Class: Irish Blended Whiskey
Reviewer: Andrew Owen
Finally forced to innovate and experiment a bit due to the whiskey resurgence that is ongoing in the Emerald Isle, Midleton has started releasing new variations of its most well known label, Jameson. (For more information on Midleton, the Irish whiskey scene, and types of Irish whiskey, click here). The concept behind Jameson Caskmates is simple: Take standard Jameson whiskey and give it some extra time in ex-stout beer barrels. The distillery advertises that this amps up the traditional Jameson profile with notes of cocoa, coffee, and you know, other flavors you find in a nice stout. Keep in mind that beer is hardly ever aged in *new* oak barrels, so what we likely have here is an ex-bourbon barrel that was filled with stout, and is now being filled with Jameson. Let's see how the experiment grades out.
- Blend of Irish Single Pot Still (both malted + unmalted barley) and blended grain whiskey produced at the Midleton distillery
- Aged for an undisclosed about of time (5-7 years, allegedly. 3 is the legal minimum) in ex-bourbon barrels, then aged for an additional undisclosed amount of time in ex-stout casks.
- Bottled at 40% ABV.
- Chill filtered.
- Note that my bottle was one of the first releases from 2015.
Nose: Light floral notes and light honey. Acetone and grain alcohol give the impression of new make spirit. Something unpleasant, reminiscent of hot rubber. Some dry cocoa develops as it sits. Overall its not too appealing due to the acetone and rubber notes.
Palate: Rough and unrefined, leading to the impression that this is quite young and/or aged in overused, worn out casks. More of the rubber from the nose. Some honey and unsweetened cream sneak through mid palate. Heavy, oily, thick mouthfeel.
Finish: Finally something truly enjoyable about this dram! Chocolate cream and toffee. If only these notes were present earlier on! Lingers for only a short time.
Buying Recommendation: Run away! Yes, run away, back to the standard Jameson if you are really needing some affordable Irish whiskey. The stout casks did this whiskey no favors, except for adding some nice mocha notes to the finish. There are few whiskeys that I haven't at least finished the glass of, but unfortunately this is one of them. Spend your $30 elsewhere. Maybe on some Teeling Small Batch?
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
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