Are you still stuck for a way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this weekend? Then look no further as Jameson have teamed up with the Dublin based cheesemaker, Loose Cannon to come up with the perfect cheese pairings for their brand-new cask strength whiskey, Bow Street 18.
Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength is the first cask strength Jameson Whiskey that has been finished in Dublin’s only live Maturation House in Bow Street, Dublin, the original home of Jameson. It is the first time since 1975 that the warehouse in Dublin has been used to finished off Jameson Whiskey which as you can imagine is pretty exciting for any fans of the drink.
After 18 years maturing under the watchful eye of Master Blender, Billy Leighton at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork, the new release was brought back over to Dublin where the sweet, bourbon barrel-matured whiskeys and rich, spicy sherry-rested whiskey casks were married together and laid down for a final 6 months in the Maturation House in Bow Street.
The final is a very special whiskey with a distinct aroma of wood and spicy toffee, a wonderfully mellow, smooth and complex palette of vanilla, leather and sherry, and a long, lingering finish that carries the luxurious spice and toffee flavours through to the end. As you would expect the bottle itself will quickly become a highly sought-after collectable item and at 55.3% ABV and €240 per bottle it’s maybe not one for the faint hearted!
So, what’s the deal with the cheese then? Well I know that it might sound a bit random at first but oddly, it seems to work quite well. When you think about it, both whiskey and cheese are quite complex flavours that are matured over a period of time to finish them off. The key is finding the flavours and tastes that work the best together.
Jameson has partnered with craft Dublin cheesemonger, Loose Canon, to inspire discerning whiskey drinkers to embark on a journey of flavour discovery through whiskey and cheese matching with the Jameson 18 family. I’ve actually had the pleasure of trying out a few of the pairings for myself and would definitely have to name the combination of the Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength Batch 1 with 18-month-old Derg Cheddar from County Tipperary as my favourite. I really liked the tangy cheddar on its own, but the addition of the whiskey added a great contrast and whole new flavour experience.
If you’re looking to take this further and experiment with some pairings yourself then Jameson advise following these principles:
- Choose a whiskey to taste and identify its key flavours on the nose and palate through taste or by exploring its tasting notes
- If you are matching a flight of whiskeys, stay within one family and work from milder to stronger flavours – too much variation will confuse the palette
- Whiskey and cheese pairing are about balancing strong flavours – play with contrasts, such as matching sweet notes found in whiskeys with more bitter flavours in some cheeses
- Flavour echoing is also a top tip, such as pairing a whiskey with a creamy mouth-feel with a creamy cheese
- As a general rule, older whiskeys tend to pair well with sharp, powerful cheeses, while younger whiskeys complement tangier cheeses
Please do let me know if you find a winning combination of your own in the comments section below.