The folks at Jameson Irish Whiskey have really been into the whole collaboration with craft breweries of late. Earlier this year, for example, it was unveiled the brand had partnered with five brewers to let them create special beers aged in Irish whiskey barrels. Prior to this, a trial release of something called Caskmates in Ireland focused on the reverse of this – a whiskey finished in stout-seasoned barrels. It was a very limited edition, said to have quickly sold out there.
Fast forward to now and, among rumors a second batch of Caskmates might be released, such an event has just unfolded. As with the first go around, this special expression is the result of a partnership between Jameson and Irish brewery Franciscan Well. According to press materials from Jameson,
born in 2013 over drinks at a local neighborhood pub in County Cork, Ireland, Caskmates was created by two longtime friends, Dave Quinn, Master of Whiskey Science at Jameson Distillery and Shane Long, Head Brewer at local Irish micro-brewery Franciscan Well.
Following Dave and Shane hatching the idea of Caskmates, Jameson shared its proprietary oak whiskey barrels from the Midleton Distillery with Franciscan Well, who created a unique Irish stout aged in Jameson barrels. They were excited to see what impact the Jameson whiskey barrels would have on Franciscan Well’s fine Irish stout beer – and they were equally impressed with the results.
However, their curiosity didn’t end there. Returning the gesture, the now stout-seasoned barrels were sent back to the distillery to be refilled with Jameson Original. As a result of its time spent in the stout-seasoned barrels, Jameson Caskmates has the triple-distilled smoothness of Jameson, but now with new added notes of coffee, cocoa, and hops.
Jameson Caskmates, bottled at 40% ABV, is now on sale through a range of online liquor stores for a price of around $30 USD. I’ve included official tasting notes below for your consideration. Should you pick up a bottle, by the way, it is suggested by Jameson that this whiskey is “best enjoyed neat or on the rocks in order to truly appreciate the new, fresh flavors that the stout-finishing brings.”
Nose: The initial aroma of freshly mown Hay is complimented by a crisp Orchard Fruit character, Green Apples and Pears along with a twist of Lime Zest. Mild Pot Still Spices appear, deepening from Green Tea to Hazel Nut and Milk Chocolate. The lingering Hop influence combines effortlessly with Toasted Oak and Barley Grains to form a solid base.
Taste: As expected, there is the initial sweet mouth coating typical of the Irish Pot Still Whiskey inclusion. Then the effect of the Beer Cask finish becomes apparent with the subtle touch of Hops and Cocoa Beans. Some Marzipan and Charred Oak add to the complexity.
Finish: Long and sweet with Milk Chocolate and Butterscotch