A mellow take, roughening out the sharp edges of an original Jameson with a bit more dark chocolate
By JAYVEE FERNANDEZ
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Pernod Ricard team in Manila. Apart from having a rather swanky office bar that I would visit pre-pandemic, they were able to keep the tradition of having friends meet up—albeit online, for a series of bottle launches over Zoom. The past two years were kind to no one, so the solace of being with a familiar cast of characters composed of brand ambassadors, media friends (I fondly call them “the drinking beat”), and product managers over online workshops—and now, in person at The Island in BGC was cathartic. I was looking forward to this event not just to see old friends, but also to bear witness to two particular editions that Jameson Irish Whisky has been sitting on for the better part of four years and has now made its way to Philippine shores.
On the mainstream, Jameson IS the poster child for Irish whiskey. With a price point sitting shy of P1,000 for a bottle, it makes for a perfect gift for any occasion. The price and ubiquity (it’s almost everywhere!) coupled with packaging promos that include a pair of whiskey rock glasses make for a no-brainer. But you have to admit that the brand has been leaning on the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mantra for quite some time. I remember their first cask experiment, the Jameson Black Barrel, that launched in Manila in 2019. Pricier by a few hundred pesos, Black Barrel had sweeter vanilla notes, thanks to the double-charring of the barrels to bring out these sweeter and more intense flavors. That was the first step of the evolution of “basic Jameson” for me and I remember having two bottles to tide me over the pandemic. It was less bitter, yet sweeter than the original Jameson bottles, making it more friendly to newcomers to the whisky scene.
But then, enter the Caskmates experiment. Its master distiller asked a simple question, “what would Irish whisky taste like if you aged it in barrels coated with beer?” The corollary is also true, “what would an IPA or a stout taste like if you aged it in whisky barrels?” And thus you have, at least, one part of the experiment done: the Jameson Stout Edition and the Jameson IPA Edition. The beer lining comes from the Franciscan Well, a microbrewery that used to sit in a Franciscan monastery in Ireland. Interestingly enough, they serve the other half of the experiment, a pale ale and stout aged with Jameson.
But anyway, back to the whisky! For tasting notes, the Jameson Stout is a mellow take, roughening out the sharp edges of an original Jameson with a bit more dark chocolate. The Jameson IPA on the other hand is more intense, as expected. Neat, it’s definitely something you would want to nurse. As a highball, ginger ale or tonic water goes well with this.
But which to choose? I guess, if you are coming home tired from a long day, the stout would make much more sense. If, however, you are out and would like to start the night strong, the IPA is a no-brainer.
The Jameson Stout Edition and Jameson IPA Edition both sell for P999, available in S&R.