Monday 2 March 2015

St Paddy's Day at CCWC - Jameson Masterclass

It's been awhile since my last post, the Christmas / New Year holiday and work having taken over. Nevertheless, a few exciting posts coming up and also some reflection from my recent travel (more on that soon).

Continuing from the last Jameson tasting at CCWC (Campbell Corner Whiskey Co-Operative) at The Wild Rover in May last year and also ahead of the St Pat's day celebration, it would be fitting to re-visit the iconic Irish whiskey that is Jameson with Pernod Ricard's Jameson Brand Ambassador Lexie O'Toole at The Wild Rover.

This being my first Jameson masterclass and having had limited encounters with Irish whiskies in the past,  I did look forward to the tasting. This iconic Irish whiskey, founded by John Jameson (a Scottish lad) in 1780 at the Middleton distillery differentiates itself from American and Scotch whiskies through its use of both malted and unmalted barley and through its triple-distilled production process. The result, a remarkably pleasant, creamy and spice laden (as derived from the unmalted barley) whiskey -- as presented through the six Jameson whiskies on the night:
  • Jameson Select Reserve (Small Batch)
  • Jameson Gold Reserve
  • Powers Gold Label
  • Redbreast 12yo Single Pot STill
  • Green Spot Single Pot Still
  • Jameson 18YO
So here we go...

Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch (40% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland, $69.99AUD)
A mixture between the Irish pot still and a small batch of grain, deducing a sweet, rich expression from the distillation
Colour: Light copper
Nose: Smooth, sweet date and vanilla notes.
Palate: Light, spices, vanilla, nutty and where did that dark orange chocolate come from. Did I mention oily also
Finish: Medium, sweet and gentle spices
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. It's smooth, creamy and sweet -- reminds me of a bourbon.

Powers Gold Label (43% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland$79.99AUD)

Just released late last year, this whiskey is notably sitted between the Select and Gold reserve
Colour: Rich and golden copper
Nose: Sweet date, honey, vanilla, tobacco?
Palate: Loads of spices, heavy on the caramel
Finish: Long prolonged spices
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100

Jameson Gold Reserve (40% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland$84.99AUD)
They say this whiskey receives its sweetness from the wood, American Oak and its mixture of different potstills
Colour: Dark copper
Nose: honey and vanilla notes 
Palate: Sweet vanilla, cinnamon, iodine (where did this come from)
Finish: Longer than the Select Reserve and sweet lingering finish.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100 (the same as what Martin scored) 

Redbreast 12yo (40% ABV, 12yo, Cork, Ireland$99.99AUD)
A traditional style single pot still whiskey, aged for 12 years and heavily influenced by the sherry cask

Colour: Light, golden, did someone say red hue?
Nose: honey and vanilla notes (seems to be a common denominator)
Palate: Light, raisin, hint of sherry, dried fruits (apricot?)
Finish: Short and sweet.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Green Spot Single Pot Still (40% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland$99.99AUD)
Aged mostly in second fill Bourbon barrels, with some aged in ex-Sherry barrels.
Colour: Light copper
Nose: Clove, cinnamon
Palate: Apple, cinnamon (now that's a combination), sweet date
Finish: Short with a sweet date finish
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100 (never got those salmon notes)

Jameson 18 YO (40% ABV, NAS, Cork, Ireland$135AUD)
Distilled a couple of times before being sent away in Oloroso casks
Colour: Golden
Nose: Honey, vanilla, orange
Palate: Dried fruit, sweet date, spices, iodine, hint of sherry
Finish: Medium and sweet
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100

Well, what can I say, my first Jameson masterclass and it was rather enjoyable. The tasting notes tend to be quite consistent between expressions though I did love the Select reserve slightly more than the other expressions. I wasn't sure if all the hints of iodine were from the naturally salty oloroso sherry, the sherry style casks used to mature many of the expressions.

The masterclass was fun and enjoyable and with Lexie, having spent some time in Belgium as an ambassador, also shared few interesting insights between these Irish whiskey expressions and the more classic trappist ;)

Whatever you do, wherever you are, Happy St. Paddy's Day!!


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