Quick Dram(s): Jameson


We here at EWB like Irish whiskey. In fact, we like it so much we not only drink it regularly but have written about it on countless occasions. Sampling, visiting, experimenting, discussing and simply loving the stuff. Yet, somehow – despite writing about their whiskey in feck loads of articles – we have never posted any tasting notes for Jameson. Why? To be honest I don’t know, but I am here to make amends!

Lukasz showing his true colours last year at Jameson. It would be rude not to post this image up again!

I was lucky enough to join in some exquisite chat on Twitter a few weeks ago whilst enjoying four lovely editions of Jameson. We tried Jameson Original, Jameson Gold Reserve, Jameson Select Reserve and the Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve. For a full bells and whistles description of the whiskey you can read it on the Jameson website. Master Hoban had the pleasure of visiting Midleton last year for the launch of the new still house, in which they doubled production to over 60 million litres, and so read his article if you are interested in finding more about the operational method behind the madness of Jameson. But this post is all about getting some Jameson tasting notes down on paper/screen and so, before I get distracted, here we go:

Jameson Irish Whiskey
40% ABV
Available pretty much everywhere!

Nose: Light vanilla, fresh apple and a hint of warming spice.

Palate: Still light, but warmer. Vanilla is more fudge like, apples still there and a sticky orange coating as well. Smooth oak always lingering in the back as well!

Finish: Not much. But certainly not unpleasant. Vanillalilililili…

Overall: If you haven’t tried it then why are you reading this? Stop what you are doing, walk to the nearest pub, pay the pittance it costs and try it yourself! Easy and pleasant for what it is and if you don’t like it then add ginger beer and drink it mixed, over ice with lime. Jamey and Ginger my summer drink of choice. It does the job.

Jameson Gold Reserve
40% ABV
Available here £50.55

Nose: Crunchy (can something smell crunchy?), sweet almonds, a nice wave of citrus and a salted caramel note.

Palate: Crisp honeycomb at first. Then a very, very smooth citrus yoghurt/custard, that builds up to a more vibrant apple strudel. Still has that beautiful, creamy oak throughout as well.

Finish: A little bit more than the original and leaves a wave of citrus and oak on the palate.

Overall: A proper Irish Whiskey with a nice delicate balance between fresh, sweet and a little richer spice. I like it but there are plenty other whiskies I would probably get for that price before this one.

Jameson Select Reserve
40% ABV
Available here £35.33

Nose: There is the nice smooth oak again! A bit drier than before maybe. Vanilla at the start but definitely develops a more tropical side with coconut coming through, and then assuming more sherried characteristics.

Palate: So lively! Makes the previous two seem almost dull in comparison. Lively oak, sweet orange, pear sorbet with cocoa powder dusting. A rich almond and plum tart.

Finish: Bounces off the tongue for a while with the tropical notes and sweet almond lingering.

Overall: £35.33 for a bottle? Yes please! I enjoyed the other two but now they taste bland and dull compared to this. Going back they seem awfully bare before this bouncy beast.

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve
46% ABV
Available here £281.04

Nose: Still with the oak, it seems to always be lying in the air of the Jameson family. Then it hits the deep notes! Treacle, a little menthol, liquorice, cinnamon and more plums. Sticky.

Palate: Very juicy, melon, pineapple, mango, lots of tropical fruits but with a slight metallic edge. Tinned fruit salad. Then the darker notes; dusty leather, salted caramel, pineapple upside down cake. It has an interesting fizz that accompanies the fruit as well, the extra 6% ABV is very noticeable.

Finish: Unsurprisingly the longest of the bunch. The fizzy, tropical fruits hang on the palate in a lovely warm and fuzzy manner. Yum!

Overall: Probably the tastiest. But it is also the most expensive by a good long way! Piles of fruit and a brilliant feel, if you get the chance then try it. The Select Reserve wins it for me. Good value and great taste.

There we have it. Jameson notes finally written down for the EWB archives. Done!


Graeme Gardiner


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