The Irish have been making whiskey for a long time. The first-ever licensed distillery in Ireland, the Kilbeggan Distillery, began in 1757, followed by Jameson Irish Whiskey that started in 1780 in Bow Street Dublin. Nearly a decade ago, the nation had over thirty active distilleries making exceptional whiskeys.
However, as time passed, there were only three of them remaining as of 2009. While prohibition was one of the major reasons for this downfall, only a few distilleries proceeded with their craft after it was repealed, including Jameson and the Midleton Distillery.
It all started in 1966 when John James, John Powers, and Cork Distillers formed the ‘Irish Distillers Group’ to grow the cumulative sales of their whiskeys. Jameson gained worldwide popularity, and since 1988, the brand has been a part of the Pernod Ricard family.
What you may not know is that the Bow Street distillery offers guided tours, conducts whiskey tasting seminars, and even includes a museum dedicated to the long heritage of this exceptional Irish whiskey brand.
Irish Whiskey Redefined
Unlike your traditional blended Scotch whisky, the Jameson Irish Whiskey is produced without using peat in the process. The barley is first dried in a closed container and then heated with natural gas. Although it may lack certain smoky notes, the result has received a lot of praises from consumers.
Each expression in Jameson’s line-up, specifically the ‘Rarest Reserve’ and the ’18-Year-Old’ has received accolades and awards like gold and double gold in the years 2005 and 2010. It is also known for its great compatibility with ginger ale.
Getting Started with Jameson Irish Whiskey
If you are new to Irish whiskey, a good expression to start is Jameson’s Caskmate Stout edition. It’s an exceptionally great introductory whiskey with notes of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. On the other hand, if you want to try something more adventurous, their Black Barrel expression might just be the right choice for you.
The latter is often touted as the Irish variant of American style whiskey, but it’s made completely with Irish whiskey-making processes and undergoes the famous ‘Triple Distillation’ process as well. Moreover, it is aged in double-charred bourbon barrels that provide a more intensified taste to it.
How Does Jameson’s Production Process Look Like?
The Jameson Irish whiskey is produced by marrying a meticulous blend of grain whiskeys and single pot still whiskeys with a mixture of malted and unmalted Irish barley. Every blend used in the production of this whiskey is sourced from within 50-miles around the Cork distillery.
Then, the barley is dried in a closed kiln and fired through natural gas, which was earlier substituted by anthracite coal. In contrast with the traditional method of firing kiln with peat carried out by certain Scotch whisky distilleries, this method results in a smoother and intensified taste.
Let’s Talk Figures
In 2019, the brand surpassed its existing sales records and the volume passed to over 8 million cases, which was a new benchmark for the brand. Out of all these bottle sales, nearly 940,000 were sold in December alone. Earlier, it had sold over 1 million cases in 1996 that grew into 3 million by the end of 2010.
The reason why Jameson Irish whiskey is popular is its exceptionally smooth taste. Of course, the triple distillation process surely makes it much lighter than other spirits, the long smooth finish that it provides is more of an aftereffect of those extra years in the barrels that infuse the long smooth finish, for which this brand is known.