Cameron Conaway used to occasionally ask for Jameson when he wanted whiskey. Now it’s his top choice. Here are a few reasons why.
We raise a glass to Jameson for sponsoring this story.
I couldn’t really differentiate between types of whiskey when I first started drinking. “Some just burn more than others,” I remember telling my friend. But over the years I’ve developed a sensitivity to and an interest not only in the scent, taste notes, mouthfeel and swallow but also in the brand itself. We here at The Good Men Project talk often of creating change, but one overlooked way to do that is through the choices we make about what we purchase. As Florence Kelley, the first executive secretary of the National Consumers League once said, “To buy means to have power, to have power means to have responsibility.”
So without further ado, here are 10 reasons why I choose to buy Jameson Irish Whiskey:
(1) The way they market. Many whiskey brands advertise in ways that play on gender stereotypes. Not Jameson. Do a Google search for “Jameson Irish Whiskey” and select “Images.” In an industry where there are incentives to do otherwise, Jameson strives to remain classy (two examples below). I support that.
(2) They were sustainable before it was cool. You know the beautiful green fields of Ireland? Jameson sources its barley from these pristine fields. In fact, all barley used to make Jameson is sourced from within a 50-mile radius around the distillery in Cork. Some whiskey companies will ship in barley from wherever they can get it the cheapest, and they do so without regard for the environment in which it grows.
(3) Even the cooper loves the whiskey. Ger Buckley is a 5th generation cooper and he’s the master cooper at the Midleton Distillery where Jameson is made. Of course he expressed his love for Jameson when I was part of his tour, but I also caught up with him at a party and, when nobody was watching and when he had an endless selection before him, guess what he reached for? #JamesonStories.
(4) It’s an accessible whiskey. When you’re out with friends, especially those who have never tried whiskey, Jameson is a good introduction. First, it’s likely the bar will set it. Most bars worth their salt carry Jameson. Second, since 1780 Jameson has taken pride in the fact that its whiskey undergoes a triple distillation process. Third, they’ve been at this game for 230+ years and through practice they’ve found the precise ways to create a balanced taste. Lastly, it has been said that water makes the whiskey, and just as the barley is locally-sourced, all the water used to make Jameson Irish Whiskey is sourced from the Dungourney River.
(5) They cherish the value of community. Throughout my tour of the factory and during in-depths interviews with staff and locals at various pubs, the word “community” kept getting brought up when I asked about what matters to Jameson. The cheesemonger down the road, the businessman on the 5th floor, the artist painting in the rain…all are on equal footing. Through this lesson I learned that though it’ll work as such, Jameson typically isn’t a whiskey most people sit at home and sip on. It’s more often enjoyed together, as part of the community experience.
(6) They cherish their roots. Sure, Jameson has upgraded facilities in their quest to create the greatest possible whiskey experience, but they’ve also maintained many of their old traditions. This includes using some of the same crude (but no less effective!) tools to work on the barrels, as well as taking painstaking efforts to preserve the grounds in Cork where it all began.
(7) Bang for your buck. Add this to the mix when you consider what I said about quality above: No Jameson variety scored less than 90% on Whisky Advocate. Then throw this in: A standard 750ml bottle of Jameson has a suggested retail price of $25. There can’t be a better deal than that.
(8) The smoothness gives rise to versatility. I’m partial to Jameson, in part, because I like the blend of silky smooth with peppery bite. But this blend of characteristics gives rise to a whole host of other simple but terrific drinks such as the Jameson and Ginger (Highball glass, 50ml Jameson, top with good quality bottled ginger ale) and the Irish Coffee (1.5oz Jameson, 1oz brown sugar syrup, good quality brew coffee, unsweetened whipped cream on top).
(9) It’s grown on me. As I prefaced above, I once judged a whiskey by its ability to burn. A good one, I surmised, burned a lot. Over the years though I’ve found the flavors to whiskey. Jameson, before it brings a little heat on the mid-palate, first smells of an oak that reminds me of hiking in the spring and then touches you with sweet vanilla. Few whiskeys in this class can match those complex characters.
(10) They sent online writers to Ireland! They care enough about online writers (such as myself) that they were willing to send me to Ireland to sample and learn about the process behind their product. BUT… they also placed incredible emphasis on making sure us writers experienced the beautiful culture and lands and people that have enabled their success. #Respect.
Ultimately a product is only as good as the people who make it, and Jameson is made by real people, for real people. The care that goes into each bottle ensures every glass is warm and hospitable – whether its neat, mixed, or on the rocks – just like those who enjoy it. There is hard work and humanity behind every smooth ounce.
Jameson lives beyond St. Patrick’s Day through traditions held by groups of friends around the world. At family reunions and local dive bars, band practices and parties, in the happy hours and in the wee hours, Jameson brings people and communities together all year round.
Photos courtesy of Maggie Chestney