What an honour, and I mean that, to be invited to spend three days with the fine people behind the Jameson Irish whiskey brand in Dublin, their spiritual home for St. Patrick’s Day 2016, and definitely one I could not turn down.
I never ask too many questions ahead of a press trip, or a normal holiday, something that has had mixed reactions over the years. The reason? I like to be surprised, to enjoy what has been planned meticulously by the people behind the experience and to not set expectations as to what will happen.
This trip was exactly the same.
So much happened on this trip that I cannot capture everything but you will see Jameson-based content on the site over the next few months on the back of it. I’m going to whizz you through what we got up to and have included a tonne of pictures to show you too. Bear with me, this is an epic post…
I arrived in Dublin to be greeted by a driver who picked myself, fellow whiskey blogger and friend Tom Thomson and a new friend Coralie, whose London food and drink blog is something you should definitely check out.
We were handed lanyards with our names on, an itinerary card and headed to the hotel for a swift 312 second change of clothes ahead of a many-course dinner billed as ‘showcasing the best of Irish food past, present and future’. It was sublime.
Such is the way with whiskey that you always leave one of these trips with more friends than you left with; whiskey is so conversant and conducive to discussion and opening up about thoughts and feelings about what you have experienced and are experiencing that friendships nurture swiftly and last a good long time after.
Dinner was spectacular with exploratory food that pushed boundaries and, in many cases, felt like random ingredients until you tried them together and felt their collective flavour profiles working in your mouth to create something special.
See the vast array of pictures below to get a sense of the meal, words would not do it justice.
We then headed to the Liquor Rooms for some luscious cocktails, my favourite being the Potent Potable which tasted like you were drinking a boozy Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
After one or two and a whiskey cheers with the Jameson team it was back to the hotel for a nightcap, Jameson Rare Cask, then to bed for a much needed resetting ahead of an action packed second day.
Day Two – Dublin Immersion
After a ridiculously early wake up, my own fault, I had a leisurely breakfast and then headed off with the full group, including Kirsty of Whisky Corner, Tom, Coralie et al, to an underground cask building demonstration from Jameson / Midleton head cooper, with a spicy Jameson and fresh ginger, naturally.
After a lot of banging, rolling, cask breaking and rebuilding we left in awe to wander around the Dublin Writers’ Museum, a really fascinating place tracking the evolution of the Irish word with some insanely intriguing artefacts.
Our day continued with a walking tour of Dublin lead by James Earley, the chap who designed the 2016 limited edition Jameson bottle. He told us all about his influences, his background in street art and answered lots of questions… but you will find out more about him soon when I write up GreatDrams’ exclusive interview with James from the trip.
After a sit down for lunch it was on to our final activity of the day, an Irish cocktail making masterclass.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this; I was even asked to come up and make one in front of all in attendance, including whiskey legend Billy Leighton, the Jameson Master Blender.
Don’t worry, I nailed it.
This took place in the basement of a fake butcher shop that has been kitted out to only welcome trade and press visitors… see the pics for how cool it was inside.
That evening we went to Mulligan’s Grocer for a scrumptious dinner with obligatory Jameson and cheese pairing then on to the Bow Street Sessions, presented by Jameson to see Kodaline from a VIP balcony which was simply awesome (although I only heard of them that morning – I’m not really down with the kids in the music respect).
The evening again ended with a nightcap at the hotel, obviously.
Day Three – St. Patrick’s Day
Dublin. For St. Patrick’s Day!? WOO HOO !
Managed to get a swift Guinness in just to be able to say I had had one in Dublin on their national day before we departed to the Old Jameson Distillery for an incredible celebration of the brand, the day, the city and us.
Tom and I beelined for the day’s resident Beard Barber who reshaped and balmed both our beards, such indulgence.
A couple of Jameson, lime and ginger’s later and we were making our own leather wash bags (well, the plate that bears our initials that was then attached to the side, the bag was pre-made), enjoyed live bands, pulled pork sandwiches and had our own Jameson jumpers printed with the design from this year’s bottle.
Then another whiskey, obviously.
This post does not do the few days justice at all but should give you a flavour. Check out the pics below, my Instagram and Facebook for more.
Finally, I just want to thank Jameson for putting on such a slick multi-day event and for inviting me, I genuinely am humbled to be included and all of you were so helpful and friendly I could not have wished for a better trip. #BeOriginal.