Dublin and Jameson Whiskey are bound together like Dublin and Guinness, so I decided to take the Jameson Distillery Bow Street Experience yesterday. Bow Street is north of the River Liffey and to the west of town, in an area that now houses the courthouse and many law offices, and it’s here that fine Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled. Yes, “was distilled” because in 1971 the distilling operation was moved to far away Midleton, Cork County. So, distilling did occur at Bow Street for nearly 200 years but none goes on there now. So, my “experience” was not going to include any viewing of the current distillery.
Another interesting thing about this move to Cork is that various companies pooled their resources to create the common Midleton distillery and so Jameson, Powers, Tullamore Dew, Paddy, Redbreast, Green Spot, and Yellow Spot whiskeys are all made there.
Nonetheless, the public facility on Bow Street is very handsome, with two large bars, huge old beams, and scores of empty Jameson barrels and bottles. The Experience is a high-tech, multi-media, three-room presentation that takes about 40 minutes. In that time, I and the seven others in our group learned the history of the company, received a great explanation of the brewing/distilling process, and tasted three whiskeys at the end. The middle part there, the process explanation, was very hands-on, with a variety of things to touch and smell. Did you know that whiskey production starts, essentially, by making beer?
I noticed that, at the exit of each room, there was a hand sanitizer dispenser discretely attached to the wall. Our excellent guide, Liam, used them religiously and, in this age of coronavirus worries, so did I.
For the tasting, we were given whiskeys that were single-distilled (Jack Daniels), double-distilled (Johnnie Walker Black), and triple-distilled (Jameson), and a glass of water to clear our palates between samples. It was no surprise that the Jameson was the smoothest and best-tasting. However, at no time was putting a drop of water into your whiskey discussed, which surprised me, but I was too busy downing my samples to inquire about it.
Afterwards we were ushered into a very slick gift shop and then out into the bar area. As an extra bonus, our ticket was good for one glass of the “Daily Grog” at the bar, which was a choice of Jameson neat, on ice, or with ginger and lime. I had the latter and it was sacrilegious but refreshing. I even received my Jameson Brand Ambassador Certificate.
I did manage to refrain from buying the €65 rare Jameson bottle with personalized label they were hawking. But, if you go, you might want one. The experience was fun, informative, and very well done, for €20 (€19 over 65). Tickets available online.