Jameson 18yo Limited Reserve

Onwards with my reviews of 18 year old whisky and this time it is a short jump from Scotland to Ireland for my thoughts on the Jameson 18yo Limited Reserve. This whiskey is for at least 18 years in hand selected American bourbon barrels and European oak casks, and are finished in first fill bourbon barrels.

Jameson_18_Irish Whiskey_The Smoky DramWhiskey: Jameson 18yo, 43% ABV (Cost around R1300)

Region: Ireland

Style: Single Malt

Age: 18 years

The story of Jameson’s whiskey started on the 5th of October 1740 when John Jameson was born to a family whose motto, ‘Sine Metu’ (‘Without Fear’), was awarded to them for their bravery in battling pirates on the high seas in the 1500’s.

When John Jameson acquired the Bow Street Distillery in 1780 it was producing about 30,000 gallons annually. By the turn of the 19th century, it was the second largest producer in Ireland and one of the largest in the world, producing 1,000,000 gallons annually. Dublin at the time was the centre of world whiskey production. It was the second most popular spirit in the world after rum and internationally Jameson had by 1805 become the world’s number one whiskey. Today, Jameson is the world’s third largest single-distillery whiskey.

Originally one of the six main Dublin Whiskeys, Jameson is now distilled in Cork. In 2013, annual sales topped 4 million cases (48 million bottles).

Colour: Deep gold (old to burnished) with many thick, long and slow legs.

Nose: Black currant fruit pastilles, fruity – dark berries with more sweetness in the form of toffee, milk tart and toasted marshmallows. More tempered sweetness in some sweet and spicy wood with sweet spiciness (nutmeg) coming through as well. An absolutely beautiful and fragrant nose.

Palate: Spicy fruity burst on tip of tongue followed by grape and black currant fruit pastilles and rounding out with some nuttiness. Some of that toffee and spiciness still around. Complex with a very smooth and mellow mouth feel that has a sweet lining of black currant.

Finish: Fairly long with the spiciness and toffee sweetness that carries you to the spicy warm end. A fantastic finish, it is incredible going down.

Overall: A very well rounded and fairly complex whiskey that is exceptionally smooth with a beautiful fragrant nose and palate that delivers lovely sweet spiciness and dark berry flavours.

My Score: 82

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Redbreast 15yo

For my first Irish whiskey review I decided on one of my favourite Irish whiskey’s, the Redbreast 15 year old from New Midleton Distillery. It was matured in a combination of Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and American Bourbon whisky barrels. The whiskey was bottled at 46% ABV and was non chill filtered. In 2006 it was chosen by Jim Murray as the Whisky Bible ‘Irish Whiskey of the Year’. 

Redbreast_15_The Smoky DramWhiskey: Redbreast 15, 46% ABV (Cost around R790)

Region: Ireland

Style: Single Malt

Age: 15 Years

The Redbreast 15 year old is a pot still Irish whiskey. So what exactly is a pot still whiskey? According to the Single Pot Still website, it is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland (in general) and it is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey. It is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still.

The first official reference to the brand name ‘Redbreast’ appears in August 1912, when Gilbey’s were selling “Redbreast” J.J. Liqueur Whiskey 12 Years Old. The name ‘Redbreast’ itself refers to the bird, Robin Redbreast, and is attributed to the then Chairman of Gilbey’s, who was an avid bird-fancier. In December 1991, Redbreast was re-introduced by Irish Distillers Limited, after an absence of almost 10 years. In 2005 Redbreast 15 is released.

Colour: Deep gold to burnished with long medium legs.

Nose: Wonderfully complex, full and rich nose with a striking oiliness. Sweet wood notes and teasing nuttiness. Delightful sweetness to it, mostly in the form of mixed berries, black currant (fruit pastilles) and icing sugar. Also get some spicy hints on the nose.

Palate: Full bodied and very nicely balanced, while also being rich with lots of full flavour. Very pleasant full mouth feel, oily and mouth coating, luxurious. Nice sweet spicy burn on tip of tongue (and back of mouth). The fruitiness I find coming through is tangerines, oranges and gooseberries. The spiciness is a hot and spicy woodiness while still being a sweet.

Finish: Long and very spicy with enjoyable warmth at end. The spice stays on the tip of tongue for the whole ride. Also get a lovely sweetness in the finish, mostly burnt sugar and custard.

Overall: A pleasingly full, rich and balanced whiskey with an interesting sweet and spicy flavour profile that still has a juicy fruitiness to it. A lovely introduction into the world of Irish whiskey.

My Score: 85