Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
You should know what Jameson is. Arguably the most recognizable Irish whiskey in the world. Originally known as Bow Street Distillery in 1780, John Jameson didn’t take full ownership until 1805. Currently the brand is located at the New Midleton Distillery.
Jameson is a global name; I doubt you can visit any country which serves alcohol and not find a bottle of Jameson on a shelf. What they distill is consistent, and I would argue an industry standard. The whiskey is versatile to a consumer’s preference: straight, ice, or cocktail.
In the US Jameson sold nearly 4.1 million 9 liter cases in 2021, and globally that number reached nearly ten million 9 liter cases. Outside of selective specialty releases Jameson has only a handful of products. Their standard blended Irish whiskey, their Caskmates beer barrel whiskies, and also Black Barrel.
Jameson explains of this bottling on their website that “double charring the wood fires up the barrels and gives them new life.”
At its core Jameson has always been Irish whiskey straight up. Jameson Black Barrel is not a specialty release, nor is it really an experiment. Black Barrel is a blend, but it’s comprised of a larger quantity of single pot still whiskey aged in re-charred bourbon barrels. They are using a “rare small batch grain whiskey” for the blending as well.
Personally, I’m a fan of Jameson. Will Black Barrel maintain the legacy of Jameson, or is this just a nifty experiment in the 200+ year history of the distillery? With that, we turn to the glass.
Tasting Notes: Jameson Black Barrel
Vital Stats: Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey, 80 proof. $37.99 MSRP
Appearance: Gold foil – quick evenly spaced legs
Nose: The classic Irish punch is heavily muted on first blush. I get clove, honey, spring grass, with a little bit of the copper metallic taste. The nose is very reminiscent of springtime, it’s floral, sweet, no burn of alcohol. The very end has hints of oak and wheat.
Taste: First touch of the tongue is tart but gives away immediately to honey and clove. We evolve into caramel, razzberries, brown sugar, and cobbler. It is just a lovely profile along the mouth. Extremely soft without being overly delicate, you get the profile and don’t need to cleanse your palate before sipping this. The finish is dessert like pie crust. It finishes too quick for my preference and leaves a soft touch of clover at the end.