Saturday, August 1, 2015

First Taste - Jameson Caskmates

Brothers of Another Mother

Tales of the Cocktail brings some of the world's most influential bartenders, writers, bar owners, and (ahem) influencers to New Orleans, making it an ideal place for companies to introduce new products.  This year I tasted many new products, but the one that I am the most excited about is  Jameson Caskmates.

The story starts out exactly how you want it to (ie not in a boardroom).

This story starts with two guys in a bar.  Drinking beer.  Drinking really amazing Irish Beer side by side with a pour of Jameson.  One guy is the "Head of Whiskey Science" at Jameson, David Quinn, the other is the Founder and Brew Master of Franciscan Well, Shane Long.  Long asked Quinn for a few spare barrels to age his beer, and Quinn happily obliged.

Shane Long of Franciscan Well and David Quinn of Midleton Distillery
Franciscan Well received a dozen of 2nd fill barrels, who filled them with their signature stout and let them age for a time ranging between 1 month minimum and 3 months, carefully controlling the time and temperature of the barrels to achieve the desired aging affects.  The result is a stout that is creamy and velvety with flavors of chocolate pie and toasted nuts, and a distinct sweet and sour flavor that comes from the Jameson barrels.

The barrels were then sent back to Jameson, where Quinn filled them with barrel strength Jameson (60% ABV) that was on its way to the bottling line.  He then forgot about the barrels.

5 months later the warehouse manager came back to Quinn and asked him what he wanted to do with the barrels.  Not expecting much, they opened one of them and tasted the whiskey.  They were surprised to find that the creamy chocolate flavors of the stout had transferred back to the whiskey!  The result is reminiscent of the Jameson you know and love, but with aromas of toasted oats, green apple, coffee, and caramel, and flavors of chocolate pie, caramel, hops, dark cherries, and dark chocolate with a long butterscotch finish and a hint of pepper.

Jameson, Jameson Cask aged Franciscan Well, Jameson Caskmates
Head of Whiskey Science - David Quinn

Needless to say, if you see Caskmates in the liquor store.  Buy it.  Buy two.  With only 3,500 bottles produced, this delicious release is going to go fast.   

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Following the tasting we moved on to the Pot Still room where we tasted a few other rare releases from the Midleton distillery including the delicious Very Rare and the wonderfully complex Asylum Seeker Red Breast cocktail.

The Asylum Seeker

Asylum Seeker

2 oz. Redbreast 12
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. coffee/chicory syrup
¼ oz. pecan syrup
1 dash Pernod Absinthe
3 blackberries

Shake the ingredients, and pour over crushed ice into a highball glass. Garnish with blackberries.

After the tasting I indulged in a delicious Jameson and Ginger Slushie, the perfect antidote to the New Orleans summer heat.  This is one recipe I need to figure out how to make if I'm ever going to survive New York's heat this summer...  Suggestions are welcome.

 Read more about the Pernod Ricard Welcome Party 2015 Here >>

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