A Fearless Spirit

When I was in Dublin, I had the joy of going to the Bow Steet Distillery where a very special spirit has been manufactured for over two and a quarter centuries. I wrote about the experience for Refined Vices, and you can read about it here. When I was in Israel, I stopped by the duty free. They had some very expensive bourbons (about twice what they cost in the States), some Scotch that was, while undoubtedly inexpensive, still more than I wanted to spend. Their selections of other spirits were...well...undistinguished. However, their price on Jameson Irish Whiskey was quite good. And so, now I give you my review:

John Jameson & Son: Original Irish Whiskey

Tasting Conditions:
I had a glass of Jameson after a day of work and an evening of classes. The bottle was room temperature, and freshly opened. I used a tulip glass of approximately six ounces (a Ministry of Rum tasting glass).

Eye: In the glass, the whiskey is a wheaty-honey color with thin, bulbous legs. The bottle is, appropriately, green glass, with the Jameson logo, the Jameson family crest, and some details. While I could not find an age statement on the bottle, the whiskey is allowed five years in the barrel.

Nose: The nose is quite bready, alsmot like a very strong beer. Given that whiskey is, after all, basically very strong beer, I guess that is appropriate. There is a fair amount of burn, which almost covers up the vanilla notes, and some nutty notes.

Mouth: Neat, as the Irish take it, the spirit is just a little sweet, but the burn obscured any other flavours on the first sip. Another sip gave me a little bit of oakiness, and a slightly sour flavour on the finish. The more I sipped, the more rancid it tasted, so I elected to add a bit of water. The water improved it immensely. While it still had the same notes, the sweetness took on a more honeyed tone. The rancid, sour note moved towards citrus, and the burn stopped off a lot. The oak moved slightly towards caramel, but not much. Next, I added a cube of ice. After giving the ice a minute to melt, I took another sip. The ice further smoothed it, leaving citrus notes, as well as burnt sugar. The sweetness retreated a fair bit. However, on reflection, I think that the burn sugar was the source of the rancid taste I had earlier.

Conclusion: This whiskey was probably worth just about every penny I paid for it, but not much more. If I saw it again at duty free or on sale, I think I would probably pick it up, as a mixing whiskey, if nothing else. However, given what it costs in the States, I think I would stick with either Bushmills or Fleck'n as long as I am not taking it straight. However, for the occasional James and ginger, or the cocktail which calls for whiskey, this will make a nice addition to my liquor cabinet.

The Scribe

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