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article imageOp-Ed: Whisky review #2: Jameson Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 20, 2014 in Food
Dublin - In the second of our series of whisky reviews we're going to look at Jameson Irish Whiskey, a beautifully smooth blended whisky.
One of the first things you'll notice about the review is the spelling of the word 'whisky', Scotch is always spelled 'whisky', and the Irish equivalent is always 'whiskey'. Around the world there are variations of the two spellings. My preference is 'whisky', but I'll use 'whiskey' when specifically referring to the drink in-hand.
OK, enough of the etymology (there's another debate about who invented whisky: the Scots or the Irish, which no one has satisfactorily resolved). The first thing about Jameson Irish Whiskey is that it is a blended whisky, unlike the Isle of Jura, reviewed last time on the Digital Journal, which is a single malt.
What is the difference between a single malt and a blended whisky and is one better than the other? A blended whisky is the product of blending different types of whiskeys and often also neutral and near-neutral spirits, coloring, and flavorings. It is generally the product of mixing one or more higher-quality straight or single malt whiskies with neutral spirits and water. A leading example of a blended whisky is Johnnie Walker. The definition of a single malt varies by country. In Scotland, a "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" must be made exclusively from malted barley, it must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and it must be aged for at least three years in oak casks.
As to whether a single malt is better, the answer is no. There are many excellent blended whiskies available. The perception probably stems from the fact that there are many cheaply produced and averaging tasting blends on the market and, at the high end, some expensive single malts. In the middle there are some good examples of each. And in the middle is Jameson's.
Jameson Irish Whisky has a long heritage, and it is oldest of the Irish whiskies. The company was established in 1780 when John Jameson established the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin. The main whisky produced is the Jameson Original, which is the type reviewed below. Some other 'specials' are also produced, such as the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve.
Jameson Special Reserve  Jameson Gold Reserve  Jameson Limited Reserve  & Jameson Rarest Vintage Res...
Jameson Special Reserve, Jameson Gold Reserve, Jameson Limited Reserve, & Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve
Jameson Irish whiskey is produced from a mixture of malted and unmalted or "green" Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty mile radius around the distillery in Cork. The barley is dried in a closed kiln fired by natural gas (formerly anthracite coal).
Historical whiskey pot still at the Midleton distillery complex of Jameson in Cork
Historical whiskey pot still at the Midleton distillery complex of Jameson in Cork
Stephan Schulz
In whisky review #1 we discussed how to smell and taste a whisky (see here for tasting notes). Putting Jameson's through the criteria gives:
Colour: Rich, deep amber
Nose: Mellow pot still whiskey with toasted wood and sherry undertones
Taste: Smooth and sweet with woody and nutty tones
Finish: Incredibly smooth
A highly enjoyable and affordable whiskey, very smooth and easygoing. A good everyday bottle.
In terms of cost, the whisky retails for around $33 (U.S.) or £20 (U.K.).
My rating is 6/10. This might seem a little low, and this isn't to take away that Jameson's is a smooth, easy drinking whisky. However, it lacks the complexity of some other brands. Nonetheless, it is an excellent whisky for mixing.
Jameson Irish Whiskey is suitable for making whisky cocktails, some examples are: Jameson, ginger and lime and a Jameson Whisky Sour. With the whisky sour, try this recipe:
Fill a shaker with ice.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Pour Jameson's Irish Whisky, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white into the shaker.
Using a jigger, measure 50ml of Jameson's, 17.5ml sugar syrup and 25ml lemon juice into the shaker. Add an egg white.
Shake until cold.
Shake the mixture vigorously until the surface of the cocktail shaker feels chilled.
Strain into a glass filled with ice.
Using a cocktail strainer, strain into a short glass over ice cubes.
Garnish with a lemon wedge.
With a chopping board, cut a slice of lemon with a sharp knife and place on top of the drink to garnish.
Then sit back, sip and enjoy. With that, this concludes the second of the Digital Journal's whisky reviews.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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