Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey

Nose (undiluted)
Unpleasant waft of alcohol, oak, damp leaves, earthen root cellar.

Palate (undiluted)
Cloyingly sweet honey entry upon the palate. Super smooth. Malty, cereal (dry Cheerios), cloves, limes and ginger (surprising citrus elements). Not spicy.  Actually, very little spice.  No burn.  Just some warmth (more about that later).

Finish (undiluted)
Short, ginger, black olives and a distinct Irish maltiness.

General Impressions
No peat. This is no surprise. Irish whiskey is generally devoid of peat. There are a few exceptions, but I will save that for another post. No smoke in Jameson either. What I take away from drinking this is lots of sweet, smooth honey, a boozey viscous texture, oak and some short ginger. Not sophisticated. Simple, good for mixing in coffee or cocktail.  Drink it neat and there is a boozey warmth that will envelope you kinda like peeing your pants.

Peer Group
Jameson is apparently the best selling Irish whiskey in the United States.  I think that factoid is more of a testament to American frugality than anything else.  Jameson is the poorest tasting, no age statement, Irish whiskey that is widely available.  I would take the standard bottling of Bushmills (white label) and Powers Gold Label any day over this tot. 

Say Something Good!
What did my Mother always say?  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  Hmmm . . . I seem to violate that precept daily.  Anyhow, let's try and be nice: (1) Jameson is cheap;  (2) smooth;  (3) no bite;  (4)gives you a glow like the back end of an old picture tube television;  (5) sweet like sugar donuts;  (6) you wanna know what a frat boy drunk is all about.

Thumbs Down
Pass on this.  It's cheap, sweet and a little too oaky. . .  Sorry Mom, I'll try to be nicer next time.


Jason Debly

Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved, except for image of actor Joaquin Phoenix of the film Gladiator (2000 Dreamworks USA), and image of Jameson bottle, product shot by Jameson (Pernod Ricard).  Close up photograph of Jameson bottle taken by member Pleasence who has graciously placed this photograph in the public domain for reproduction.  All images appearing in this article are for the purposes of nostalgia, education and entertainment. Moreover, all images used are considered by the author to be significant in illustrating the subject matter, facilitating artistic/critical commentary, as it provides an immediate relevance to the reader more capably than the textual description.


  1. Very good review, as always. You hit the nail on the head.
    I can't for the life of me, not by any stretch of my imagination, figure out what came over Jim Murray to rate this 95 (!!) points in his Whisky Bible 2011...
    It is just not good, bland with an unpleasant alcoholic nose and taste. People should save their money for something else, even in that price range there is better stuff out there.

    Greetings from Germany!

  2. Hello Kristen!

    I did not know that Jim Murray rated this whiskey at 95 points. Outrageous I say, but then again so are many of Mr. Murray's ratings and so called 'whisky of the year' declarations. Matter of fact, Mr. Murray says that for 2011, the whisky of the year is Ballantine's 17. I find that hard to believe. So, I have picked up a bottle and will do my own little review.

    Thanks for taking the time to chime in.



  3. Wow, too bad you didn't enjoy this more. I think the actual age from what I remember from the Jameson tour last year is that this bottling is usually around 10 years old, but I couldn't say now how accurate that is. It's definitely a low end, but compared to the Bushmills low end, I'd take this any day. It's hard to describe other than Bushmills to me just tasted watered down and I couldn't wait to get rid of the bottle I had.

    It's interesting you compare this to Powers but I do agree with you. One thing that's really too bad is we can't get the 12 year old black label Powers here (USA). It's very nice. I have about 1/3 of a bottle left from duty free from my Ireland trip last year. It does quite well with about 1/4 teaspoon of water.

  4. Ok Jason im reading your blog over and over again and I like your work very much. As a complete novice, I have chosen you as a guideline , kind of little Mentor , to start my journey as a whisky afficionado.

    Can you please write as to how can we preserve an open bottle and for how long?

    Or when you know that you drink too much? Is one glass per day too much?

    After Christmass I have the following bottles.

    Glenfiddich 15years old (40 EU)
    Lagavulin 16years old (50EU)
    Chivas Regal 12years (32EU)
    Johnie Walker Black label (25EU)
    Johnie Walker Green Label (37EU)

    I hope this is a good start. Im thinking of trying Talisker and Oban 14 years old.

    Hope i didnt bother you with my rant, I wish you Mary Christmass from Greece and Happy new year and hope to see another review from you as well as trivia about whiskey and things newcomers should know.

  5. Hi Jason,

    I have to disagree with you a bit here. I just sampled Jameson and Tullamore Dew head-to-head. You stated here that Jameson is the "poorest tasting, no age statement, Irish Whiskey that is widely available." Well I have to say, Jameson is very nice compared to Tullamore Dew! I find Jameson to be smooth and unoffensive, if boring. Tullamore Dew is like butterscotch candies melted into cheap vodka.


  6. Ryan, I stand corrected! You are correct. Tullamore Dew is worse. Under "dreadful" in the dictionary there you will surely find a picture of a bottle of Tullamore Dew.

  7. Hi,
    I read this review a little too late. The bottle is open and my time spent. Really poor stuff. Some chocolate maybe, a lot of cheap medicine...
    I´ve been visiting yor blog very often; your reviews are clever and informative. Like very much your style and attitude.
    Sadly (for me), most of the brands you review are here (Buenos Aires, opposite end of America)almost mythological in the bad way. You can find some of them in a very few and very expensive joints. The low end brands are in every supemarket, but the prices are usually absurd. 0.75 Johnnie Walker Red? 30 U$S! 0.75 Jameson? 25 U$S! That´s why they call it "Third World"...
    Anyway, I enjoy reading here about fancy bottles I´ll never gonna taste. It´s fun, even if you´re siping vat 69 or White Horse meanwhile. And that´s a tremendous acomplishment for any author!
    Thanks for your excellent job.

  8. Hello Juan from fantastically beautiful Argentina! If there was ever a country on my list to visit, it is Argentina. I understand that Buenos Aires has quite the night life filled with good red wine and fine restaurants. A friend of mine was there and raved about it.

    Glad you enjoy the reviews of whisky, but you know there are some "bottom shelf" whiskies that aren't bad like: Teacher's Highland Cream; Black Bottle; White Horse; Bushmills (Irish); Powers Gold (Irish).

    For a bit more money: Johnnie Walker Black is an institution worth exploring.

    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts!



    1. Jason,
      After Jameson, I think I´m gonna skip whiskey for a long time. I like smoke and peat; I´ll keep with scotch.
      Never saw Black Bottle and Powers Gold round here. Teachers will be my next bottle; didn´t bought it before because of the price. It´s very cheap here (10 U$S)and makes me suspicious about quality. Premium local brands cost a little more, and they don´t worth it.
      The market, here, is twisted.
      If you like night life and red wine, Buenos Aires will provide gently; if you prefer young and very dry white wines, Chile is the place.
      Anyway, if youy enjoy harmless caos, you must visit the south.
      Thanks for the reply!

    2. Juan, please try Teacher's Highland Cream. The price is cheap, but the quality is there. Take tiny sips because it is powerful and maybe add a teaspoon of water to a double pour.

      If the Teachers comes in a can and is mixed with cola, then you should avoid it, as that is a terrible product.


    3. I will, Jason.