Review of Jameson Irish Whiskey, Caskmates IPA, and Stout Editions


Born in 1740, John Jameson was a Scotsman through and through. At the age of 28, he married Margaret Haig. Together, they had 16 children. Jameson was the Sheriff Clerk for Clackmannanshire, the smallest Scottish county. Yet, he didn’t enjoy his work, and in 1774, he and his brood relocated to Dublin.


Margaret was born into the Haig (paternal) and Stein (maternal) families. Both were established whiskey moguls, and John was appointed general manager of the Stein-owned Dublin distillery Bow Street. In 1780, he began distilling whiskey. Thus, Jameson Irish Whiskey was born.


The & Sons part came when his son, John Jameson II, came on board in 1805 to assume control of the business. Then, in 1851, John Jameson III took the helm and established John Jameson & Son Ltd. in 1901.


While John II was building Jameson Irish Whiskey, his brothers, William and James, partnered with other Stein family members to form Jameson & Stein and began distilling at Marrowbone Lane. Soon after that, Jameson & Stein was renamed William Jameson & Co. A fourth brother, Andrew Jameson, owned another, smaller distillery in County Wexford.


The Bow Street and Marrowbone Lane distilleries were highly competitive and often rivalrous. By the time John Jameson & Son was formally incorporated, it was the cat’s meow of whiskey, producing nearly a million gallons annually! In 1805, it was the best-selling whiskey in the world.


Then, the Irish whiskey market went kablooey. There wasn’t a single reason to assess blame; instead, it was a culmination of things. The Scots introduced column stills allowing them to eclipse the volume of Ireland's production, causing the government to enact protective tariffs. There was market speculation and mismanagement, causing bankruptcies. There was the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). And, worst of all, there was Prohibition in the United States.


Only four Irish distilleries were left when the dust settled: John Powers & Son, Cork Distilleries Company, and John Jameson & Son. To survive, they merged in 1966 to become Irish Distillers Limited. To make matters worse, in 1975, they closed the John Powers and John Jameson distilleries, transferring operations to the Cork facility.


The fourth surviving distillery, Bushmills, eventually joined in 1972, giving Irish Distillers a monopoly. Only Cork and Bushmills remained active.


Finally, in 1988, Irish Distillers was acquired by Pernod-Ricard. However, it sold off Bushmills to Diageo in 2005.


And that’s the extensive, lengthy, confusing history of Jameson Irish Whiskey. I’m reviewing the flagship, Jameson, and its Stout Edition and Caskmates IPA Edition. I purchased 50ml tasters of each for the purpose of this review. They can be found at pretty much any reputable liquor store.


I sipped all three neat from a Glencairn glass.


Jameson Irish Whiskey



This is the flagship expression. It is a triple-distilled, chill-filtered, blended whiskey made from both malted and unmalted barley and grain whiskey to smooth things out. The recipe actually does date back to 1780. It carries no age statement and spent its resting period in former Bourbon barrels.


Jameson is bottled at 40% ABV (80°); on average, a 750ml runs about $25.00.


Appearance:  Jameson Irish Whiskey presented as a plain Jane, golden liquid. It created a thin rim and watery tears.


Nose: The first thing I smelled was corn, followed by lemon zest, pear, apple, and honey. Drawing the air into my mouth, it was all corn.


Palate: The texture was just as advertised; it was incredibly smooth. Flavors of vanilla and corn hit the front of my palate, while the middle comprised lemon peel and pear. The back was malty and grainy.


Finish: There was something industrial about the finish, and it was otherwise distracting from the malt, corn, and lemon flavors that remained. It had a very short duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Jameson’s flagship is a basic Irish whiskey. I’ve had others in its price range that are superior. There’s absolutely nothing remarkable about it, and I’m not even sure if, in a blind tasting, I could pick it out from a host of other bottom-shelf dwellers. It's not bad; it just is (if that makes sense). It is a perfect companion for & Coke and would make a decent cocktail base. As a neat sipper, however, it is a Bust.


Jameson Irish Whiskey – Stout Edition



The Stout Edition is Jameson’s flagship whiskey finished in former Stout craft beer barrels. It, too, has no age statement and is packaged at 40% ABV (80°). This finishing process commands almost a 40% premium; a 750ml costs about $35.00.


Appearance: The Stout Edition was more of a bronze color. A massive rim created sticky droplets that clung to the side of my glass.


Nose: The aroma was caramel, coffee, and cocoa powder. Yet, I could still distinguish the citrus and honey from the flagship expression. When I inhaled through my lips, vanilla, and coffee tangoed across my tongue.


Palate: The mouthfeel was thinner than the flagship, even a smidge oily. I tasted cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and pecans on the front. Midway through, I found grapefruit and coffee; on the back, there was green peppercorn and cinnamon spice.


Finish: The cocoa powder, coffee, peppercorn, and cinnamon remained for a much longer finish than the flagship. It was slightly bitter but nothing that I’d describe as offensive.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Stout Edition and the flagship were barely the same whiskeys. This was more flavorful, and what I tasted was, well, tasty. I could easily see ordering one at a Bar if it had only the basic options. But I’m unconvinced that I’d pick one up off the liquor store shelf.


Jameson Irish Whiskey – Caskmates IPA Edition



The final entrant is the Caskmates IPA Edition. If you’re beer-stupid like me, Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is typically herbal and hoppy. Like the Stout, Jameson indicates they utilized a craft beer barrel for the finishing process. It is priced similarly to the Stout Edition.


Appearance: This version was a dustier color than the flagship expression. Its rim wasn’t as thick as the Stout but heavier than the flagship and formed watery tears.


Nose: A big blast of tangerine raced to my nostrils. Beneath that, I smelled eucalyptus, pine, toffee, and honey. In my mouth, the air tasted of eucalyptus and tangerine.


Palate: This whiskey was medium-bodied. My palate was overwhelmed by tangerine and oak. It took more than one sip to overcome the shock. Honey, tangerine, and baked apples were at the front. Corn, malt, and juniper hit the middle. Very dry oak, cinnamon spice, and cocoa powder encompassed the back.


Finish: The short finish included cocoa powder, tangerine, and dry oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I don’t drink beer, and I don’t drink gin. Caskmates IPA Edition had qualities of both. It was my least favorite of the three. As such, it takes my Bust rating.


Final Thoughts: I wasn’t in love with any of these, but the Stout Edition was the better of these options. If you want a delicious, affordable Jameson pour, I’ll direct you to Jameson Black. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.