Watching the movie “The Angels’ Share” (posted here) provided a bit of insight into Scottish whisky. Prior to that my only knowledge of whiskey was drinking whiskey sours. With my visit to Dublin, I was curious to learn more about whiskey with a visit to the Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery in Dublin.
Similiar to the Guinness Storehouse experience (posted here), the Jameson Irish Whiskey Experience is focused on providing the visitor insight to the product’s history and production process with an opportunity to taste and buy. While I waited for the first tour of the day to begin at 10:20 am (they open at 10 am each day and tours run every 20 minutes and cost 14 Euro, conference attendees were provided complimentary admission), I sat in the lobby with the gift shop to my left and the very cool bar to my right.
When the tour began, we were led into a small auditorium as our guide introduced himself and the short ten minute film we would watch about the history of John Jameson and his triple distilled whiskey. When the film ended, the guide asked for volunteers. As with most calls to action, we all sat quiet waiting to see who was brave. A few raised their hands, however, the guide needed another female volunteer and stared right at me, so I felt compelled to raise my hand not knowing what I was getting myself into. I was given a green tube to carry until I was asked to use it.
The group then began the tour walking through various rooms to learn about the many stages of the whiskey making at Jameson. As someone addicted to those behind the scenes factory shows, I enjoyed the various steps as I marvel at how someone imagined this so many years ago – mixing these ingredients, the process needed, the machinery and everything that goes into making the product. While they no longer make the whiskey in Dublin, the tour recreates the distillery and is entertainingly led by a guide.
My interest was piqued as we entered the ageing room to see the various colors of the whiskey. Lighter colors are young while the reds are older. The lights were turned off in order to see the colors and we were told of the angels’ share as well (the portion that evaporates). You are also informed at this stage of the private reserve that is only sold here if you want to buy it and bring it home.
At the end of the tour was the tasting, which while I am not a huge fan of whiskey, I was ready to do my best for blog research of course! This is when I found out that my green tube that I had been carrying meant that I was to be part of the whiskey comparison tasting of American, Scottish and Irish Whiskeys. I hadn’t planned on this, my actual plan was to leave by the tasting to switch hotels and get to my writing class at the conference instead of tasting three whiskeys before 11am!
I was given a tasting sheet with space for each glass along with some notes before our guide went on to explain the following:
American whiskey you feel in your throat, it is only distilled once
Scottish whisky (no “e”) you feel in your chest, it is distilled twice
Irish whiskey (Jameson) is distilled three times and has a smooth taste and goes down easily
As I don’t usually drink straight liquor (especially after my egg breakfast) I felt each whiskey in my throat, chest and all the way down to my toes!
So with the tastings complete, I received a certificate to commemorate my experience and it fit surprising well into my green tube for a great souvenir from my visit. I’m glad I raised my hand to volunteer as the tasting comparison was interesting and added to my tour experience at Jameson.