Jameson is one of the best known brands of Irish Whiskey. While the name is primarily associated with less expensive daily drinkers, Jameson is no slouch in the premium label department.
This classic Irish whiskey is distilled at the New Midleton facility, which is located in beautiful Cork County, right next to the historic Old Midleton distillery. The Old Midleton Distillery, and the original Bow Street Distillery, continue to function as visitor centers and museums.
Age range: 12-18 years
Price range (750ml): $23-100*
Distilled: Cork, Ireland
Vatted: Dublin, Ireland
Labels: Original, 12 year, 15 year, 18 year, Gold Reserve, Rare Vintage
History of Jameson Whiskey
Jameson is owned by the French distiller Pernod Ricard, but the label has a history in Ireland that stretches back over two centuries. John Jameson established the brand when he purchased the Bow Street Distillery in 1780 and turned it into one of the main distilleries in Dublin. (Bow Street was only turning out about 30,000 gallons of spirits a year when Jameson bought it, but he increased that to over 1,000,000 gallons each year after about two decades of ownership.) Distillation has since moved to Cork, and ownership of the company has passed out of the Jameson family’s hands, but vatting takes place in Dublin to this day.
The Jameson family maintained control of the brand until the 1960s, when three of the main distillers in Ireland joined forces to create the Irish Distillers Group. This consolidation is what led to the closing of Bow Street Distillery and the construction of the New Midleton distillery, which was to become the source of almost all Irish whiskey for a number of years. The Irish Distillers Group subsequently absorbed Bushmills in the 1970s, and was later taken over by Pernod Ricard in the late 1980s (after an unsuccessful takeover spearheaded by Guiness and a couple other companies).
The Unbroken Tradition
Despite changes in ownership and location, Jameson whiskey retains a strong connection to the past. This Irish whiskey makes use of a mixture of both green and malted barley, all of which is locally sourced in Cork county. It is also produced in traditional copper pot stills and distilled three times to achieve the remarkably smooth quality that Irish whiskey is famous for.
A Jameson Whiskey for Every Budget
The entry-level label is Jameson Original, which is an excellent bottle for newcomers to Irish whiskey and anyone who is looking for a quality drink at a reasonable price. A 750ml bottle will typically set you back about $20-30 depending on where you are. For anyone who wants to step up to a more complex Irish whiskey with a slightly more expensive price tage, a 750ml bottle of Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve will typically run you about $40.
Top-shelf Jameson labels, like their 18 year old special reserve, can run upwards of $100 for a 750ml bottle.
*Jameson Whiskey price will vary by location. Special, rare, and limited bottlings are significantly more expensive.