Review: Jameson Black Barrel Select Reserve Irish Whiskey
Jameson is one of the big darlings of the whiskey world right now — Irish is currently the fastest growing spirits category, and Jameson is at the top of the sales charts. We’ve long loved Jameson’s various incarnations, and now it’s out with a new one.
Jameson Black Barrel is mostly pot still malted and unmalted barley aged for considerably longer than standard Jameson — 12 years vs. 5 to 7, in both Bourbon and sherry casks. Then a touch of grain whiskey that’s been aged in Wild Turkey barrels is added to the mix. Bottling alcohol level remains at 80 proof.
While there’s nothing specifically “black” about Black Barrel, it’s a considerably different experience than standard label Jameson. The nose is rich, Bourbon-like, with vanilla and toasty oak notes. The body is creamy and impressively smooth, undercut with some citrus character likely brought on by the sherry cask influence. The finish offers grain notes, like a bowl of thick, raisined oatmeal, with a fleeting touch of smoke at the end. It’s night and day with regular Jameson, which is all fresh fruit and grass, with a menthol character to it. Black Barrel, side by side, very quickly overwhelms the regular bottling. As Irish whiskey goes, it’s almost decadent.