Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Week of Drinks Kicks Off with Jameson Black Barrel

I've been spending a lot of time on whiskey minutiae, controversy, legal issues and such so I thought I would take a week and just drink. This week will be all reviews from a variety of whiskeys. We'll start in Ireland

Here's another newish Irish offering. This new Jameson expression was released last year; it is a 12 year old blended whiskey. Why they call it "black barrel" I can't tell you, but per the Jameson website, it has a higher percentage of single pot still whiskey and is composed of whiskey aged in bourbon and sherry casks. Jameson whiskeys are made at the Midleton Distillery.

Jameson Black Barrel, 12 years old, 40% abv ($38)

The nose on this is very nice, rich and malty with some fruit in the background; it's very crisp and clean. I likely would have guessed a single malt based on the nose alone. The palate reveals its blended heritage with some spicy grain notes that play along well with the maltiness, though there is a diluted quality to it. The finish is just a whisper of sweet, fruity malt on the tongue.

This is a well done whiskey and leagues above the standard Jameson. I like the flavors, but this is one where I really wish they had upped the abv. In a whiskey with delicate flavors like this, a high abv can make the difference between something good and something outstanding. In its diluted state, it hints at the great whiskey it could be but just doesn't get all the way there.


Tim Read said...

Have you had standard Jameson recently? Reviews I've seen seemed downright charitable; I found it getting dangerously close to undrinkable. As I said elsewhere today, I'm on a nice pause from Irish stuff for a while but this is an interesting idea...

sku said...

Truth be told, it's been years since I've sipped on the standard Jameson. I never loved it but certainly never found it objectionable. A straight "C".