Monday 5 May 2014

CCWC at The Wild Rover - Jameson - Tasted #90-#96 (#101drams)

The Wild Rover are seemingly a roll with their "Campbell Corner Whiskey Co-Operative" (CCWC), keeping things true to their roots for their third session with some of the finest whiskies to come out of Ireland's Middleton Distillery.

Yes, it was only fitting that an Irish bar host an Irish whisky tasting, and what a tasting it was, with a whole slew of whiskies (some quite rare) presented by Pernod Ricard's Jameson Brand Ambassador Ailbhe Garrihy. It's not often you try seven whiskies on a Monday night, but hey, such is the life of the whisky blogger, and so it was a few weeks ago that Steph and I made our way to The Wild Rover to try:
  • Jameson Original
  • Jameson Select Reserve ("Black Barrel")
  • Jameson Gold Reserve
  • Green Spot Single Pot Still
  • Redbreast 12yo (a #101drams whisky)
  • Middleton Very Rare
  • Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve

It's no secret that, as a style, I'm not a huge fan of the lighter, smoother triple distilled Irish whiskies (I'm also not a fan of Auchentoshan, for the same reason), but I figured if I was going to find one I liked, it was probably going to be here.

Ailbhe opened the night with some information about the Middleton distillery, who now have over 1million barrels aging away, and make all the whiskies tasted here at the one site. After a few more interesting facts and figures, and a tasty cocktail, it was onto the whiskey...

Jameson Original (40% ABV, NAS (typically 5-7yrs), Cork, Ireland$42.95AUD)
Blend of pot still and grain whisky. Some unmalted barley giving it a creamy mouthfeel.
Nose: Light, sandy, with vanilla, chalk and some sour notes.
Palate: Light and sweet, smooth, sure, but almost too smooth. No real bite. Some banana notes. Would definitely go well in a lighter cocktail.
Finish: Very short.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 86/100. Not entirely to my taste as a sipping whiskey.

Jameson Select Reserve ("Black Barrel") (40% ABV, NAS (typically 7-15yrs), Cork, Ireland$64.99AUD)
An interesting whiskey this one, one that's only been in Australia for ~9 months. One day each year, Middleton make a rare grain whiskey, which (unlike the other 364 days of the year) undergoes its first distillation in a pot still. That whiskey makes its way into this blend, along with other pot still malt whiskey.
Nose: Smooth, vanilla and honey notes. Bourbon cask influence seems strong.
Palate: Smooth, spicy, honey, cloves and raisins.
Finish: Medium, sweet, with notes of vanilla and cinnamon.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100. Consider this if you like a good, sweet Bourbon-influenced whiskey.

Jameson Gold Reserve (40% ABV, NAS (typically 10-21yrs), Cork, Ireland$84.99AUD)
One of the first Irish whiskies I actually liked when I tried it years and years ago (before I was "into" whisky) at the Old Middleton Distillery in Dublin. Aged in a mixture of virgin French oak, and ex Bourbon and Sherry casks.
Nose: Big, sweet vanilla hit, honey, cut grass, some blueberries.
Palate: Light, caramel, some oak notes. Orange and toffee too.
Finish: Shorter than the Select, longer than the original. Sweet with citrus hints.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100.

Green Spot Single Pot Still (40% ABV, NAS (typically 7-10yrs), Cork, Ireland$99.99AUD)
Aged mostly in second fill Bourbon barrels, with some aged in ex-Sherry barrels.
Nose: Rich, sweet, but "fuller" than the previous Jamesons. Some cinnamon.
Palate: Very different to the Jamesons! Big oak influence. Salmon fillet? Really? I kept going back and that's what I got (and no, I hadn't recently eaten salmon fillet!). Some honey too.
Finish: Short, oaky, and with those same inexplicable salmon notes!
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100. Not sure what was going with those Salmon notes..

Redbreast 12yo (40% ABV, 12yo, Cork, Ireland$99.99AUD#101drams
A single pot still whiskey, aged for 12 years.
Nose: Creamy, rich Christmas cake.
Palate: Light (noticing a trend here?) but slightly meaty, with Christmas pudding notes.
Finish: Short and meaty, but also rich and sweet.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Middleton Very Rare (40% ABV, NAS (typically 25yrs), Cork, Ireland$249.99AUD)
Limited to 5,000 bottles per year. $250/bottle, or free if anyone was willing to get a 'Sine Metu' tattoo on the night!
Nose: Very, very different this. Artichokes and mandarin. Some sulphur
Palate: Mouth filling, grainy, with some spice and cloves. None of the nose evident.
Finish: Short to medium, with strong notes of cloves.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100.

Jameson Rarest Vintage (46% ABV, NAS (typically 25yrs), Cork, Ireland$649.99AUD)
A blend of grain whiskey aged in Bourbon barrels, and pot still whiskey aged in port pipes.
Nose: Beautiful, rich, berries, sultanas, dates.
Palate: Bigger mouthfeel - this is more like it. Slightly spicy, but still with those berry notes.
Finish: Meaty, long, sherried.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. The highlight for sure and a great end to the night.

 - Martin.

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