Jameson Signature Reserve Review


Jameson Signature Reserve Review

Distillery: Jameson
Expression: Signature Reserve
Blended Scotch

The Signature Reserve used to only be sold at international duty-free shops but it’s now more widely available.
It is certainly a step up from the regular Jameson, the finish being the main improvement.

Jameson Signature Reserve Review Tasting Notes

Nose:  Dried apricot, raspberry
Palate:  Caramel, Toffee, Clove, Hints of vanilla
Finish:  Long, light, refreshing finish with a pleasant sting.

Score 83 / 100

Redbreast 15 Review


Redbreast 15 Review

Distillery: Redbreast
Expression: Redbreast 15
Category: Single Pot Still

ABV: 46

Along with the delectable Green Spot Whiskey, Redbreast is one of the few remaining single pot still whiskeys available.

Named after the red-breasted fly catcher, Redbreast is produced by Middleton distilleries in Cork County, Ireland.


Where is my royalty check, bitch?

Through a stroke of good luck we managed to get our mitts upon on a few bottles of Redbreast 15 (no small feat in Taiwan.)

To celebrate the occasion, I invited a few maniacal-malt-marauders over for a good ole’ fashioned tasting session.

After sampling a few single malts I casually slid the Redbreast across the bar.

Truth be told, some of these Scotch snobs nearly blew a head gasket when they glimpsed an Irish invader in their presence.

The tension was so palpable, you cut could it with a knife.

They were not amused.

“An Irish whiskey, huh? This ought to be interesting!”
“Is this really necessary? We’ve got plenty of good Scotches to last the evening.”
“Ah, feck!”
“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

Yet through all the chaos, the Redbreast 15 remained undaunted.

Silently it stood it’s ground, the bottle glistening like a gem in the moonlit night.

I tried pouring a hearty dram for all but  the skeptical Scotch-o-philes shushed me with a wave of their fingers to indicate that a wee portion was more than enough.

Yet upon first sip, their Haggus lovin’ taste buds immediately perked up and started singing a different tune.

The first fellow told me it twas the finest “whiskey” …  AND “whisky” he EVER tasted.
Meanwhile, another lad started humming the opening bars of “Danny Boy” under his breath.
Still another cradled his empty glass and began begging like an orphaned street urchin from Oliver Twist.
“Please sir, may I have another?”

Needless to say, I was happy to oblige and we all enjoyed several “mighty drams” before calling it a night.

So what makes this whiskey so special?

For starters, the triple distillation helps smooth out the rough edges while the unmalted barley adds additional depth and flavor.

Redbreast has a wonderful mouthfeel to it that’s simultaneously oily and creamy and engulfs your entire palate.

It tantalizes every taste bud with a complex medley of mellow fruitiness and spice and it leaves behind a toasted almond and chocolate aftertaste.

At 46% this is an extremely well-balanced and complex whiskey with all notes intermingling and coexisting in perfect harmony.

If you happen to spot a Redbreast 15 in the wild, no matter which continent you may be on, be sure to swoop in and pick it up before it flies away.

Redbreast 15 Tasting Notes

Nose: Toasted wood, various spices, chocolate fudge, orange peel
Palate: Nutella, caramel, ripe fruits, hints of sherry, oily and creamy mouthfeel
Finish: Smooth yet powerful. Wonderful end to a masterful concerto.

Score: 92 / 100

Jameson Gold Reserve Review

Jameson Gold Reserve

Jameson Gold Reserve Review

Distillery: Jameson
Expression: Gold Reserve
Category: Blended Whiskey
Region: Ireland
ABV: 43%

The Gold Reserve is a blend of  three aged whiskies that were aged in American Virgin Oak (the only Jameson that uses this method), bourbon, and sherry casks.

Although this seems as if it could lead to a balanced whiskey with lots of little nuances to pick up, the imperialist American Oak bullies and overpowers its allies, leading to a bland, woody whisky drinking experience.

It pales in comparison to the outstanding Jameson 12 Special Reserve which is more complex at a significantly lower price.

The Jameson Gold Reserve is just too peppery and oaky with nothing extraordinary to liven things up.

Very drinkable albeit, just nothing spectacular for all the hype.

Jameson Gold Reserve
When you consider the price point, overall quality of the whiskey, and the trick box packaging (as pictured above, purchased at the duty-free shop in Bangkok), which gives you the illusion you’re getting a much larger bottle, I can’t think of a more fitting video than the one below.

Jameson Gold Reserve Tasting Notes

Nose:  Citrus rind, caramel, ethyl alcohol
Palate:  Very light and peppery with overtones of oak
Finish:  Quick and dry. Mellow and ghost-like.  Lacks fullness and flavor

Score 81 / 100

Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Special Reserve Review



Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Special Reserve

Distillery: Tullamore D.E.W. 
Expression: 12 Special Reserve
Blended Whiskey

The Tullamore D.E.W. is an intriguing triple distilled blend of the three types of Irish whiskies, matured in bourbon and sherry casks for at least 12 years.

However, the pot still character takes center stage.

It’s quite a leap up in quality from the regular Tullamore D.E.W. and it certainly represents itself nicely in the NT$1,000 (US$30) range.

It took home the World Whiskies Award for Best Irish Whiskey 12 Years and Under in 2011 and after a few sips it’s easy to see why.

If you’re growing tired of smoked-out peaty scotches, give this dessert whiskey a go as and treat your taste buds to something new.

Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Special Reserve 
Tasting Notes

Nose:  Pot-still meets bourbon
Palate:  Creamy texture with some vanilla, sherry, and chocolate hazelnut.
Finish:  Medium-length with a slight burn and hints of almond.

Score 87/ 100

Connemara Cask Strength Review


Connemara Cask Strength Review

Distillery: Cooley Distillery
Expression: Cask Strength Peated Single Malt
Category: Single Malt (Yes it is! No misprint)

ABV: 57.9


At 57.9% this powerful peat monster isn’t your typical Irish whiskey that amuses you with lighthearted fruity limericks and tickles your senses with mild spices.

Oh, no, no, no ….

Connemara Cask Strength is an uncontrollable  juggernaut that burns down your palate with the blaze of an Über-Islay Scotch and then reincarnates your soul in the middle of a chocolate-barley-hazelnut wonderland.

Typically, I’m all for adding a bit of water to high-proof whiskeys to take reduce the alcohol burn and detect some hidden notes.

But in this case, I prefer to unleash the Connemara on my taste buds full-on, letting the demon run rampant like a prime Genghis Khan, destroying everything in its path before giving way to an eloquent smoothness.

If you’re an Islay fan hunt down a bottle of this stuff, crack it open in the aisle of the liquor, and watch as the heavens split open and the angels start dancing on your taste buds when you take your first sip.

Connemara Cask Strength Tasting Notes

Nose: Lemon, Sawdust, Light peat
Palate: Agressive peat, malted cereal, chocolate, barley, spice
Finish: Peat gives way to a delectable malted, burnt-hazelnut  long-lasting and quite memorable finish


Green Spot Irish Whiskey Review

Green Spot Irish Whiskey


Green Spot Irish Whiskey Review

Distillery: Mitchell & Sons
Expression: Green Spot (whiskies aged 8 to 9 years)
Blended Single Pot Still Whiskey


Green Spot is one of the few remaining Irish bonded whiskeys available. It’s produced by Irish Distillers and sold exclusively to Mitchell & Son, a a Dublin based wine merchant, who is in charge of its distribution. Only 1,200 bottles are produced annually, and most of that is sold in Ireland. But through some stroke of luck, we were able to locate a few bottles of the stuff in a Taiwanese specialty shop.

Green Spot is unique for many reasons. It’s a blend of single pot still whiskies, each aged between 8-9 years. 25% of  the whiskeys used are finished in sherry casks, while the remaining 75% is aged in bourbon barrels.

There’s a big green blotch no the cap of the bottle. The green color — or“spot” — used to indicate how long the whiskey would be kept in cask. It’s sister Yellow Spot is another single pot still whiskey, but it’s bottled at 46% and features a blend of 12-year old whiskeys.

This whisky is super sneaky. Like Bruce Willis’ character in the Sixth Sense, you never really see what’s coming until the bottle’s almost empty. It’s a bit perplexing in the beginning and takes a while for your taste buds to figure out what’s going on.  

Green Spot masquerades itself as a timid dram initially … but slowly releases a few more notes with each sip. Then it switches things up like a shape-shifter.

If you have any friends who insist that single malts are far more complex than blended whiskeys, pour them a dram of this and watch their heads explode.

Green Spot Tasting Notes

Nose: Uniquely aromatic, musky, layered complexity, nostalgic sherry-dust
Palate: Medium-light body, light smoke, malt
Finish: Short warming finish, smooth, leaves you wanting more

Score 90/100

Bushmills 1608 Special Edition Review

Bushmills 1608

Bushmills 1608 (400th Anniversary Whiskey)

Distillery: Bushmills
Expression: 1608 (400th Anniversary Whiskey)
Blended Whiskey
Region: Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland


I must admit I was  pretty darn excited to get my mitts on a bottle of this stuff. It’s a celebration of the 400th anniversary from when King James issued the Antrim region of Ireland (where Bushmills is located) a license to distill whiskey in 1608.

If that wasn’t enough, it also took home the prize for “Best Irish Blended Whiskey” at the 2008 World Whiskey Awards.

The Bushmills 1608 is a  blend of Irish grain and crystal whiskeys aged in either American Oak or Spanish sherry casks. As always, when it comes to Bushmills smooth is the name of the game. But in the end, I don’t feel it lived up to the price tag or the hype.

At 46%, I wasn’t expecting the extra intensity in the finish, but it’s certainly tolerable. Not a bad whiskey by any stretch of the imagination. However, the 10-year old (at less than half the price) brings a lot more bang for the buck than this one. Still worth a gander though …. especially if you’re a fan of Bushmill.

Bushmills 1608 Tasting Notes

Nose: Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Spice, Vanilla, Malty.
Palate: Creamy mouth-feel, clove, grainy, malty, marzipan
Finish: Medium length but somewhat intense finish.

Score 86/100

Jameson Review

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Review

Distillery: Jameson
Expression: Jameson (No Age)
Category: Blended Whiskey
Region: Ireland
ABV: 40%

Jameson ain’t the most complex whisky in the wagon but IT IS quite drinkable and pretty darn cheap.

There are a TON of better Irish whiskies out there IF you’re looking to savor.

Powers John Lane, Green Spot, Redbreast, older Jameson expressions (18, Signature Reserve, etc.) to name a few.

Only  problem is you’re gonna have to pony up A LOT MORE CASH to stock THOSE GUYS on your shelf.

Aside from price, Jameson is quite the versatile bugger.

You can use it for mixing whisky and sodas and other simple cocktails if that’s your thang.

THIS JERK keeps a bottle around for the occasional day when an Irish coffee is required an afternoon-pick-me-up.

I believe now they’re also referred to as weekdays.

Jameson Tasting Notes

Nose:  Bright citrus, toffee, light pepper, a bit of clove, ethanol
Palate: Ultra-light mouthfeel. Almost to the point of blandness. Yet the notes that are there are really enjoyable. Woody toffee caramel vanilla. A little hing of cinnamon.
Finish: Extremely short. You get a quick-spicy burn before it quickly fades away.

Score: 74 / 100

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