Photo via lamag.com
Top O’the morning to ye! As Kent O’Brockman said, “today everyone is a little bit Irish”, and we’ll not continue the quote any further. What better day to move away from the standard scotch whisky review, to review another kind of drink, good ol’ Irish whiskey, and yes there’s a difference between “whisky” and “whiskey”. The main explanation being “whisky” is from Scotland and Canada, and “whiskey” is from the US or Ireland. But anyways, today’s whiskey of choice is the Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, a liquor I first tried by accident at a local bar once. I’m not usually one to drink Irish whiskey neat or just on ice, but I will always make an exception for the Caskmates Stout. This triple-distilled whiskey is unique as it is finished inside Irish craft stout beer seasoned barrels. Ironically, this was started because a local craft brewery in Ireland asked for some old Jameson barrels to age their beer in, and in return Jameson asked for those same barrels back to age their whiskey in again to make the Caskmates Stout. While a $30 bottle of whiskey will usually have quite a “burn” and be used more for shots or mixers, this one blew me away with both it’s flavors and it’s smoothness. Just looking at this whiskey you’ll see a golden yellow, slightly darker than regular Jameson.
Preparation: As with all scotches, the smell and first sip are “neat”; meaning no ice, water or any other mixer, just the whisky on its own. After that I added a little bit of water for subsequent sips, and finally to get the entire range of flavors, I added ice in the last few sips
Smell: Strong notes of citrus and fruit with floral notes as well. Some notes of honey and you’ll also notice hops from being aged in the beer barrels. It is 80 proof, so some sting to the nose can be expected as well.
Palate: You get some sweet notes of honey, sugar and caramel, followed quickly by the juxtaposition of the malt and hops from the beer aging. Surprisingly complex for simple whiskey, and really cuts back on the harshness one would expect in an 80 proof Irish whiskey.
Finish: The thinness of the liquid means it won’t coat your mouth, but it does however have quite a long finish, with lasting notes of honey and malt, as well as some notes of milk chocolate.
With Ice: While it’s much less harsh than most 80 proof, I would suggest a couple ice cubes if this a drink you plan on sipping for a while, or at the very least a couple whiskey stones just to cool it down. This whiskey improves with a little cooling, possibly due to it being chill-filtered when being distilled.
Overall: As far as bang for your buck, this is one of the best deals out there for my palate. I’m a big fan of stout beers, and not normally a fan of neat Irish Whiskey, but this combines both in such a way that I am consistently coming back for more. It’s a great drink neat or on the rocks, and would also go great with some mixed drinks as a more unique flavor profile than just standard Jameson. I would also note, readers should be aware that there is more than one type of “Jameson Caskmates”, there is a Stout Edition and an IPA Edition. The IPA Edition is quite different and will be reviewed another time.
Cask: Irish Stout
Color: Old Gold
Region: Cork, Ireland
Age: 3+ years