Scrim and I like whiskey. Scottish or Irish, no matter. We have also tried the Japanese offerings, but have stopped short of tipples from places like Cyprus or Madagascar. We’re certain the offerings are tasty, but it is much like looking for real Southern Fried Chicken in Taiwan or Egypt: If you find it, it won’t hit the mark.
Jameson’s has been distilling whiskey since shortly after the earth cooled and matures the product for a minimum of three years plus a day to be called Irish Whiskey. There are literally thousands of stories about the golden nectar, both Scottish and Irish and we won’t be retelling them here. Suffice to say Jameson’s is the purveyor of a lot of Irish Whiskey.
The Jameson’s distillery in Dublin is not an actual working distillery any more. Being in the city, land is expensive and to age Irish Whiskey you need a lot of land for the warehousing and aging of the product. However, the tour is in the former location, where a reasonable percentage of the original works are preserved and presented to the visitors.
There is a tour, telling the story of the company. Scrim got to sit in the recreation of Jameson’s office as part of the tour. There is also a tasting of various kinds of Jameson’s products led by someone who has at least memorized the spiel. Yes, you are presented with a flight of column still and pot still products, but the quantity for a tasting is never much more than a tablespoon or so of each.
You would have to take fifteen tours in a row to get shit-faced and frankly, getting shit-faced isn’t the objective. The objective is to appreciate the history and savor some of the product, nothing the differences between them and developing an appreciation for the art of the distiller. We did.
Tasting notes from the tour? Jeez but they make good hooch! The slightly longer tasting notes comes back to how the original liquor is made, before it hits the barrel. A column still is very much a continuous process of distilling the mash to create the first strike. This is almost exactly how vodka is made, as the objective is quantity of production. Pot stills are batch processes, in that the still is loaded with mash then heated and run until all the mash is boiled off, less the lees that always remain. Clean the pot, load it up, do it again.
There is a difference in the product that you can really only discover tasting different types back to back. The pot still product, after aging is a more complex flavour to my mouth. Jameson’s has kept one of their original pot stills around on display in the courtyard, so you can see the scale of the thing.
Which is better? It depends on your taste and what you like. Any of the Jameson’s products are eminently drinkable.