By Richard Thomas
Jameson’s The Whiskey Masters is designed to highlight the contributions of three key members of the New Midleton Distillery leadership team: Ger Buckley, the Master Cooper; Brian Nation, the Master Distiller; and Billy Leighton, the Master Blender. Blender’s Dog is the middle entry in the range, and the way Leighton jokingly tells it, in more ways than one.
Because Nation’s Distiller’s Safe highlights the flavors of the distillate itself, and Buckley’s Cooper’s Croze puts the focus on the wood influence on whiskey maturation. So, where Distiller’s Safe is just moderately aged, Cooper’s Croze is actually quite old, ranging between 12 and 16 years.
Then there is Leighton’s Blender’s Dog, which he jokes is much like himself: right between Nation and Buckley, who bookend both the age and length of tenure for New Midleton’s major whiskey-making figures. In terms of style, it’s a showcase of the blender’s palate, drawing on the largest array of distillate and cask types of any of the Whiskey Masters trilogy.
The whiskey has a pale gold color in the glass, and the nose is a soft one, fruity with apples and dates, and seasoned with vanilla and a trace of dry wood.
On the palate, the whiskey has a creamy texture, this serving as the foundation for a very well-balanced flavor profile. Caramel and butterscotch play off pears and honey, with a slight current of oakiness. The taste takes the aspects of the nose and pushes them one step wider and deeper, steeping up the complexity.
If you look at the date of this review, you’ll see that as I write this I am in the dog days of summer, and for that time of year the finish is perfect. Both the lingering flavors and the warmth fade very fast, making for a light finish that is easy going in the summer heat. You can sip on this stuff without ice on a 33 C day, believe me.
Like its mates, Blender’s Dog is priced at €70. When it reaches the U.S., it should be priced at $70.