Don’t expect to be doing shots of Jameson Bow Street 18 Years at the bar.
In America, Jameson is practically synonymous with Irish whiskey. If you’ve never been convinced to do a shot of Jameson against your better judgment, you should probably find some sleazier friends and hang out with them at seedier bars. With that in mind, here’s some news that might make you shudder: Jameson has released what is likely its strongest globally available whiskey ever. But don’t expect to be doing shots of this new Jameson alongside your pint of Guinness. This first cask strength Jameson has a flavor profile—and a price point—intended for sipping.
Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength clocks in at 55.3 percent ABV, more than 15 percentage points higher than the standard 40 percent Jameson Irish Whiskey you know and (may or may not) love. As the “Cask Strength” name implies, this bottling offers Jameson at the same strength as when it finishes its maturation, unlike most other Jameson expressions that are diluted down to their lower ABV. “With this first ever global launch of a cask strength Jameson, I’m thrilled that Irish whiskey fans around the world can now experience the full intensity of our whiskey or add a few drops of water to enjoy it at their own preferred strength,” said master blender Billy Leighton.
But strength is far from the only different in this Bow Street offering. First, unlike your standard Jameson which is aged for a minimum of four years, this Cask Strength Jameson was aged for 18 years. (A different 40 percent ABV Jameson 18 Years is also available.) It spends 17 of those years in bourbon and sherry casks before being married and re-casked in first-fill ex-Bourbon American oak barrels for an additional six to 12 months. The results are described by the brand as offering a nose of “rich wood-driven influence with deep toffee notes and spice” followed by additional flavors of oak, leather, and vanilla. Meanwhile, all those years of aging come at a price: €240, or about $290, per bottle. (An official U.S. price and release date isn’t yet known, but it will likely launch here around August.)
Jameson recognizes that it’s all a bit different from what they usually do. “While Jameson's approachability has been key to its success, we had an opportunity with Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength to reinforce the more serious whiskey side of the brand's heritage,” Simon Fay, international marketing director at Irish Distillers, was quoted as saying. “Consumers are looking for increased choice in style and quality in Irish whiskey and Jameson, as the category leader, is committed to satisfying this appetite.”
Yes, this is also one of the classiest Jamesons ever. So go ahead and tell your new sleazy friends you don’t need them anymore.