Jameson Caskmates – €38.99
Created by the Midleton Distillery in collaboration with micro-brewer, Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork, Jameson Caskmates is the product of curiosity, collaboration and innovation.
After meeting in a Cork bar in 2013, The Jameson Masters agreed to loan some Jameson casks to the brewery to discover their influence on Irish stout. When the stout-seasoned barrels were returned to the Midleton Distillery, Dave Quinn (Midleton Master of Whiskey Science) re-filled them with Jameson Irish whiskey to see what would happen… The result is a brand new Jameson expression that retains the triple-distilled smoothness of Jameson Original, while adopting additional notes of coffee, cocoa, butterscotch and gentle hints of hops.
Spun sugar sweetness is first on the nose, darkening with time and taking on richer, sticky molasses note. There is cream soda and wave upon wave of vanilla ice cream.
Apples are green and fresh, soft, grainy pears and some fresh peaches and just a hint of pineapple to be found. There are gentle spices, some light pepper, a dash of nutmeg, which adds to the creamy dessert style. Before this becomes too sweet there is an uplifting hint of lime juice and a touch of mint. This doesn’t stay fresh for too long as soon cocoa butter appears bringing with it just a hint of rich, fruity hops.
Surprisingly fruity on the palate, the hops really make themselves known, there are big hits of fresh coffee beans and grinds and overcooked toast, with a slight metallic taste which, without doubt, reveals the stout influence. There are slight hints of redcurrants and raspberries but these are fleeting.
There is toasted oak and fresh polished mahogany and rich walnut shells. Leather caresses the palate, before the cocoa from the nose makes an appearance, it becomes sweeter, with the initial apple and peaches on the nose, changing into baked apples with peach cobbler, the hops combining with the more traditional Jameson flavour and transforming into something richer, with rolled oats and toasted barley.
There is still just a touch of the lime zest but this is far more present as a light hoppiness. As this abates there is a rich caramel note which rolls over the tongue and a homemade school custard note. If you ever tasted Birds Custard powered before adding the milk you will know exactly what I mean.
Long and ever present, to say this is a mouth coating whiskey really isn’t doing it justice, this still evolves and is present a good 30 minutes after tasting. Notes of butterscotch sauce and warm pancakes, fight against deeper, bitter notes of stout and oak. The fruity hops keep making an appearance and are happy to fizz away on the front of your tongue.
I have to be honest, I was very unsure just what this whiskey would be like, was the collaboration just another gimmick or would it really work? Well, it worked, really worked, you can taste the influence of the stout, it’s there with rich, bitter coffee notes, it’s there with a slight metallic tang and it’s there with crisp fruity hops.
Does this mean all trace of Jameson Original has been removed? No far from it, in fact, once you peel away the layers of bitterness, it’s Jameson but sweeter, somehow even smoother and creamier. There is an added level of sweetness and a greater depth. It’s sweet, rich, it’s tangible. It’s like drinking a dessert. The stout influence keeps this in check and stops this from becoming too rich or too sweet. Give this one a try and see what you think. I was pleasantly surprised. More please.
Fresh lemon on a sea breeze, cut grass blowing in the wind, wood shavings and orange peel mixed together.
The lemon from the nose is there along with some milk chocolate, just a hint but enough to know it’s there. The freshness is also still there in abundance which conjures up a picture of summer meadow with apples, and orange trees. A slight hint of spice near the end which is quite welcome after the freshness.
Medium finish, the spice hangs around but doesn’t overstay its welcome.
A decent enough dram, nothing too complex, very easy drinking and a perfect session dram for a summer’s day. Nothing too outrageous, not a must have dram but one you should seek out for yourself and make your own mind up on. .
With thanks to Jameson for both their time and the sample.