Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review - Jameson Deconstructed Series



The Deconstructed Series is a new range from Jameson, the biggest selling Irish whiskey brand in the world.  The range will be available exclusively in the travel retail market and is part of a major restructuring for the brand.  This sees the the core range get a design revamp with the Select Reserve being renamed Black Barrel and the Crested Ten being renamed Crested and getting a worldwide distribution.   Another new range - The Whiskey Makers Series - has also been created for domestic markets.

"The restructure of the Jameson family is the most significant move in our brand’s recent history. This is an exceptionally exciting development that positions Jameson at the forefront of innovation and advance within the Irish Whiskey category."
Daniel Lundberg - Global Brand Director for Jameson.

The Jameson Deconstructed Series has been created to highlight and ampflify the three key characteristics of the original Jameson Irish Whiskey.  The three whiskeys each have a different emphasis - Bold has a high percentage of pot still whiskey included, Lively has a high percentage of grain whiskey and Round features some interesting cask maturation, including some whiskey matured in virgin oak and some in ex-fortified wine casks.


The series was first previewed at an event in Cannes in October 2015 before receiving its official launch to selected world media in May 2016 at the Midleton distillery near Cork, where Jameson is produced.  Matt was there and took part in an exclusive tasting of the range hosted by Karen Cotter, one of the distillers at Midleton.  This made him and the assembled crowd some of the first people outside of Irish Distillers to taste the whiskeys.

The Deconstructed Series will be available in global travel retail from July onwards and are all bottled at 40% ABV.  Each will cost €36 for a one litre bottle.

Our tasting notes

Jameson Bold
The colour is golden yellow and the nose has a lovely aroma of red apple, honey and vanilla.  There is an underlying note of bittersweet cereals and hints of white pepper, peach and nutmeg.  On the palate this whiskey feels creamy and sweet as soft fudge-like notes combine with plenty of vanilla and golden syrup.  Then come further notes of honey and stewed fruits (think of apple and pear).  Depth and structure are added by distinct notes of peppery cereals, cinnamon and nutmeg that develop over time.  The finish is fruity and sweet but becomes more dry and spicy with time.

Jameson Lively
The colour is pale gold and the nose is light, fresh and vibrant.  There is a mix of lovely sweet aromas (think of honey and vanilla especially) with a touch of citrus, particularly candied lemon and fresh lime.  On the palate is again light and zesty, especially to begin with.  It is sweet but light (imagine an icing sugar-like sweetness) with a lovely candied lime tangy edge.  Underneath are notes of honey and vanilla plus hints of liquorice and ginger.  In the background is also a distinct fruitiness, but one that is more reminiscent of fruit sweets or jelly than fresh fruit.  The finish is clean and short with a hint of cinnamon spice.

Jameson Round
The colour is deep gold with a hint of amber and the nose is packed with intense aromas - bittersweet cereals, vanilla and toffee apples in particular.  Underneath is something slightly nutty.  On the palate the whiskey is very soft and gentle with plenty of butterscotch, fudge and toffee notes to the fore.  Further notes of malty cereal, vanilla and almonds combine with dark dried fruits - think of raisins, prunes and figs.  All of these are backed up by some drying and warming oaky wood spice and a hint of ginger and cinnamon.  The finish maintains the fruity and malty notes as the spiciness seems more restrained.


What's the verdict?
This range is a bold step by a big brand like Jameson and one that aims to engage with and nurture a new group of whiskey drinkers, while keeping existing fans happy.  By deconstructing the original and most popular expression of Jameson they have done a clever thing and allow the consumer to choose which element they may prefer.

All three whiskeys in the Deconstructed Series are good and easy drinking.  They have made each bottling distinctly different and also put them out at a very good price.  The Bold is the most robust, the Lively is the lightest and freshest while the Round is the softest and fruitiest.  What is our favourite?  It's tricky to say and depends on mood, but we would probably go for Round.

#DeconstructedSeries

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