G’day guys. We’re here today with a bottle of whiskey, my favourite kind of whiskey – Irish. Like my good self (if this is also half Deutsche).
Jameson is a rich healthy vein of Irish whiskey, with a plethora of bottles available in the range. From their humble, pub-hero triple-distilled bottle right through to their top-shelf range of small batch whiskeys of great attention to detail and refinement, The Cooper’s Cruze, The Blender’s Dog, The Distiller’s Safe. The Castmates range of Jameson started, as an idea in experimentation in using barrels used by beer makers. The barrels, originally coopered in commission by Jameson, for aging of whiskey. The barrels then purchased by beer brewers for their imparted flavor properties. And then repurchased by the whiskey label back from the beer labels, for the same reason originally purchased. To impart the flavors attained by these seasoned barrels upon the whiskey. The result was a success in both taste and sales and expanded into two separate editions, bottles aged in barrels used for stout and Indian pale ale. And we find ourselves here, presented with the stout edition of the Caskmates range.
Jameson whiskey is one of the best in the business, a regular favourite of mine. Good old smooth as silk Irish whiskey. Mild and mellow, on ice, or in a tall glass of water with plenty of ice. A nice icy glass of liquid relaxation from the old country, I’m sure this feeling is shared by many around the world. Authentically Irish you would say. The whiskey itself, so it came to be. But the hands that spawned it, were originally by a Scott. The founder of the label, John Jameson was a Scottish lawyer from the region of Clackmannanshire who came to be in possession of the to-be famous Bow Street distillery in the year of eighteen-ten. Which coincidentally was built by Jameson’s wife’s cousin, the Steins, brother of the Haigs whom originally owned the facility, in seventeen-eighty. By dint of his marriage to his wife, Margaret Haig, he moved to Dublin where the distillery lay. The Scotsman, by possession of this now Irish historical distillery by matter of marriage, found himself in this position of power, with which his name would go down in history. To this day, the bottles come bearing the date seventeen-eighty, the year whiskey was first drawn from the stills of the plant, the whiskey that would come to be Jameson. Although sadly, as the course of history went, the entirety of the distilleries in the town of Dublin at one stage were extinguished as a result of the financial crisis of the Nineteen-seventies. With the welcome exception of Teeling, that other all-important Irish whiskey, to this day none have reclaimed a foothold in the capital town. But in this day and age, they still operate out of one of their oldest original distilleries in the famous town of Cork, where the famous Irish sailors once sailed from. I think we all know the song about the ship with a cargo of bricks for the grand city hall of New York. But the label proceed onward, amidst all the obstacles presented to it. With the obvious ones of course the American prohibition era, that cut off a great percentage of their export market. But like some other markets, unsurprisingly including the Irish as it’s is the background from which moonshining was originally born in, Irish whiskey still found it’s way into the United States. By way of smuggling, mostly by passage south from Canada. And the second World War that saw many patrons and employees step upward from the bar and walk out from the pub and into the engine rooms of the war efforts, like the rest of the allied powers to fight the Nazi regime. But one that only the Irish had to endure, was the denial of export by the British commonwealth of it’s territories, as result of the turmoil and conflict brought about by the Irish war of independence.
The bottle itself is unchanged in shape or color from the standard bottle of Jameson, that same faithful old green bottle that brings with it memories of all those moments of calm and comfort (and one or two painful moments the morning after). Though in this case, in contrast to the other bottle in the Caskmates range, the Indian pale ale seasoned bottle. The label it bears is a bold and seductive black by contrast. Standing out aside the others with it’s handsome new look. Perhaps expressing out towards buyers the deeper, darker flavors imparted upon it by the barrels within fermenting stout was brewed. The green of the glass impedes observation of the color of the distillate within, normally a typical golden brown whiskey, born of barley, malted and non. The nose is thick and welcoming upon opening. In short, it is as expected, the traditional nose of Irish whiskey mixed with the nose of stout. A foreground of hops into the normal mix. Just like the waft hanging in the air at the pub that welcomes the patron who walks in the door. A musty damp scent of beer, whiskey, oak. On ice, it lightens to an icy chill. The taste is inviting. A deep and dry taste in the back of the tongue of hops. The stout comes to play with the tastes of Jameson. A craggy entrance of sweetness and easing to normal.
In summary: A welcome successful experimentation in the creation of whiskey that needs no explaining. An enjoyable and leisurely tipple, that should be enjoyed. Cheers.