Water of Life – Whiskey Makers / Master Distiller’s edition
We have established previously that when it comes to anything Jameson, Brian Nation is the authority to give his nod of approval for any emission from the hoochery based out of Midleton – given that he worked through all facets of Jameson before he was passed the baton by his predecessor Barry Crockett.
Honouring the tradition and channelling his distilling alchemy through a single pot producing different types of decoctions and utilizing a variety of cask types, the drops that Brian Nation started producing coincided with the dawn of the golden age of whisk(e)y, an era we still find ourselves in these days that even puts big players like Jameson under stress to cope with demand.
The beauty of the Whiskey Makers series special editions that have been distilled under the benign guidance of Brian Nation is that they are pushing the envelope yet stay true to the DNA of Jameson and honour its heritage.
Let’s start off by zero-ing in on Jameson Cooper’s Croze: In essence, this is a liquid homage to their Head Cooper, a gentleman going under the name of Ger Buckley, and to honour the significant influence the wood exerts on the character of a whiskey.
Having matured in what reads like a trifecta symphony of wood, i.e. sherry, Bourbon and virgin American, and clocking in at 43%, it turns out to be quite a fruity, full-bodied and citrussy number on the nose, with spices, layers of vanilla caressing the palate and the exit being made with more than the sum of bananas, spices, cinnamon backed by an underlying sweetness, which is reminiscent of more elegant drops from the Speyside.
What has become known as the Distiller's Safe is Brian’s own creation.
Being an extravagant melange of grain whiskey and small batch pot still, having undergone maturation in American oak casks and referencing the apparatus where the cut for the final distillate is taken and calibrated, aromas of apples and pears along with hints of cinnamon and lemon zestiness tickle the nostrils.
The pitstop on the palate is best described as a delicate evolution from sweetness via butterscotch to vanilla, culminating in peppery notes. I am not surprised that he Brian was happy to put his name to this one. Not at all.
Next up is the rich Black Barrel – a blend that gets its name from being aged in re-charred bourbon barrels with the character of what a single pot has to offer reverberating through each drop.
Despite its gloomy name, this one is an elegant exercise in fruitiness with highlights of spice and an underpinning woody foundation that gives way to a creamy palate with nuances of cinnamon, vanilla and an elongated nicely balanced rich malty finish.
If you are used to merely shooting Jameson alongside your Guinness, you are missing out my friend.