Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel (aka Small Batch)
Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel, NAS, 40 %
On Monday we attended a whisky tasting featuring six Irish whiskeys. My wife already reviewed the Bushmills 10 YO. Now it is my time to review the Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch.
This whiskey was originally sold under the name Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch, but on October 24, 2013, it was re-launced with the new name 'Black Barrel'. The whiskey is still (apparently) the same, but there is a change from 'Small Batch' to 'Black Barrel' on the label. This is why you will see 'Small Batch' in my bottle picture here, but when you go online to buy it you might find both variants, or as in Sweden - just 'Jameson Select Reserve'. See this article at the excellent blog Liquid Irish for more details.
Black Barrel is a blended whiskey. It is made up from pot still whiskey, and grain whiskey. Both the malt and grain components are produced at Midleton Distillery in Ireland. Pot still whiskey differs from single malt whisky in that it is made using a mix of both malted an unmalted barely.
The grain whiskey used in Black Barrel is also made from malted and unmalted barley, unlike most grain whisky in Ireland which is made from maize. Midleton only produce this grain whiskey once a year, which is the reason behind the initial name 'Small Batch' for this product.
Nose (20/25): Fruity and mild. Vanilla cream, strawberries, tropical fruits and cereal. A hint of spice.
Taste (19/25): Still fruity, and a tad more spicy now. Creamy and quite rich mouth-feel for a 40 % ABV whiskey. Vanilla.
Finish (19/25): Tending towards dry on the finish, some oak spice and tannins. Medium long. Mild caramel, fruits and some cinnamon.
Balance (19/25): Overall a balanced quality product that does not really excel in any areas.
Sláinte! - Thomas