Although it has an age statement on the bottle, the Jameson Special Reserve 12 Year Irish Whiskey actually sits in between the Jameson Blended Irish Whiskey and the Jameson Gold Reserve. It’s runs about $15 more than standard blend and about $25 less than the Gold Reserve, and while it’s a sweeter, more flavorful base blend, it isn’t a dramatic step up.
Jameson Special Reserve 12 Year Irish Whiskey ($35 – 80 proof) is clearly darker than the Jameson Blended Whiskey with a nice rich gold color. The nose is pretty thick with notes of brown sugar, vanilla, sawdust and a slight banana undertone. The entry is very easy and sweet with a nice light brown sugar and vanilla flavor in its core. In the mid-palate the brown sugar is joined by a salty note and the slightest hint of funk. As with the blend, there’s a little bit of heat that emerges in the mid-palate and stays along through the finish. The finish is fairly short with a slight bit of cooling.
Jameson Special Reserve 12 Year Irish Whiskey is a nice and easy Irish whiskey, but ultimately fairly unremarkable. It’s sweeter and heavier than the standard blend but it doesn’t bring a lot more to the table. The mouthfeel on the Special Reserve is nice but it’s not enough to really elevate this as a significant step up from the base blend. Considering the Powers Gold Label Special Reserve 12 is only a few dollars more and legions better, it’s hard to enthusiastically recommend this whiskey. Mildly Recommended