This is part three of a three part series of articles that document this momentous launch; will talk through the Whiskey Makers Series and will detail the new Jameson whiskey range in full.
Part one was all about the ambition and the background to this rethink of the Jameson whiskey product line up. Part two explored some tales from the Jameson archive.
The Whiskey Maker Series: Distillers Safe, Coopers Croze, Blenders Dog
Going to say this up front; I’m mightily impressed with the Whiskey Makers Series. I think it delivers on something really special; Jameson whiskey expressions that show the personalities of the people involved in the production process.
As alluded to, this range is all about telling the stories of coopers, blenders and distillers through the liquid, all of the products have been created especially for the new range.
At the ‘meet the makers’ panel discussion I attended at the launch, Brian Nation told us that
“The three of us were challenged to come up with a whiskey that brought to life the part of the whiskey process that we each are in charge of; myself with the spirit, Ger with the wood and Billy with the blending.”
Brian Nation, one of my favourite people in whiskey, not least for his glasses but for his warm embrace whenever we meet, explained that his Distillers Safe was all about being distillate-driven with component parts being aged between four and seven years old. He was looking for a heavier pot distillate amped up with the fruity, citrus notes from the grain used.
“In my opinion, the Distillers Safe is where it all happens; without that there would be no whiskey”
[cue ‘oooohs’ from Billy and Ger]
As for the whiskey itself, on the nose I was getting a lot of fresh barley, husks maybe, new make definitely with a palate that is light, spicy and creamy with a spicy finish.
What a lovely man Ger is. We have met a couple of times now and he exudes passion and pride for not only what he does but for now having his name and fingerprint on a bottle.
I really cannot express how heartwarming it was to see this genuine pride and inner smile. Over dinner later he told me that the only thing that he could have wished for was for his father to be alive to see it.
Ger is a fifth generation cooper, and told us all about the croze, the only coopers tool you need that cannot be used for anything else.
He also told us how the distillate would not do a lot if it were not for the oak, I was loving the inner banter and ‘craic’ between the guys on stage, all in good jest, naturally.
The nose of this blend, made up of whiskies aged between twelve and sixteen years old, brought vanilla and toffee notes with a palate heavy on a smooth oaky and juicy fruit character underpinned by rich dark fruits with a slightly spicy finish.
Arguably the best name of the three, but an interesting whiskey too. Put together by the always-smiling and friend, Billy Leighton. He tells us how his creation takes three distillates and four cask types and a wider age range spanning five to twelve years old to form his masterpiece.
The nose is all about toasted charcoal, wood, tobacco and hints of floral notes with a palate that is super smooth, underpinned with black pepper and spans the full flavour spectrum; most impressive.
Billy takes a moment to explain that the whiskies are brought about by each other’s personalities, as he sees it:
- Brian & Distillers Safe are young and smooth.
- Ger & Coopers Croze have been around a while.
- Billy & Blenders Dog are suave, sophisticated, rounded and complex.
I think I see where he is going with this… in my view; they’re all great, and for different reasons.
The Deconstructed Series: Bold, Lively, Round
This range is all about taste and flavour; pulling apart Jameson into three key flavour characteristics and simplifying the language.
This range has been put together specifically for the education of consumers for both whiskey explorers and newbies to get something new from the range by using really obvious notes, names and terminologies to help them navigate the different products and understand Jameson Original more clearly.
Spicy, big whisky, with the characteristic rounded Jameson mouthfeel you’d expect. the palate comes alive with spice and fruit. Really nice, dare I say it, bold Irish whiskey.
Very light, eloquent, citrus notes come and go, would guess there is more grain influence here than malt, the occasional note of spice add interest. A little light for me but interesting in the context of the range and understanding.
As the name suggests; this is a very rounded whiskey, vanillas, fruits, oaky notes with paprika and cayenne wisps.
Black Barrel, named as such as casks were left outside seasoning to needed to be ‘made sweet again’ through double charring.
This is a blend of pot still whiskey, grain whiskey and small batch grain whiskey with both malted and unmalted barley.
Lots of tropical notes present on the nose, sweetness, malty and butterscotch with a hint of oak char. The palate is creamy smooth, spicy, tonnes of fruit, lively, peppery with a long finish. Lovely.
Same liquid as Crested Ten but without the Ten as part of the name. Ten has always been present on pack but the whiskey has not been ten years old for a while, averages around seven years old nowadays and has done for a while.
The whiskey itself is great, I have often thought this was a very underrated whiskey; the nose is all about unmalted barley, vanilla, orchard fruits including apple and dried fruits coming from the sherry cask influence. The palate is rich, smooth and thick with similar notes as the nose. Nice.
There you have it, the full revamped Jameson whiskey range. Have you managed to buy and try any yet?