Sampling 10- and 20-year whiskies straight from the barrel at New Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Ireland
Jameson 18-year Limited Reserve, $86.99: The 18-year is another big award-winner, hitting my taste buds with an intense amount of peach. For me it evokes a golden summer freshness. Though I prefer it neat, it's also lovely on the rocks. A couple drops of water allow other tastes to unfold, including orange marmalade, gentle spice, nuttiness, and biscuit. It's soft yet bright, and could convert the non-whiskey drinker.
Jameson Gold Reserve, $60.99: Gold Reserve is a richer whiskey than the 12-year or Jameson Irish Whiskey. I get creamy apple on the nose, a gentle honey texture, and a peppery finish.
Jameson 12-year Special Reserve, $39.99: The 12-year won Gold this year at the SF World Spirits Competition. It's sweet and spicy with sherry, wood notes. Oddly enough, I find its astringency is softened and rounded out with food.
Jameson Irish Whiskey, $24.99: The original Jameson has never been my Irish whiskey go-to. I find it a bit hot and thin, despite sweet fruit, vanilla and nuts. But this is the great global seller in Irish whiskey, often the first introduction many have to the category.
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