Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Jameson Bow Street – matured in Dublin

When it comes to whisky or whiskey there are a few brands in the world that are the absolute pinnacle of fame. From Scotland we think of Johnnie Walker, in America we have Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam, and Ireland joins the fold with Jameson. For my birthday last year, my wife and I travelled to Dublin for a few days of fun, and of course we included some whiskey visits. We saw the Teeling Distillery, frequented some nice bars, and also stopped by the whiskey museum that is the Jameson Bow Street Distillery. This is were the distillery used to be, until it moved the entire operation to the Midleton Distillery, very much in the south of Ireland.

Admittedly, I am a little bit spoiled as an enthusiast, so when planning the visit to Jameson I tried to look for something satisfying. I picked the Bow Street Experience & Cask Draw. With this, you still get the standard tour, which is very basic but enjoyable if you are not deep into whiskey.

Then you get taken into a special section of Bow Street, where casks are indeed maturing. Here you get to taste a dram straight from the barrel. There are few things more delightful than an ice cold whiskey straight from the wood! I was very surprised by the exotic, fruity taste. Afterwards, my wife enjoyed the complimentary Ginger & Lime as well. We can very well recommend going there, even if it is very focused on tourism. Beware of a million Americans and Asians visiting, making for a nice culture class from all over the world.

So, it was here where I learned this particular whiskey is bottled in a special yearly edition. We are going to taste it today on this Something Special Saturday. I thought the RRP price for it was rather steep, but on auction this bottle flew under the radar and I got it 50 euro cheaper, and this is how it ended up in my cabinet. The packaging is very inspired. Check my Instagram for a little reel of it.

Jameson Bow Street Cask Strength, 18 years old, bottled at 55,3 % abv

Makeup: A blend of pot still and grain Irish whiskeys made at Midleton Distillery. After ageing for 18 years the fun begins, because the whiskeys are then married together and spend a final finishing period in first fill bourbon casks at Bow Street in Dublin. Bottled once per year, at cask strength. We tasted the very first batch that was ever released, in 2018 (15.000 bottles).

General impressions: Very spirit driven! Tropical fruit from the start, riding on a powerful vanilla woody wave. The finish is not just a gimmick. You really smell it. You can't escape the Irish character of the whiskey, I feel drawn to this typical pot still authenticity, with lots of wet corn too. You also find on the palate a broader than “just malt” impression, which makes Irish Whiskey a category all its own.

After adding a little water, you get more fruity notes. Light, Mediterranean and tropical fruit, like oranges, pineapple and grapefruit. It's lovely, inviting, and incredibly mellow. It always goes back to a delicious vanilla tone that binds the whole together. The finish is soft and refreshing.

Conclusion: If you want to delve a little deeper into what Irish whiskey has to offer, this bottle is recommended. It stays close to the traditional heritage of Jameson in being light and accessible, but it certainly brings enough complexity and a truckload of fruit to keep you attached.

Score: 89 points
Disclaimer: taken from a self-owned bottle.

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