With Christmas and the New Year nearing by, I certainly didn’t want to pen a review on the usual Scotch or Bourbon. And it was then that I had realised something rather dumbfounded and to be quite honest …stupid! I kept telling myself how could I be so daft that I happened to overlook one of the most historically significant states that contributed (leaps and bounds) to the evolution of whiskey; and to which some historians till date still regard this to be its birthplace. Yup…T’is the Irish I speaketh off!
*And picking up from the previous paragraph, chances are by now you either have pictured the Green Jameson Bottle or a rather mischievous Leprechaun who’s up to no darn good!*
Jameson’s Irish whiskey is by far the most widely sold Irish whiskey in the world. And believe it or not, was started by John Jameson, a Scottish businessman who married into a family of distillers, only later to manage one and create a blend that would be known the world over.
Although the brand did have its moments where it enjoyed perennial success for a while, the Trade War with Britain and the period of Prohibition in the US caused a severe dent in sales. Things turned much worse with the introduction of the less labor intensive Column stills at a time when most Irish distilleries continued to manufacture their whiskies in the more traditional Pot Stills. But as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’ and fortunately it did! Alas, Jameson did weather the storm and also managed to crawl its way back into being the best-selling Irish tipple globally.
The Original might be their entry level whiskey and though it lacks the acclaim its siblings like the Rarest Reserve and the 18 year old representation hold, it still does sell like hot cakes in several parts of the world! The Original is triple distilled, like most Irish whiskies, and made from a blend of Pot Still (malted barley) and grain ‘column still’ whiskies (barley + maize). These distillates are aged in a combination of seasoned American and Sherry barrels for a minimum of four years post which they are married together and then bottled up for sale.
The distillery takes great pride in its workforce and the fact that they manage all the stages from grass to grain, ensuring only the best is harvested and consumed for production. Which explains why some of their bottles (mostly those available locally I assume) come with the mini illustration of two workmen on either side of the ‘Product of Ireland’ tag!
ABV : 40%, 80 Proof
Eye: Yellow Gold
Nose: Sweet honey vanilla and toasted wood with minute shavings of nutmeg and white pepper. Additionally in the midst of all this, you still get that cereal wheat-like feel coming from the grain followed by floral tones, a bit of sherry and a hint of milk chocolate which advances every time you take a whiff of the sides of the glass.
Taste: Fresh, crisp and light with virtually no burn at all. The Original is sweet and grainy, with honey, vanilla and a tad bit of cherry cheese cake coming through. The Oak wood does make a presence immediately while the feel of spices continues to play on the palate.
Finish: Peppery and sherry like, with a warm tapering finish.
The Original is an above average whiskey that might not grab the attention of those peaty malty maniacs but works best when partaken occasionally. It’s light, smooth and refreshing characteristics make it a more than ideal choice for whisky amateurs, men and women alike. And though not a fantastic dram, it surely can be a good one to score on those days when you feel heavy and beat. Owning to its simple, unidirectional and yet pleasing flavor profile this fella could also do justice to a few too many cocktails if not served neat or as a highball.
Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!
And as the Irish say, “May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.”