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I realized today that somehow I have never gotten around to reviewing that ol' standard Jameson (I've done the 18yo and the 2009 Rarest Vintage Reserve). Easily the best selling Irish whiskey in the world, the standard Jameson must be in every single bar in the world (that and Jack Daniel's). It's a blend of 50:50 pot still (a mash of malted and unmalted barley) and grain. Even though the label says "Bow Street Distillery, Dublin", it's actually distilled at Midleton in County Cork, the same distillery that produces Paddy, Powers, Redbreast, Green Spot and, of course, Midleton Very Rare.
I've had it at various times over the years and I have found it strangely inconsistent, especially given how loyal Jameson drinkers are. Sometimes very tasteless, other times too sulphured, I never seem to know if I'm going to like it or not.
The colour is a full gold. This noses very young, with canned pears, buttered burnt toast, green apple skins and Wheetabix. Linseed oil. Light toffee. With time, you get the faint hint of kippers (?) You definitely get the pot still and the sherry casks, but they are very light. Lots of cereal notes (more so with water), and lightly fruity, but there is a metallic undercurrent I don't particularly like.
On the palate it is very thin - but tasty. Definite pot-still crispness, rich barley, hint of sherry and more buttered toast (not burnt this time). Light honey with strawberries-and-cream. Grassy. You get a much better sense of oak here. Water somehow crisps things up even more. Straightforward and not terribly complex but very pleasant.
The finish is a little furry with some savoury herbs, cinnamon and pastry - but it seems a little off - perhaps a few sulphured casks? Anyway, this is pretty much how I remember Jameson from the last time - pleasant and very drinkable but there's always something a little off-putting that keeps me from drinking it regularly (but I could). Still, good to have around the house so you can pour some for your uncle without having to give him the good stuff. For some reason, Jim Murray is insane about this, scoring it a 95. Go figure. Mind you, I've always loved Jameson's other expressions. In fact, let's try another one in a moment...