Jameson Irish Whiskey
Price Point $28 for 750 mL
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I figured as a little sidebar on this day, I’d taste some whiskey. Yes, I know Jameson is on the low end of the Irish whiskey spectrum and mass-marketed, but, like its beer counterpart Guinness, it has a virtual cultural monopoly on St. Patty’s day liquor.
There are typically three ways to enjoy whiskey on its own.
- Neat: that is, right out of the bottle, room temperature nothing else added whatsoever
- With water: add some water, ratio to taste (usually 50/50)
- On the rocks: with ice.
Folks are usually pretty vocal about which way is best, so I’ll go for all three.
Disclaimer: For all the wine I drink, I am a whiskey novice. I’m tasting this like I would taste wine.
Looks: Interesting orange/amber color, a little orange protestant representation on a very green day
Nose: No surprise here: it’s got high alcohol and it burns the nose*. Over the noise I get some toast (like toasted wood, not bread toast), vanilla, caramel, and a little mediciney (clove?) thing.
palate: Well, it burns your tongue too. Orange peel on a long finish that doesn’t burn the throat
The water brings out plastic/medicine on the nose and practically eliminates the burning. In the mouth it rounds out the mouthfeel, adding some orange/vanilla creamsicle type stuff. It’s still quite oaky, which makes sense since it spends a good amount of time (way longer than wine) in oak barrels.
ON THE ROCKS
Probably my favorite. Diminished alcohol burn on the nose, allowing more pleasant aromas to come through, nice mouthfeel as I roll it around the tongue.
Irish whiskey lacks the smoky flavors of Scotch because smoking the grain/malt over peat fires is absent from the Irish process. Personally, I can do without the smoky flavors.
At the risk of getting in trouble from whiskey purists, let me offer a cocktail recipe. The only other beverage handy was green tea, and well, since it’s a green kind of day, I figured I’d go for it.
Wearin’ O’ the Green Tea:
1 part Jameson Irish Whiskey
3 parts Arizona Diet Green Tea with ginseng
Mix to taste and enjoy straight up or on the rocks.
The green tea’s got orange honey in it, and believe it or not, it really complements the whiskey. It’s kind of like a hot toddy, but unless you are a grandma, you probably don’t drink those.
On a hedonic note, I enjoyed this with a hot corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut on a pumpernickel bagel. It’s the closest I’ll get to corned beef and cabbage today, probably. Anyway, blasting some Cheiftains, Pogues, and Flogging Molly, chowing down on some corned beef and sipping Jameson. Pretty good St. Patty’s day, don’t you think?
So if you’re at the local pub tonight and buying some Jameson (or other Irish whiskey), don’t just shoot it back like a heathen, give it a sip and enjoy the fruity, toasty flavors of the old Mountain Dew. Sláinte!
Pure ethanol (alcohol) does have a “sweet” aroma, (Ref: Thorngate, “The physiology of human sensory response to wine: A review”, AJEV, 1997) but when it’s introduced into the nose, something else happens. The mechanism is not entirely understood, but interaction of ethanol with certain receptors triggers a response by the trigeminal nerve in the nose and mouth, which causes a “burning” sensation. Anyone who’s poured Scope down his pants that one time at scout camp knows that alcohol creates quite a burning sensation on the skin (I mean, hypothetically). Turns out these receptors also process capsaicin, the “hot” compound in hot peppers. (Ref: Trevisani et al., “Ethanol elicits and potentiates nociceptor responses via the vanilloid receptor-1”, Nature Neuroscience, 2002). This burning increases with increased ethanol concentration, and by Henry’s law, the more ethanol in the liquid, the more will be in the gas phase. The amount in the vapor phase will also be affected by temperature, thus my preference for rocks, and the reason you’d never want a room temperature martini.