson finally finishes its three distillations, the spirit is very high and usually between 80 and 85% alcohol by volume.
Jameson add water to this nice clean spirit and reduce its alcohol volume to between 60 and 70% alcohol by volume. Then, this diluted spirit is placed into barrels; traditionally sherry butts, bourbon barrels and port pipes. This means that the spirit begins to become infused with flavours from the barrels as it ages in the barrels.
Caskmates adds an interesting twist to this method of whiskey making by maturing Jameson whiskey in Jameson barrels that have been seasoned with stout; that blackest of beers. So, in theory, this should add to the classic Jameson flavour profile notes of coffee, bitter hops and dark chocolate.
Luscious layers of cream sit beneath powdery Turkish coffee, cocoa, port, sticky caramels and dark chocolate. The bouquet is sweet and inviting.
Sweet sherry and port is followed by dark chocolate, alcohol preserved cherries and sweetened coffee. The mouth feel is rich and creamy. Butterscotch and caramel teases the palate.
As the sweetness of the sherry and port fades, the taste of the stout emerges – heavy roasted coffee and cocoa notes, which are a seamless shift from the taste of the port, carry the bitter taste of hops; something lovers of India Pale Ale or hop rich beers will appreciate.
Buy it. Jameson Caskmates combines two of my favourite things into one bottle: whiskey and hoppy beer. My taste buds detect lots of port and sherry, coffee, dark chocolate and hops. Mix Jameson Caskmates with your favourite beer, preferably hoppy, to make a delicious boilermaker or sip it neat. I cancelled my plans tonight; the allure of this Irish beauty and Netflix was too great.