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Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson is the number 1 Irish Whiskey worldwide, triple distilled, perfectly balanced and of an outstanding, rounded taste. John Jameson founded his distillery in 1780 in Dublin with the intention of producing the best Whiskey in the world. 230 years from then, it is still receiving credit for its remarkably enjoyable taste. Today, Jameson is still being produced in the distilleries in Midleton and Cork in Ireland. The production follows the founder’s tradition of using the finest ingredients and triple distillation in order to achieve the enjoyable taste the trademark of the Jameson brand stands for.

The John Jameson and Son Irish Whiskey company was formally established in 1810 when John Jameson and his son (also John Jameson) took ownership of the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin which had originally been built by his wife's cousins, the Steins, in 1780. Jameson was a Scottish lawyer from Alloa in Clackmannanshire who had married Margaret Haig, a sister of the Haig brothers who owned the Haig distilleries. Margaret Haig was a first cousin of the Steins, a Scottish distilling family, also from Clackmannanshire, with significant distilling interests in Scotland and Dublin. After his marriage to Margaret Haig in 1786, John Jameson moved with his new wife to Dublin to manage the Stein's Bow Street Distillery (which had been established in 1780) for Margaret's uncle, from the Stein side of the family. This explains the use of the year 1780, in Jameson marketing, as the Bow Street Distillery was where Jameson Irish Whiskey was born. Portraits of John and Margaret Jameson, by Sir Henry Raeburn, are a part of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Originally one of the six main Dublin whiskeys, Jameson is now distilled in Cork. In 2013, annual sales topped 4.7 million cases (56.4 million bottles). Jameson is by far the best selling Irish whiskey in the world, as it has been sold internationally, since the early 19th century. The United States is the largest market for Jameson Whiskey, with consumption up by 12% in 2013.

Company history

When John Jameson, a Scottish businessman, became manager of the Stein family Bow Street Distillery in 1786, it was producing about 30,000 gallons annually. By the turn of the 19th century, it was the second largest producer in Ireland and one of the largest in the world, producing 1,000,000 gallons annually. Dublin, at the time, was the center of world whiskey production. It was the second most popular spirit in the world after rum and, internationally, Jameson had, by 1805, become the world's number one whiskey. Today, Jameson is the world's third largest single-distillery whiskey.

Historical events, for a time, set the company back. The temperance movement in Ireland had an enormous impact domestically, but two key events that affected Jameson were the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent trade war with the British which denied Jameson the export markets of the Commonwealth, and shortly thereafter, the introduction of prohibition in the United States. While Scottish brands could easily slip across the Canada–US border, Jameson was excluded from its biggest market for many years.

The historical pot still at the Jameson distillery in Cork.

The introduction of column stills by Scottish blenders in the mid-19th-century enabled increased production that the Irish, still making labor-intensive single pot still whiskey, could not compete with. There was a legal enquiry somewhere in 1908 to deal with the trade definition of whiskey. Scottish producers won within some jurisdictions, and blends became recognized, in light of the law of that jurisdiction, as whiskey. The Irish, in general, and Jameson in particular, continued with the traditional pot still production process for many years.

In 1966 John Jameson merged with Cork Distillers and John Powers to form the Irish Distillers Group. In 1976, the Dublin whiskey distilleries of Jameson in Bow Street and in John's Lane were closed following the opening of a New Midleton Distillery by Irish Distillers outside Cork. The Midleton Distillery now produces much of the Irish whiskey sold in Ireland under the Jameson, Midleton, Powers, Redbreast, Spot and Paddy labels. The new facility adjoins the Old Midleton Distillery, the original home of the Paddy label, which is now home to the Jameson Experience Visitor Centre and the Irish Whiskey Academy. The Jameson brand was acquired by the French drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1988, when it bought Irish Distillers. The old Jameson Distillery in Bow Street near Smithfield in Dublin now serves as a museum, which offers tours and tastings. The distillery went through a $12.6 million renovation that was concluded in March 2016, and is now a focal part of Ireland's strategy to raise the number of tourists interested in whiskey, which stood at 600,000 in 2017.

In 2008, The Local, an Irish pub in Minneapolis, sold 671 cases of Jameson (22 bottles a day), making it the largest server of Jameson's in the world – a title it maintained for four consecutive years.

Production process

Jameson is produced from a blend of grain whiskey and single pot still whiskey, which uses a mixture of malted and unmalted or "green" Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty-mile radius around the distillery in Cork. The barley is dried in a closed kiln, fired by natural gas (formerly anthracite coal). This is in contrast to the traditional method, used in some Scotch whiskey distilleries, which fire the kiln with peat, adding a distinctive peat flavor.


Jameson products – in particular its 18-Year and its Rarest Reserve – have rated very highly at international spirit ratings competitions. The 18-Year received a series of gold and double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between 2005 and 2010. The Rarest Reserve has won gold and double gold medals there as well. Rarest Reserve is rated as one of the Top 20 whiskies in the world by Proof66.

John Jameson was also the great grandfather of inventor, Guglielmo Marconi.

As well as Jameson Original, other Jameson expressions include:

Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve (formerly known as Jameson 1780)

Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve (available at their two visitor centers in Ireland and also available from their online shop.)

Jameson Gold Reserve (the only variety of Jameson that uses virgin American oak)

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (Jameson's oldest and rarest whiskey components)

Jameson Signature Reserve (exclusive to travel retail and duty-free shops around the world)

Jameson Black Barrel

Jameson Black Barrel Cask Strength (exclusive to Jameson Distillery Bow St. and Jameson Distillery Midleton visitor centers)

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition (finished in Irish craft beer-seasoned barrels)

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition (finished in craft Irish Pale Ale-seasoned barrels from Franciscan Well Brewery)

Jameson Crested

Jameson Distillery Edition (exclusive to Jameson Distillery Bow St. and Jameson Distillery Midleton visitor centers)

Jameson The Cooper's Croze (The Whiskey Makers Series)

Jameson The Blender's Dog (The Whiskey Makers Series)

Jameson The Distiller's Safe (The Whiskey Makers Series)

Jameson Bold (The Deconstructed Series)

Jameson Round (The Deconstructed Series)

Jameson Lively (The Deconstructed Series)