When it comes to Jameson, few people venture beyond the standard base Jameson Irish Whiskey blend. Jameson has become so popular and obsequious that people often refer to the base blend simply as “Jameson”. It’s unfortunate, because the Jameson line, which includes Jameson 12 Year and Jameson Gold Reserve, has a lot to offer. Perhaps price has been an issue to some consumers, as Jameson Gold Reserve is delicious but priced at nearly double the base blend.
Seeking to bridge the gap between their higher end products and the base line, Jameson has come out with a blend that is only $10 more than the standard Jameson. Jameson Black Barrel Select Reserve brings together Irish pot still whiskey and rare small batch grain whiskey aged in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels. The aging barels contribute a significant amount to the ultimate character of Black Barrel.
Jameson Black Barrel Select Reserve ($35, 40%) has a decidedly rich and sweet nose. The lush, ripe fruit from the sherry is front and center, then mixes with the bourbon barrel notes of oak, marzipan, cinnamon, and oak. The entry is packed with flavor but not overly aggressive. Clear sherry fruit notes mix with the vanilla and soft oak. It’s evenly balanced and the flavors come together very well. A slight spice joins the mix in the mid-palate along with a subtle, salty grain note. The finish on the Black Barrel is flavorful and easy, fading out at a perfect pace and leaving the mouth fairly clean.
There’s been a real trend in the whiskey space to put out flavorful and unique blends that don’t have an age statement on them, and for some reason many of them are called “Black”. Johnnie Walker has been very successful with Johnnie Walker Double Black and we think Jameson is going to be equally as successful with Black Barrel. Well priced, Jameson Black Barrel is an extraordinarily affable, flavorful, and easy to drink Irish whiskey that is a clear upgrade from the standard blend.
Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey Review by Geoff Kleinman