When you think of Jamesons whiskey, what does it remind you of? For me, it used to be my Dad - a bottle of Jameson was always the go-to present for Fathers Day. But now, I just can't get Rihanna's lyrics out my head - "Oh let the Jameson sink in, I drink to that, yeah-yeah!" Anyway...
After our walk around St Stephen's Green Park, we found a hop on/hop off bus and enjoyed a good hour in the sunshine listening to the most hilarious guide we'd had so far. He was joking at the traffic whilst being very informative - ticking all the boxes. We drove past Kilmainham Gaol and around Pheonix Park as part of the bus tour, and then pulled up at The Old Jameson Distillery just minutes before our tour started - phew! We pre-booked our tour on their website the weekend before we went to Dublin as I'd heard from friends who had been that it gets quite busy. When we'd arrived there was a 50 minute wait for the next available tour so I'm glad we booked!
The tour starts in a cinema room with a short film about the history of John Jameson, how he began distilling whiskey and it's roots in Dublin. After the film our tour guide, Niall, asked for volunteers. We weren't 100% sure what we were volunteering for, but Dad and I shot our hands up! We were given green tubes with Jamesons logos on and told to keep hold of them for later... We headed out of the cinema and began our walking tour of the Old Jameson Distillery.
Niall was great. He was funny and answered some tricky questions from others in our 15-person group. We learnt the whole process of making whiskey, and triple distillation which Jamesons is renowned for. The process of distillation smoothes the whiskey, giving it an absolutely gorgeous taste.
The most interesting thing I learnt was that different Jamesons whiskeys - for example the traditional Irish label compared to the gold reserve - have a change in taste mostly because of which barrels they're stored in. Some may be kept in old Porteguese port barrels for 12 years whilst others kept in Italian sherry barrels for 5 years and then moved to different barrels for the rest of their time. The residue of what was kept in them originally gets stored into the wood, and when new liquids are put in these flavours start to come out and make a difference to the finished product.
Our tour concluded in the one place a whiskey distillery tour should finish - the bar. Mum and I enjoyed a Jamesons with ginger and lime (much like a Light & Stormy) whilst Ash and dad enjoyed theirs on the rocks. Those of us who volunteered were offered to take a seat at the back of the bar for a whiskey tasting! We compared the smooth, triple distilled Jamesons Irish whiskey to American Jack Daniels (single distilled) and Scotch Johnnie Walker (double distilled). Tasting them all together really does show you the differences in distillation - I don't think anything compares to Jamesons! And the green tubes? They were to put our 'Official Irish Whiskey Taster' certificates in!
After the tour we headed to the gift shop in the foyer where I picked up some whiskey fudge to share back at the office. JJ's Bar is a small cocktail bar at the front of the distillery and I wish we stopped for a drink, but we were pretty hungry and it was probably not an great idea for Dad and I to drink any more whiskey on an empty stomach... The cocktails looks amazing though and I'll be trying a few of their recipes soon!
I really preferred this tour to the Guinness one. The whole distillery was smaller, more informative about the making processes and of course, I got to drink a lot of whiskey!
To see more from our Dublin trip, click here! Rosie x