Jameson Irish whiskey finished in stout barrels? Now that’s an interesting idea. After all, who hasn’t had a dram of Jameson and a pint of Guinness at a pub? They go together like red beans and rice.
Used Jameson barrels were sent to nearby Franciscan Well Brewery to be filled with stout. Once the stout was properly aged, the barrels were emptied and returned to Jameson, where they are filled with Jameson whiskey for a brief maturation.
Utilizing beer barrels to finish whiskey just feels right, as both drinks compliment each other so well. After all, whiskey starts out life as a form of beer before its distilled. Beer barrel finishing even works with brandy as is evidenced by American brandy distiller Copper & Kings’ recent Cr&ftwerk series. You can find tasting notes for those releases here.
The nose isn’t full of stout character. Instead it beautifully mingles together with the whiskey. The slight pot-still character of Jameson is here, along with hops, honey and some spiced citrus. A malty note mildly pops in with a little airtime in the glass. The entry here is both spicy and malty. Light toffee sweetness is tempered a little with the hoppiness of the stout cask finish. Citrus peel leads us to a long, spicy and bittersweet (hops and dark chocolate) finish.
Caskmates is an interesting expression from Jameson, and I think you’ll feel the same way after tasting. Even if you don’t like beer, you might enjoy what beer barrel finishing adds to Jameson’s flavor profile. At $30 a bottle, I’d easily suggest this one.