Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I - Irish Whiskey taster

Been there, Done that 

Irish whiskey taster 

Jameson’s Distillery, Bow Street, Dublin

If you thought whisky was always Scotch, the Irish would be really offended.
And therefore, when in Dublin they make a song and dance about educating you on the subtle nuances of whiskey.

One of the main attractions in Dublin is the Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery on Bow Street.  A 3 hour tour on the still functional distillery is a tourist attraction, since they offer free whisky tasting as part of their entrance fee.

Essentially according to them the world of Whiskey is divided as Irish whiskey and the insignificant non-Irish types of whisky.  Ireland has had a history of whisky making.  Much before Guinness the Beer usurped their status of a whiskey drinking nation.

Irish are great storytellers and they weave an educative and interesting story which they call‘from the grain to the glasses about the process and the finesse involved in Whiskey making.
Sine Metu is their motto. And that when translated from Latin means
 ‘Never Fear ’. 

Apparently the Jameson’s family has had this motto since the 1600’s.  Legend has it that John Jameson, facing middle age crisis arrived in Dublin and took up a job as the general manager of the distillery and ran its operations.

Ok let us get it out over here. 
John Jameson got his job easily. And that is because he arrived from Scotland probably armed with a CV that had in it, years of experience in Whiskey making.   

Oh yes … the founder of the original Irish whiskey was a Scotsman.  (Then why all this fuss!!!)   

Nepotism possibly wasn’t a bad word in the 1800’s and thus John Jameson passed his legacy to John Jameson II, then John Jameson III and then John Jameson IV.  John Jameson as sons established the brand in a whiskey distillery area that in it’s hey days had many distilleries in Bow Street.

As a part of the distillery tour you get taken to where the barrels are maturing with the distilled malt buried in those huge wooden casks. There is a subtle difference between how the Irish whiskey is distilled vs. the scotch whiskey is distilled in Scotland vs. how that American whiskey is distilled in the Americas.

Then comes the whisky tasting session. 

The tour guide calls for four volunteers and there are many.  (Huh ... obviously!!!) . 

He has to make the choices. But then there is a hitch. These are days of being politically correct and gender inclusive.

The hands that went up were all that of men.  And they needed a woman.  A special call was made for the few women who were on the tour. 

Not that I was not adventurous, but whiskey was never my forte and I did not put my hand up. 
The lady next to me was coaxed into being a volunteer and she wriggled out saying she thinks she may be pregnant.
I had no such excuse and boldly signed up as the only female representative amongst the four whiskey tasters of the day.
There was an ornate wooden table laid out, where we were explained the differences between the malt and the distillation process of Whiskey blended in Scotland (Johnny Walker). The one blended in America (Jack Daniels) and the one is Ireland (Jameson’s)
Wonder why the all start with J.  
It was supposed to be a blind tasting session and you were asked questions after every source of Whisky being served.   I blundered along and said I liked the one with that fruity taste.
And that happened to be Jack Daniels.  (That was my second time with whiskey … cannot help it)  

The Whiskey master was embarrassed.  

 I got another sip of the Whiskey, so I could be sure about my verdict and as if by cue just said... of course this one is the best,

No marks for guessing, that one... it was ofcourse the Jameson’s Irish whiskey. 

And thus we were awarded a certificate each of being a certified Irish Whisky taster from none other than the Jameson’s distillery at Bow Street in Dublin. 

Years later when I was laid  off and was frantically searching for a job, a recruitment  consultant asked me if apart from my years of professional  experience enumerated in my CV,  I had any  certifications.

I said I was a certified Irish Whisky taster, with a certification from Jameson’s distillery in Dublin, just in case it counted.    

I never heard back from the consultant thereafter.  

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