By Richard Thomas
Jameson has a regular 12 year old, but it also has a special 12 year old ostensibly available only to visitors at the New Midleton Distillery or the Old Jameson Distillery museum in Dublin, the 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve. I say ostensibly because it has been on limited availability with certain whiskey retailers in the past.
This whiskey is intended to represent what Jameson is all about. Bottled at 40% abv, this is a middle aged blended whiskey with grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels mixed with three different blocks of pot still whiskey, mostly ex-bourbon aged with some ex-sherry aged.
The presentation of this whiskey is a nice, neat one, taking the basic Jameson packaging up a notch. The label styling and green glass bottle should be instantly recognized by any American college student, but this set-up is not crowned by a heavy foil wrapper and a plastic and cork stopper. In the glass, the whiskey has a bright, rich gold coloring, bordering on orange. It’s the sort of thing that ought to be in clear glass so you can see how attractive it is all the time, but Jameson is all about its emerald bottling and that is the way it is.
The nose is thick with creamy, grassy cereals accented by sherry, with notes of spicy wood. The whiskey has a rich, creamy, but still silky texture on the palate. The flavor rolls out in a mellow fashion with malty and fruity flavors, with a sweetness coming from both sherry and honey. The finish is light and carries mellow warmth.
Overall, I think of this as being solidly in the familiar experience of Jameson, only much more so.
At the distillery and Dublin museum, you can pick up a personalized bottle of Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve for €60 ($68).