Friday, 6 August 2010
WHAT MAKES THESE WHISKEYS EXTRA SPECIAL?
When the 4 Masters come together to make the best that Jameson has to offer, 3 distinct criteria need to be met to ensure these whiskeys are worthy of the name Reserve…
HIGH POT STILL CONTENT
All whiskeys permitted to bear the Reserve name must firstly have a high pot still content, courtesy of the yeast fermented mash of malted and unmalted barley produced in traditional copper pot stills. This is where the Master of Whiskey Science and the Master Distiller’s attention to detail ensures that the distillates used for blending with other whiskeys have a characteristically rich, full bodied flavour.
All our Reserve whiskeys are significantly aged and these are limited in stock. They are carefully managed in order to best utilise them and create truly extra special whiskeys, namely Jameson Reserves.
HAND PICKED CASKS
In addition to the unparalleled personal attention the Reserves enjoy throughout the entire production process, the final element that helps to compose a true Reserve whiskey is all about the casks and the distillates used. Jameson takes a lot of pride in ensuring that our cask quality is world class and that unlimited resources are available to ensure the finest casks are commissioned and selected for the individual whiskeys. Given the small quantity these Reserve whiskeys are produced in, a sub standard cask can be the undoing of all the expertise that has preceded this stage in their creation. Exhaustive steps are taken by the Master Blender and Master of Maturation to hand pick and sample each wooden cask to assess their suitability for blending, maturing and vatting whiskeys.
This is the critical factor in a balancing act that can add either ‘light’ and ‘shade’ in varying hues to the overall picture of the whiskey(s) profile. For example, with Jameson Gold Reserve, virgin oak barrels are used with certain distillates, as the fresher the barrel, the more the whiskey reacts with the wood itself, which helps develop a more robust, complex flavour. To moderate the effect the casks have on a whiskey, other distillates from second or third fill barrels may be married with this to temper the exuberance and mellow the taste, whilst oloroso casks will contribute a sweeter, sherried accent and finish. In the words of Jameson Master Blender, Billy Leighton, “The distillates and casks you leave out of a Reserve blend are almost as significant as those you put in.”
Together these 3 criteria exert a varying but essential influence depending on the type of whiskey being made, allowing it to develop into something that is more than the sum of its parts; a Jameson Reserve.
JAMESON . . . TOO SPECIAL TO RESERVE .
Like many of the finer things in life, the Jameson Reserves were created for one reason only… to be enjoyed! We believe that our Reserve whiskeys are very special indeed, although not too special to reserve just for formal occasions or events. Given the years it takes to distil, blend and mature these Jameson Reserves, life really is too short, so any opportunity to share them in the good company of friends or family should always be seen as a special occasion…
The enjoyment of Jameson Reserve Whiskeys is a threefold experience, where the subtleties of the flavour spectrum are revealed in the nuances of its nose, taste and finish… But what are these? Very simply these are three sensory stages that greatly enhance the appreciation and understanding of the differences between each of these Reserve whiskeys.
Firstly, the ‘nose’ is the characteristic aroma that each Reserve releases and is best appreciated through a rounded glass with a tapering end that guides the aroma towards the top. Terms to describe the nose can vary from light to rich, woody, spicy and aromatic or mellow, to simple and complex. These individual traits become more pronounced with the addition of a little water, which brings the full bouquet of the spirit to the fore. As with all of the Reserves, their pot still character ensures the nose of each is rich and full bodied, whilst its colour or hue will suggest the types of cask, such as sherry, bourbon or port that they were matured in.
As the first sip is held in the mouth, the numerous, acutely sensitive taste buds of the tongue differentiate the lavish taste profile of the whiskey. The tip of the tongue is where we detect sweetness and at the sides a more savoury flavour. As a rule, the finer the whiskey the more accents of flavour are awakened in the mouth as a whole, rather than specific areas of the tongue. ‘Taste’ is often described in terms of hints of sherry richness, spicy, nutty, vanilla, dark chocolate, woody, honeyed, oily and malty and all the Reserve whiskeys will stimulate the taste buds to enjoy a number of these flavours.
Having savoured the nose and taste, the ‘finish’ refers to the more defined feeling of flavour that is left in the mouth and may be noticeably different from the initial sip. This is the finale and the encore, depending on whether the whiskey has a long, lingering finish or ends with a shorter more robust flavour. This finish or aftertaste may leave either a sweet, dry or smooth essence on the tongue. Once again the Reserves each have a finish of generous proportions and a lavish spectrum of bighearted flavours.