Ultimate Beverage Challenge 93 points - Quite fragrant with rolled oats, dark raisin, tangerine and honeysuckle taking the stage. Deeper notes of light brown sugar and dark cherry. Rich and luscious on the tongue with honey, citrus and a subtle smokiness shining through to finish with notes of maraschino cherry and white pepper. (Apr 2014)
One whiff and you know you’re on to something different here. Aged largely in Bourbon barrels, this blended whiskey (from various casks 10 to 20 years old) gets a characteristic vanilla and wood tone from the addition of 10 percent of the whiskey aged in virgin oak casks. When blended it’s outstanding, and closer to a good Bourbon than any Irish whiskey.
Although Bushmills will claim to be the oldest Irish whiskey, there can be little doubt that Jameson is the most famous and widespread. Jameson today is distributed in 122 countries worldwide and accounts for the largest share of the global Irish whiskey market, which is estimated at over 22 million bottles per year.
Jameson became part of the new Irish Distillers triumvirate in 1966 when it joined forces with John Power & Son and the Cork Distillery Company. Bushmills joined Irish Distillers in 1972, giving the company a monopoly on the production of Irish whiskey which lasted until the founding of the Cooley distillery in the late 1980s. Today, Jameson is owned by the Pernod Ricard group which took over Irish Distillers in 1988. Bushmills was sold to Diageo in 2005.
Originally distilled at the famous Bow Street distillery in Dublin, since 1975 Jameson has been produced at Midleton, an enormous modern distillery in County Cork built by Irish Distillers to streamline the production of its many brands. This brought an end to nearly 200 years of Jameson production in Dublin, but the Old Jameson Distillery in Bow Street is now a visitor's centre. Tourists can also visit the Midleton distillery, which is home to many other brands beside Jameson, including Green Spot, Paddy, Power's, Redbreast and Tullamore Dew.