Jameson hits the right notes
The rhythm of the Caribbean combines with the beat of the Irish drum, as Jameson proudly presents its latest innovation, a 21-year-old limited edition whiskey.
If you think you know all there is to know about Jameson, think again. This is a brand that doesn’t follow trends – it makes them. The latest release from the world’s leading Irish whiskey is case in point; introducing, Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats.
Forget your run-of-the-mill cask finishing – Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats is the result of a 21-year commitment to maturation in rum-seasoned casks, and is the latest expression to join The Jameson Anthology series. The pot still whiskey and the grain whiskey that goes into the new bottling both spent 18 years in rum casks sourced from Barbados.
But master distiller Kevin O’Gorman was curious to explore how a second style of rum would affect the flavour of the liquid. Subsequently, the whiskeys were transferred separately into Selección de Maestros Havana Club rum-seasoned casks for an additional three years.
“We could have kept it in the Foursquare casks from Barbados, but we wanted to see what would happen if we gave it a double-rum finish,” explains O’Gorman. “We really wanted to add another layer of rum contribution, and I think it came off really, really well.”
Thanks to more than two decades fully maturing in rum casks, Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats offers aromas of warming spice, figs, toasted almonds, muscovado sugar, and coconut shavings. Upon sipping, the flavour reveals notes of chocolate-dipped honeycomb, orange zest and mango.
This evolves into complex notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper, herbal and earthy qualities, enhancing the pot still-driven fruits and sweetness. The long and lasting finish leaves fruits and sweet spices, before oak and rum seasoning round off the experience.
“Maturation in rum casks creates a delicious and unique flavour that brings together spice, earthiness and sweetness, while complementing the traditional fragrant, floral and fruity notes that are synonymous within the much-loved Jameson style of whiskey,” adds Angela Coral Medina, brewing and distilling specialist. “Innovation is a big thing for us. While this whiskey embodies the craft and quality for which Jameson is so renowned, it brings in our innovative spirit at Midleton Distillery through these exceptional rum seasoned casks.”
Timed to perfection
The new release sits at 46% ABV, and only 2,900 bottles have been created. After experimenting with the ABV, O’Gorman says: “It just worked well around the mid-40s. Personally, I would just add a little drop of water with the whiskey, and enjoy it that way.”
Medina adds: “I would definitely encourage people to try this neat at first because you really want to taste those special flavour additions that came from the rum casks.”
Three years in the Havana Club casks was the ideal amount of time for this whiskey, O’Gorman notes; the finishing period delivered a final blend that celebrates the delicious rum influence while retaining that unique Jameson character. But it was no easy feat settling on the perfect recipe for the final whiskey.
“We played around with prototypes. I think we brought it down to three in terms of the amount of grain involved,” O’Gorman explains. “We felt that we wanted to keep the grain element slightly higher to keep the balance between the vanilla, the wood spices and the fruit flavours. Then we brought it all together. Our typical grain whiskey, particularly at this age of 21 years, has lovely rounded vanilla, toffee sweetness, almost honey flavours. And then the pot still whiskey would typically be quite spicy, with dark fruits. What we found was that because of the rum, those individual elements were elevated quite a bit. So it really worked well in terms of enhancing those flavours. It’s like any whiskey: timing is important. And we felt that the balance was just right.”
The launch of Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats is a proud moment for O’Gorman. Having joined the company around 25 years ago, he recalls the rum casks being brought into the fold. “It’s really wonderful to see something like this coming to fruition,” he says. “We could have released it years ago as a rum-cask whiskey at whatever age, but I’m delighted we kept it this long because the final whiskey is something really, really special. Twenty-one years is a long time.”
Medina agrees, praising the decisions made around keeping the whiskey a little longer in its rum casks, before moving the liquid into the Havana Club casks.
“The kind of market and customers this whiskey is directed at are fans that are looking for something new, something innovative and who want to experiment with different flavours and types of whiskey,” she adds. Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats has committed to its sustainable promises as much as it has to its flavour, and is presented in fully recyclable packaging. The whiskey is priced at €280 per 500ml bottle, and is available exclusively online via JamesonWhiskey.com, so keen buyers will have to move quickly to get their hands on a bottle. “We can’t wait for whiskey enthusiasts to experience Jameson Remixed Caribbean Beats,” O’Gorman enthuses.