Showing posts with label Blended Irish Whiskey Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blended Irish Whiskey Review. Show all posts

Jameson Black Barrel

”Thin Lizzy”

Whisky Review # 973

Country: Ireland 🇮🇪
Brand: Jameson Black Barrel
Distilled at: Midleton Distillery (1975), Cork, Ireland
Type: Triple Distilled Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Double-Charred Bourbon Barrels
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 25-35 (December 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😀 Okay at around US$ 25
Buying Advice: 👎 If you like affordable Jameson, stay with the Crested

Colour: Golden Sunlight (Artificially Colored)


Light, Young and a little Dusty. Perhaps 5 Years on Average. There is an initial waft of Varnish so give it some time in the glass before Nosing. It's quite Sweet with Fruit, Vanilla and Butter as the main drivers. The Alcohol is noticeable. Nothing special I'm afraid.

Main Aromas:

Malted Grain, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Butter Biscuits, Apple, Red Berry, Cherry-Flavored Candies, Grass, Forest Floor, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger and Pepper.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Syrup, Honey, Marzipan, Nectarine, Orange, Lemon, Resin, Nuts, Dusty Old Shelves, Glue, Varnish, Mint Chocolate, Tea & hints of Metal, Leather & Raw Meat.


Young, Thin and slightly Raw. Mostly Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour and Salty notes for company. Too much Caramel was added IMO. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Grass & Hay, Charred Oak, Apple, Nectarine, Strawberry, Grapefruit, Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Bourbon, Dusty Shelves, Forest Floor, Resin, Orange, Lemon, Nuts, Marzipan, Cocoa, Herbal Tea, Licorice and Metal.


Short, Young, Thin and a bit Raw. Mostly Sweet but with a few Bitter, Sour and Salty notes as well. I would assume that a generous amount of Caramel was added. I find Sugared Grains, Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Apple, Strawberry, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Orange, Dusty Track, Charred Oak, Honey, Cocoa, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Marzipan and Spices like Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger. Hints of Espresso and Licorice.

Drinking Advice: No need to add Water to the Black Barrel

Rating: 79 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 6.5 (******1/2)

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies I thought it would be confusing to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. And I have now decided to start using the 1-10 scale as of January 1, 2023. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Acceptable

Drinking Advice On the Rocks: Okay but on the Thin side


According to the information on the label, this Jameson matured in Double-Charred Ex-Bourbon barrels. I suspect however that a bit of Sherried Wood was used also.

I bought a bottle of the Black Barrel at the Duty Free Shop here at the Sao Paulo International Airport. I bought it because it was cheap and I had not yet reviewed it. The good thing about this purchase was exactly that. I have now reviewed it and it is indeed Cheap. Did I like it a lot? No. It's Thin, Young and a bit Rough. It's not interesting enough as a sipping Whiskey so I will probably finish my bottle on the rocks perhaps adding a bit of JW Black for additional flavor. I'm not a big fan of the regular Jameson expressions and this Black Barrel does nothing to change my mind. If you are into affordable Jameson though I think you should go for the Crested

Cheers! 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                   December 29, 2022

Roe & Co Batch 1 Review

“The Irish Walker”

Whisky Review # 832

Country: Ireland
Brand: Roe & Co. Batch # 1
Distilled: Unknown
Bottled By: Roe & Co, Dublin (Diageo)
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: First Fill and Refill Ex Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 25-35 (September 2019)
Buying Advice:😒There's good well-priced Irish Whiskey. So why go for Roe?


Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)


Young, Light and Sweet. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable. There's not a lot of Depth on the Nose. Hints of Rye Whiskey and Peppered Vodka.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Artificially-Flavoured Candies (Pear, Apple), Dusty Wood, Dusty Track, Varnish, Dried Herbs, Rye, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Molasses, Honey, Orange, Banana Leaves, Lemon-Flavoured Detergent, Nut Shells, Caffe Latte, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Tobacco.

Image result for st,.james gate distillery
Design of the New Still House

Young and Sugary Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes. The Grain Alcohol is way too present & it tastes like a combination of Blended Scotch, Rye Whiskey, Slivovitz and Peppered Vodka. It didn't really invite me to have another sip.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Green Apple, Unripe Banana, Bitter Orange Juice, Dusty Oak, Grass, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon and Menthol. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Molasses, Honey, Nut Shells, Lemon, Pear Drops, Bounty Bars, Dusty Earth, Nutmeg, Rye and Aniseed.


Short and Sugary-Sweet. Increasing Bitterness and Sourness towards the end. Quite Creamy though. I find Toasted Grains, Grain Alcohol, Burnt Toast, Toffee, Honey, Dried Herbs, Rye, Green Apple, Unripe Pear, Bitter Orange Juice, Dairy, Dusty Oak, Iron, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Nut Shells and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water weakens this Blend even more. This is not a sipping Whisky.

Rating: 79

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Regular


The Brand Roe & Co was launched by George Roe & Co in the 19th century. Its Distillery in Thomas Street, Dublin was the largest in the country at that time. The Brand name was bought by Diageo, losing out on the Irish Market after having sold Bushmills a few years ago. Diageo is also building a new distillery to be called St. James's Gate and situated quite close to the site of the old George Roe distillery. In anticipation, Diageo launched the Roe & Co Blend in 2017. It's a Blend of Grain and Single Malt Whisky and a high number of First-Fill Bourbon casks are said to have been used for maturation. The Blend is bottled at 45% and is not Chill-Filtered. Every bottle mentions the Batch # and Bottle Number. Various distilleries supply the ingredients for the Blend.

Diageo presents this Roe & Co as a luxury Blend, especially suitable for cocktails and long-drinks. Bottle and Presentation are certainly nice but since I'm not really much of a cocktail fan I wouldn't know about the mixing qualities. I do know it's not a sipping Whiskey! It's very Young & Sugary Sweet and the Grain Alcohol rules. I can't detect any substantial Malt influence. It smells and tastes like a mixture of Bottom Shelf Blended Scottish Whisky, Rye Whiskey, Slivovitz and Peppered Vodka. In short it's not my thing. Johnny Walker Red goes Irish! Help!!!!


Jan van den Ende                                                          September 17, 2019

Image result for st,.james gate distillery

Jameson Select Reserve Review

“Light and Fruity”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch 
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS. (Probably around 12 Years for the Pot Still and 5 Years for the Grain).
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Toasted Grain, Malt, Puff Pastry, Butterkekse, Toffee, Vanilla Ice Cream, Resin, Oak, Pear Drops, Nectarine, Papaya Cream, Apple, Milky Way, slightly Sour Cherries, ripe Bananas, light Citrus, Almonds, Cinnamon, Ginger, Floral notes and Chocolate. I was expecting to find clear Sherry - and Charred Oak notes but that's not the case. On the Nose, the Select Reserve's main drivers are Toasted Cereals and Fruit. A true "Breakfast" Whiskey. The Alcohol is there but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures. There are of course some similarities with the Standard Jameson but the Select Reserve gives a more mature impression. The Fruity notes are more pronounced as well. 

Palate: Weak arrival. This expression deserves a higher ABV. On the Palate, this Jameson is Light, Bitter-Sweet and a little Herbal. I find Toasted Cereals, Malt, Vanilla, Oak, Coconut, Apple, Pear, Banana, light Citrus, Nectarine, Nuts, Resin, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, White Wine and Chocolate.

Finish: Short and Bitter-Sweet with Vanilla, Cereals, Pear Drops, Nectarine, light Banana, light Citrus, Oak, Toffee, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, light Pepper and light Licorice. A distant hint of Nail Polish.

Rating: 82 

Nose: 21.5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 20 – Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The Old Jameson distillery was founded in 1780. Today this Whiskey is produced at the Midleton Distillery. This Blend was originally known as Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch containing both Pot Still- and Small Batch Grain Whiskey and matured in a mix of First Fill and Re-Fill Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks. The Grain Whiskey for this specific Jameson is only distilled once a year. It is my understanding that both Malted and Un-Malted Barley is used in the production process and that the Pot Still Whiskey matures in the Ex- Sherry Casks while the Grain Whiskey matures in the Ex-Bourbon (Wild Turkey) casks. Late 2013, the Select Reserve was replaced by the Black Barrel. The information around this Blend is a bit confusing but I assume that it's basically the same Spirit. The Ex-Bourbon casks used for the Black Barrel are charred twice, hence the name. The sample I'm tasting today is the Select Reserve. I will try to get a sample of the Black Barrel as well in order to verify if there are any differences between the two. Like most Irish Whiskey, Jameson is Triple-Distilled. It is the best selling Irish Whiskey world-wide. This Blend is reasonably priced at around 40 US Dollars per bottle (December 2015).  

No need to add Water to this Blend. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: The Select Reserve is not a bad Irish Whiskey and certainly more interesting than the Standard Jameson. It could have been even better though with an adequate ABV. The 40% does not do justice to the Spirit. The Select Reserve's main Flavours and Aromas are Toasted Grain, Vanilla and Fruit. It's not a very complicated Whiskey. This is also the reason why I'm not a huge fan of Irish Whiskey in general. Although I usually like the Nose, I find them slightly uneventful on the Palate and in the Finish. Still, the Price/Quality ratio is good and if you like a Light and Fruity Whiskey and you're a big fan of the Standard Jameson you can't go wrong with this Select Reserve!  

Jan van den Ende                                                             December 21, 2015

Tullamore Dew Review

Country: Ireland
Brand: Tullamore Dew
Type: Blended Whiskey
Age: NAS
ABV: 40%
Date: 02/12/2013

Colour: Light Gold

Nose: Grains, Hardtack Biscuits, Nuts, Pine Needles, Citrus-Peel, Straw, Sharp Alcohol, light Rubber, Wood/Pencil Shavings, Malt and a hint of Banana.

Taste: Sweet and Watery Delivery. Some Grains, Nut Shells, Charred Wood, Sugar, Alcohol, Pepper, Salt and Cardamom.

Finish: Short with Alcohol, Caramel, Margarine, Grains, Salt and Pepper.

I added a few drops of Water but that completely kills this spirit.  

Rating: 70.5     

Nose: 18 - Taste: 17.5 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 17.5

General Remarks: Tullamore Dew is produced by William Grant & Sons. The most important spirits that form the Tullamore Dew Blend are produced by the 
New Middleton Distillery, owned by Pernod-Ricard. The Tullamore Dew contains mainly Grain Whiskeys as well as some malted and unmalted Triple-Distilled Barley Whiskeys. It sells at between 25 and 30 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average.

Conclusion: This is easily the weakest Irish Whiskey I have tasted so far. It smells and tastes like industrial Alcohol. It's probably okay for mixing if you are looking for an alternative for cheap Vodka. But there is no pleasure in sipping this Tullamore either neat or over a little Ice. And it's not extremely cheap mind you! Jameson and Bushmills are a tad better and deliver more Value for Money. 

Jan van den Ende                                                           December 2013

Kilbeggan Review

Country: Ireland
Brand: Kilbeggan
Type: Blended Whiskey
Age: NAS
ABV: 40%
Date: 30/11/2012

Colour: Pale Straw/Light Amber

Nose: Light. Some Citrus (mainly Lemon), Slightly Sharp Grain, Acetone, Plastic, Oak, Malt, Creamy Vanilla, Light Spices, Pear and Toast with Margarine and Pineapple Marmalade. The Alcohol is nicely subdued. It's not bad but  I can't get very excited about it either.

Taste: Sweet Grain, Caramel, Malt, Salted Nuts, Nougat, Oak, Lemon, Light Spices. All in all utterly forgettable. I almost fell asleep while tasting!

Finish: Sweet Grain, Barley Sugar, Pepper, Oak and Licorice. Dryer towards the end. The Licorice comes back after a couple of minutes.

I added a few drops of Water and that takes the sharp edges of the Nose. Although it becomes even lighter, you will get some Honey and Fruit in return. Palate and Finish however get too thin and slightly bitter as well. As the Nose is the best part of this whiskey anyway, I would advise you to Nose the Kilbeggan both neat and with a bit of water. 

Rating:   77.5    (out of 100)
Nose: 20  - Taste: 19  - Finish:  19 - Overall: 19.5

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery 

General Remarks: The Old Kilbeggan Distillery, formerly known as Brosna Distillery and Locke's Distillery is located on the banks of the river Brosna in Westmeath County. It was founded in 1757 and finally closed in 1957. Twenty-Five years later it became a Whiskey Distillery Museum. In the 80's, the Cooley Distillery bought the licence to produce Kilbeggan. Since 2010 the Kilbeggan is operational again but their first whiskies will only reach the market in 2014. The Blend we test today was still produced at the Cooley Distillery. But it is still matured in the old granite Kilbeggan warehouses in used Bourbon casks. It's cheap at around US$ 18.   

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: In general I'm not too thrilled by Irish Whiskey so far. As always there are exceptions to the rule like the Redbreast 12 and the Green Spot. But most of them a bit too light for my taste. I also often find this Plastic/Acetone off-note that I don't care for. Unfortunately the Kilbeggan is not an exception but it follows the general rule. As such I most likely won't come back to this spirit in future days.

Jan van den Ende                                                               November 2012

O' Kanagan Irish Whiskey Review

Country: Ireland
Brand: O’Kanagan
Type: Triple Distilled Blended Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 40%
Date: 19/08/2012

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Chardonnay)

Nose: Very Light. It’s almost non-existing. You have to dig deep here to get Slightly Sharp Grain, Oak, Light Alcohol, Malt, Lemon Peel, Vanilla, Bread Dough. Very light Notes of Toast with Margarine and a little Honey.

Taste: Very light on the Palate. Malt and Oak. Hot, Spicy and slightly Bitter. Almost nothing is happening here.

Finish: Extremely Short. Bit of Sugar, Wood and Hot Spices. A hint of Licorice at the end.

I added a bit of water but it does not make a lot of difference. You can try it either way.

Rating: 71 
Nose: 19 – Taste: 17.5 – Finish: 17– Overall: 17.5

General Remarks: I can’t find any essential information on this Blend other than that it is composed of Irish Grain and Malt Whiskeys. It is distilled in Ireland, maybe by the Cooley Distillery. It is (probably) bottled and (certainly) distributed by Distillery Group Toorank BV, a Dutch based Distilling company with distilleries in the Netherlands and Poland that produce a.o. liquors and rum. I’ve read somewhere that Canada is one of the main markets for this Blend. It’s a cheap blend at around US$ 20,-

Drinking Experience Straight: Not Satisfying.

Conclusion: I had never heard of this Blend before and I can see why. While the Nose, although very faint, is not unpleasant, Palate and Finish have almost nothing to show for. I seldom have tested a whisky with so little Taste and such a short Finish. It’s probably usable as a mixing Alcohol for Fruit Cocktails but I can’t recommend this when you like to drink your dram neat.  

Jan van den Ende                                                                 August 2012