Monday, October 5, 2015

Dublin: Jameson Distillery Tour

If you enjoy good Irish whiskey and taking tours, this might just be the tour for you. John Jameson came from Scotland to Dublin to brew the best whiskey in Ireland and he succeeded. He began his business in 1780 and it wasn’t until after World War II that the operation was moved to Cork. At its peak, the distillery employed over 300 men in their operation. They were known to be a fair employer who paid decent wages and at the end of every week sent his workers home with a bottle of whiskey.

Tours run about every 20 minutes but they can sell out completely in busy times. We were lucky to be the last two on a tour that was leaving in 5 minutes.

The first stop is the theatre where you spend 5 minutes listening to the history of John Jameson and the development of the distillation of whiskey in Ireland. In a video entitled “The Story of Jameson Irish Whiskey”.  Evidently it is monks who began the process as a perfume, they soon realized it tasted better than it smelled and the rest as they say, is history.

You then move out into what was the former distillery to follow the steps of the process of making Irish whiskey.You will be taken step by step through the distilling process and learn more about it than most of us need to know, having said that, it is interesting and informative and worth the effort if you, have even the slightest interest.

Step 1: Grainstore All the barley was purchased from farmers at harvest and delivered to the distillery. The very heavy bags often over 200 pounds were carried on the back of laborers.

Step 2: Malting The barley is dried in closed kilns and does not have the smoking taste associated with Scottish whiskey.
Step 3: Milling The malted barley is then combined with unmalted barley and ground in a flour called grist. The original mill stone is still on site and it is considered good luck to touch it. Of course I did!!

Step 4: Mashing The grist is mixed with hot water in the Mash Tun and stirred with rakes to get the starches to turn into fermented sugars. It took about four hours of raking to create the wort.

Step 5: Fermentation The wort is combined with yeast and the fermentation has begun. It takes about 80 hours for sugar to become alcohol.

Step 6: Distillation Distillation is the process of removing the water from the wort and all that is left is the alcohol. What makes Jameson’s so special is triple distillation. It makes for a very smooth whiskey.

Step 7: Maturation Maturation is where all the time occurs. The spirits are placed in oak casks in a dark warehouse

Step 8: Marrying and Vatting  After the whiskey has matured it is placed in a huge vat where it marries for a few days before it is bottled. It is now at 80 proof.

The tour ends with a tasting. You get to taste a small shot of Jameson’s, Scotch Whiskey and Johnny Walker American. You are asked to smell them and then swish in your mouth and swallow. 

After that tasting you take the small part of your ticket and trade it in for a good shoot of Jameson or a mixed drink with Jameson’s and then for me a glass of ginger ale and lime. Kathy loved the taste of Jameson with ginger ale and lime.

Your last stop will be the gift shop. You can buy Jameson’s different styles of whiskey to take home and of course tee shirts, flasks and just about anything else you can think of with the Jameson logo on it.

We were on the hop on hop off tour bus and it takes you very close to the distillery. You will have no trouble finding it and walking the three blocks to the entrance. If you would like any additional food or drink, both are available on site. The entire visit can be done in well under an hour.

You get to print off a certificate to show that you are an expert taster. Actually, it is sent to your email so that you can print it off at home, what a smart idea on their part, no waste of paper. This tour is located within an easy cab ride from the Pembroke Townhouse Hotel

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