Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whiskey Connoisseur? Yep, That’s Me

This weekend, I was lucky enough to have a night out with my friends. One in particular, I haven’t seen in a few years. While out a local club, he ordered me a shot of Jameson, claiming that I would not shut up about how it was my whiskey-of-choice. Feeling as if I had inhaled a ball of fire, the great taste quickly took over and I was taken back to my time spent at the Jameson Distillery in Dublin.
Our last day in Dublin, mom and I had booked a tour of the Jameson Distillery at 4 o’clock. Finally arriving after walking what must have been seven or eight miles, we took a seat and waited for the tour to begin. Our feet were killing us seeing as we were not expecting to walk those seven or eight miles. However, after misjudging the map and being 10 euros short for a bus ride, we were left to walk.
Once the tour began, we were led into a large room where we watched a How-to on how the Jameson Distillery began. After the video, our tour guide asked 10 people to volunteer for a whiskey tasting at the end of the tour. Women were asked to volunteer first, so I threw up my hand thinking…you only live once. When else will I have the opportunity to do a whiskey tasting in Ireland? Receiving a small, short green cylinder, we were led on our tour, beginning with the first steps toward true, authentic Jameson Whiskey.
Triple distilled, John Jameson’s delicious whiskey has a rigorous creation process: malting, milling, mashing, fermenting, distillation, and maturation. Each step holds vital importance and ultimately, creating the smooth taste that is Jameson.
Probably one of the most unique portions of the tour was in the final stage: maturation. Seeing the casks, which hold various amounts of whiskey for years, it is believed that while some of the alcohol evaporates, it ascends towards the sky and is received by the angels in Heaven as an offering. By the end of the tour, we were shown the true process from “barley to bottle” as the folks at the distillery like to say.  
Entering the final room, we were told to hand over the drink ticket we were given at the beginning of the tour. There before us were numerous glasses of Jameson whiskey, each mixed with a different beverage: sprite, cranberry juice, ginger ale, and of course, just plain ol’ Jameson.  Since I like cranberry juice, I grabbed my glass, yes, an actual glass (not shot glass), and moved over to a large table, complete with what looked like a placemat and various shots of whiskey.
Shown which whiskeys were which, we moved them to their appropriate place on the placemat. Before me was not only my Jameson and Cranberry juice, but a shot of regular Jameson, Jack Daniels, and Johnny Walker Black. A glass of water sat off to the side so that we could cleanse our palates in between tastings. Taking a sip of Jack Daniels, we quickly took a sip of the Jameson. This allowed us to taste the significant difference between the two drinks.  We then moved on to the Johnny Walker Black before taking another sip of Jameson. Each time, the Jameson won, providing me with a smooth and delectable taste. When asked to push forward our favorite, everyone at the table selected Jameson…only the best. Asked to down our remaining shots, we did so with gusto. Looking around, everyone seemed to be polishing off their other two shots and remaining drinks.  I too, took care of my whiskey and cranberry, enjoying its taste thoroughly.
Before leaving the table, our tour guide came back to give each participant a certificate with our names donning the front, claiming us to be qualified whiskey tasters. Can I say, check?! There’s something I can now mark off my bucket list!
Leaving the distillery, I looked up to see probably the coolest chandelier ever. It was composed of nothing but Jameson Whiskey bottles. All I could think of was how many guys would kill to have something like that in their apartments. Okay, well I wouldn’t mind having it in mine either.
While many would recommend that visitors go to the Guinness Distillery, I would highly recommend that people go to the Jameson Distillery. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Even if you aren’t interested in becoming a “qualified whiskey taster,” the tour itself and the atmosphere of the distillery is enough to justify a visit. Great Irish Whiskey…there’s no better place to find it!


Joslin said...

That is so cool! Now I want to visit!

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