By Father John Rayls
It’s just hard to get very far away from Jameson Irish Whiskey. Of course Pernod Ricard is the owner and is ever-present all over the world. Even if you wanted to escape, it seems something with a Jameson label is available in every eating, drinking and bottle establishment. The Caskmates series is only going to make it even more true. How many of us have sought out beer aged in whiskey barrels (primarily bourbon barrels) for years… Now, we have whiskey being aged (or at least finished) in beer barrels. It seems like one of those Hollywood idyllic movie marriages combining two great mainstays of life around the world. Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition is the most recent release in this series after the successful release of the Stout Edition. I naturally lean more towards a malt flavor rather than hoppy. However, I do enjoy a hoppy influenced brew occasionally as an alternative. I am strangely attracted to this movement towards beer influenced whiskey and particularly so when it’s an Irish whiskey which is uniquely suited for this purpose. This idea sprang from a conversation in 2013 between the head of Whiskey Science at Jameson and the Head Brewer sitting at an Irish bar for drinks. Two years later the IPA Edition made its appearance bottled at 80 proof.
The bottle presents a beautiful image in the traditional green with a hunter green label complete with very classy cream colored lettering with gold highlighting. The dark green screw-on cap just seems to work in creating the right overall effect. The look in the glass is close to the traditional Jameson coloring, but slightly darker and warmer appearing as a light to medium orange tint. The legs appear all around the glass simultaneously as they seem to move downward in complete harmony with each other creating an unusual synchronized dance appearance. The nose is subtle (maybe my Texas Cedar Fever?) with aromas that are lightly fruity with hops and some oak underneath.
I really wanted to love this whiskey, but couldn’t quite get there. However, it is smooth, easy drinking and flavorful but in a softer fashion than I prefer. The first taste brings a creamy, almost chewey mouthfeel. It immediately puts you at ease anticipating what’s to come. Most of the action takes place at mid-mouth and back with light hops, sweet herbal notes and some light citrus. A spicey experience begins halfway through, but never rises to hot. It continues to warm throughout the medium to long finish which presents itself with light sweet lingering fresh fruit. Of course, Jameson is known for its smoothness and this continues the tradition from the first sip to the final moment of the finish.
I suspect if you love an IPA Craft Beer, you are going to love Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition Irish Whiskey. It is very smooth and easy drinking for a laid back evening with good friends. Another great part of this unique Irish Whiskey is its suggested retail pricing of $29.99. At that price and with all the flavor packed into the bottle, there’s no excuse for not keeping a bottle on your shelf.