I don’t know too much about Irish whiskey (as I have noted before). I believe this Black Barrel is a blend like the regular Jameson, though priced a rung above. Indeed, a quick glance at the official website confirms this. It also informs me that this is matured only in ex-bourbon barrels–whereas the regular Jameson seems to be from bourbon and sherry casks–and contains a larger proportion of pot still whiskey in the blend; and like all Jamesons this is triple-distilled. The barrels would seem to be charred more than usual a la the Ardbeg Alligator (hence the name, I suppose). Let’s have at it.
Jameson Select Reserve, Black Barrel (40%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Soft vanilla, toasted (dried) coconut and some grainy spice. The toasted coconut transitions quickly to lightly toasted wood. Very clean but not a whole lot happening. After a few minutes it gets quite neutral and borderline unexpressive–wait, there’s something that puts me in mind of talcum powder. Water doesn’t do anything for the nose.
Palate: Very thin mouthfeel. Sweet entry but then turns sharp and metallic and more than a little woody on the swallow. There’s really nothing more to say. I have a feeling water may make it nastier, but here goes. Well, that’s a relief: water doesn’t make it any nastier; doesn’t make it any better either, unfortunately. Oh well.
Finish: Longer than I’d like it to be. That sweet, metallic astringency from the palate continues.
Comments: I’m not sure at what stage in the bottle’s life this sample was poured but as is, while the nose is inoffensive, the palate and finish verge on the nasty. This can keep the Compass Box Hedonism company. The Hedonism will be pleased as this Jameson makes it look better. Probably best used in mixed drinks, but there too you can do as well with cheaper and better whiskies. Completely inessential.
Rating: 68 points.
Thanks to Florin for the sample (and for helping me guard against grade inflation)!