You know you’ve made it when you spend St Patrick’s Day IN Ireland with one of the best Irish Whiskeys to come outta there. Well that’s what BarChick felt when she returned from a three day rollercoaster ride of Jameson Ginger Ales, distillery tours, whiskey tastings, LeCool tours and Little Green Car performances.
Most importantly we learnt just about as much as we could about one of the coolest Irish Whiskeys out there owned by Irish Distillers, and we’re gonna let you in on it.
WHAT MAKES JAMESON AN IRISH WHISKEY
It’s the process, if you're going to blend the finest grain and Irish pot still whiskey (like Jameson) you've got to distill it three times; unlike Scotch and American which are distilled only once or twice. Then there’s the ageing process; Irish whiskey has to be aged for a minimum of three years in ex-bourbon and sherry casks that have been charred, giving it a helluva flavour. While we’re here, Irish and American whiskey are spelt with a “e” and the rest just spell it “whisky”.
WHAT IS MIDLETON DISTILLERY
BarChick was lucky enough to do a full tour of the current distillery in Midleton, now the third largest distillery in the world! It’s half functioning distillery and the other (older) half that was built in the the 17th century is a museum where you learn about the process: milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation, ageing and blending. This stuff goes through a pretty serious process to get it from barley to whiskey.
The New Midleton Distillery is a vast operation, with a number of Irish whiskeys made here including Jameson, Redbreast and Power. It’s only when you’re actually standing next to one of three of the world’s largest pot stills that you realise a) how much booze people drink and b) what an insane operation they’ve got going on to give it to us.
There are then the HUGE warehouses that each hold over 33,000 barrels full of whiskey; it’s in these barrels that the whiskey is aged and where it gradually draws flavour from the wood.
WHO'S THE MASTER BLENDER AND MASTER COOPER?
These two kinda sound like a couple of DJs on a sat night line up, but they are in fact some of the skills behind the making of a bottle of Jameson.
Billy Leighton, the Master Blender, has a better nose for whiskey than anyone we know. He sniffs out whiskeys of different ages and tastes and blends them together to create the balanced and flavourful spirit that we know to be Jameson. If we’re making it sound easy, it definitely ain’t for someone who started off in the Irish Distillers accounts department - we think he’s a bit of a ledge.
Ger Buckley is a 5th generation Cooper, read more about him in our interview with him coming soon. He’s the guy behind the barrels and makes sure that the whiskey barrels used are the best of the best. They’re still using the same (mega old school) tools that were used more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Well if it ain't broke….
HOW TO DRINK YOUR JAMESON?
If you’re asking us then we say straight up. Working up to it? A Jameson Whiskey and soda with a slice of lime is one of the most refreshing kick starts to your night. Jameson themselves have a thing for ginger and recommend drinking a Jameson Ginger Ale (Jameson, ginger ale and a slice of lime)
Want to hit the cocktails? We learnt about this number that comes from Hugo Enslinn's book written in 1917, "Recipes for Mixed Drinks" ( FYI this is one of the most influential books on cocktails ever).
1 part Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 part Green Chartreuse
1 part Sweet Vermouth
Pour all the ingredients to a shaker, stir over ice and strain into a tumbler that you've filled with ice. We had ours garnished with an olive and rosemary!
WHERE TO DRINK YOUR JAMESON
Dublin has a banging bar scene, not that we’re surprised when it’s the homeland of so many ridiculously good things to drink (we’re looking at you Guinness). The Liquor Rooms is somewhere that knows how to party. Like a view with your whiskey? Sophie’s has hot views over the city. If you’re into sipping in a speakeasy it’s got to be Jameson’s speakeasy: cleverly hidden through the back of a butcher’s shop you’re gonna have to sweet talk the Jameson heavies for an invite but it’s a great little hangout if you get there.
Check out our Dublin Guide for more bars HERE!
We had a tasting with the one and only Master Blender, Billy Leighton and this is what we thought.
JAMESON IRISH WHISKEY
The Original Irish lad, this bad boy is the world’s no.1 selling Irish whiskey. It's golden in colour and has a beautiful caramel taste to it, kick back with this and some mates and you have yourself a party.
JAMESON SELECT RESERVE
The middleman of the fam. Known sometimes as Jameson Black Barrel, its amber colour and rich taste screams alarm bells but you’ll be coming back for more.
JAMESON GOLD RESERVE
With the word gold in the name you can almost feel the arrogance of it before even drinking it. The price is steeper than the Jameson original (around £50 a bottle but worth it) and when we’re talking taste think leather, not so much bondage... more new boots.