Hello there Pandas! We’re going for a slightly more expensive older bottle today from Jameson- one of my personal favourite brands Lady Gaga’s favourite brand of whiskey.
This expression from Jameson is rich, BIG on flavour, wonderfully effortless to drink and yet still has some impressive depth and complexity. I am by no means exaggerating that this is one of the most enjoyable Irish whiskies I have tried.
Jameson is part of Pernod Ricard’s Irish whiskey family, and the Jameson brand is pretty much synonymous with Irish whiskeys abroad. To find out more about how Jameson is created, check out this in-depth write-up on how the Jameson label gets its flavour profile at the Midleton Distillery.
The bottle we have today is a full step-up from the usual non-age statement (NAS) Jameson. For comparison’s sake, this is about five times more expensive than a NAS Jameson.
The liquid is a dark amber colour and the bottle is squat with ridges on the sides of the bottle that makes it feel a little more special.
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery
Distributor: Original Bottling (OB)
Classification: Irish Whiskey
Style: Blended Irish Whiskey
Cask: Ex-Bourbon, Ex-Sherry, Finishing in First-Fill Bourbon
Age: 18 Year Old
Behind the Label
Just like all other Jamesons (which are ex-bourbon / ex-sherry- matured), the Jameson 18 Years is matured for 18 years in ex-bourbon casks and ex-sherry casks. On top of that, the whiskey is married for an additional 6 months in American first-fill bourbon casks for additional complexity.
This Jameson is also stated to be a blend of 3 distillates from Midleton Distillery. This detailed article of Midleton Distillery here covers how Midleton Distillery produces 3 styles of distillates: (1) single malt Irish whiskey, (2) single pot still whiskey, (3) grain whiskey. This is most probably a combination of all these 3 distillates.
Jameson 18 is also an exploration of what age does to their signature blend. With a longer duration of maturation, the bottle stats are ceteris paribus in comparison to a Jameson NAS. Looking at the stats of the Jameson 18, it is almost a Jameson NAS that had been aged for 18 years with all other stats kept the same. The casks used are more or less the same. The ABV is also maintained at 40%.
Read on to find out what age does to a Jameson.
In the glass, this Jameson is a dark amber colour.
On the nose, deep and intense with richness of dark fruits and trailing estery brightness. Initial aromas are full-on rich blend of tropical and dark fruits. There is deep aroma of raisins and hawthorn (山楂). Moderate level of earthiness, woodiness and vanilla flavours, and a scattering of roasted walnut. Despite the earthiness, the freshness and cleanliness of the spirit is remarkable- the intense flavours develop to brighter and fresher notes of pineapple and crisp lemon cream.
Just like the original NAS Jameson, there is a slight estery brightness and light lemon butter cookie character in the Jameson 18.
Absolutely no alcohol burn even when neat!
After some 3-4 minutes of airing the whiskey (and I did not add any water because this is already at 40% ABV), the lighter touches of camomile tea come through.
On the palate, this is refreshingly sweet with creaminess and viscosity in texture. The opening flavours are rich, sweet but not cloying. Notes of ripe bananas, 7D sugary dried mangoes, developing into dark fruit notes of cherries and hawthorn.
Jameson 18 has a character more similar reminiscent of Lotus biscuits and café latte than the Jameson NAS (Image Source: Bon Appetit)
Fans of the original NAS Jameson would notice that the original has a much more sugary and lemon-biscuit character. This Jameson 18 on the other hand does have substantial sweetness but carried in darker fruits and more earthy notes, more reminiscent of Lotus biscuits, and a semi-sweet Starbucks coffee latte. You should really try them together for a side-by-side comparison!
The flavours then roll towards a moderate European oakiness, with slight coffee / chocolate bitterness, then some roasted walnuts and almonds. Very slight cinnamon and ginger spice.
What is really nice about this Jameson is how the flavours gradually flow from one layer to another so smoothly and seamlessly. Everything is well integrated and knows when to show up. No element of flavour seems out of place.
The finish is beautifully long, with lingering sweetness from the Lotus biscoff, slight bitterness from the European oak and sliver of ginger.
Holys**t! I haven’t encountered something so big on flavour but effortless to drink. Rich velvety texture with incredibly well balanced flavours that just roll smoothly from one layer to another. Great for new comers but even better for someone who already likes a Jameson NAS.
This is everything I would expect from an older Jameson, with the same amount of sweetness as a Jameson NAS but with more depth and earthy flavours. My personal recommend is also to enjoy this neat because (1) it not just any grocery store whiskey and (2) it’s so effortless to drink you have little excuse not to try it neat.
Ultra smooth and completely effortless to drink- a liquid dessert. My rating is based on the fact that because everyone would enjoy it (okay I'm joking about the 👶🏻).
It would be delightful to pair liquid dessert with a slice of something with a thick caramelised crust, like key lime pie with a thick crust made from Lotus biscoff.