Unveiling the Journey from Field to Whiskey Tumbler
What is Whiskey Made From: Go Beyond The Bottle
Ahh, whiskey. We love the taste of it. We love the smell of it. We love the sound of it when it plops into a glass, and if you’re reading this article, we imagine you do too. Anyone with an appreciation for whiskey knows that there’s a little magic that goes into the making, but what is Irish Whiskey made from?
Fear not, curious reader, we’re about to lift the lid and take a peek at the ingredients, the processes, and the people who make our Jameson Irish Whiskey a world favourite.
The Three Basic Ingredients of Whiskey
Now, before we begin let’s be clear; there are many diverse types of whiskey in the world. As one might imagine, depending on the type of whiskey it will be made slightly differently. So, for clarity, we’re going to focus on one question: What is Jameson whiskey made from?
We’ll touch off other types of whiskey and their processes concerning ours but, we’ve been selling Irish whiskey for nearly 250 years, so we’re confident we have our process nailed, not to mention believe it to be the best. So, with all things considered, let’s get started. The first ingredient we need is…
First things first, what Cereals is whiskey made from? All whiskeys are made from either a single grain or a mixture of grains.
At Jameson our Whiskey is a blend of Single Pot Still Whiskey & Single Grain Whiskey. Single Pot Still Whiskey is made using a mash of malted and unlmalted barley – it is the unmalted barley which gives it that creamy mouth feel.
It is triple distilled in copper pot stills. The term “single” refers to the fact that the production takes place in one distillery. It is unique to Ireland and was once the largest selling style of whiskey in the world. Single pot still Irish whiskey is considered to be the quintessential Irish whiskey.
Grain Whiskey can be made from Maize (also known as Corn) along with other cereals and is distilled in continuous column stills. Grain Whiskey is characterised by its light floral and fragrant taste.
So what is a Blended Whiskey: A blended whiskey is a blend of two or more of any of the type of Whiskey. A blend allows all of the flavours and character you love in whiskey to shine all in the same glass.
Giver of life. Nothing exists without it, and neither would whiskey. Water is essential in the whiskey-making process, and you need plenty of it. At our Midleton distillery in Co. Cork, we source our water from the Dungourney River that flows through the grounds. Large sums of water are combined with the grain mixture to make ‘wort’ known as ‘mash’ in other parts of the world.
Add yeast to activate fermentation of the grains and viola, this warm cereal soup (now known as ‘wash’) is slowly producing alcohol.
The distillation process is how alcohol is extracted from the wash. Alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, so once the wash has been transferred to a still, it’s time to turn up the heat. The wash is heated and the alcohol separates by evaporating off the liquid below. This ether is gathered by the still and cooled, where it reverts to liquid. With each distillation, you remove impurities and concentrate the alcohol. Jameson is triple distilled (distilled 3 times) and we use both kinds of distillation methods, a pot still and a column still.
Pot still whiskey is the oldest method of making whiskey. Long story short, a pot still is produced in batches, whereas a column still is a continuous process. Why use both? Pot still allows for more Character to be kept in the spirit and the column still is more targeted and efficient however, either method will top-quality spirit alcohol in the right hands. Once that spirit alcohol has been distilled, then all it needs is…
Yes, a little rest and relaxation are exactly what the distiller ordered, but as we all know when pricing a holiday, the rest comes in the where, and at Jameson, that ‘where’ is in used oak barrels!
Correct, almost all whiskies spend some time in wooden barrels, where they develop the flavour and colour whiskey is known for. The type of barrel will vary depending on the whiskey. At Jameson, we use two main types:
1. Seasoned white American oak bourbon barrels, which add sweetness, vanilla and toasted oak notes.
2. Spanish oak sherry seasoned casks which add notes of vanilla, honey, dried fruit, and cinnamon.
Once the whiskey has been aged for a minimum of 3 years, then it’s ready to be bottled. There are some other added elements to the bottling, but we’ll get to that a little further down when we get a bit more specific.
What Is Irish Whiskey Made From?
A cereal distilled and aged on the island of Ireland and aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of three years. Outside of that you have can use any type of cereal,
distillation method and wood.
Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled. A process that was born out of necessity due to the size of both Irish distillerys and their stills. They needed to distill 3 times in order to get to cask filling strength. This differs from other whiskies, for instance some Scotches which may be twice distilled. Although not all as some such as Auchentoshan and Springbank also triple distill.
And finally, as you might have guessed, the whiskey needs to be aged for at least 3 years in Ireland.
Once these rules are adhered to, you’ve got yourself Irish whiskey. Now it’s up to distillers to get creative.
The variations of Irish whiskey are many so let’s narrow it down to one, coincidentally, the most popular.
What Is Jameson Whiskey Made From?
We’ve gone through most of the process above, but to recap; Jameson is triple-distilled and a blend of traditional Pot Still and Single Grain Irish Whiskeys. It is aged
in Ex bourbon and Spanish Oak sherry Seasoned casks. And only distilled on-site in our distillery in Midleton, County Cork. Creating the exact flavours and smoothness
we’re known for worldwide.
If you want to discover more about our unique craft, read how Jameson Irish Whiskey is made to unveil our unique process.
And there you have it; the ins and outs of what whiskey (Jameson in particular) is made from.
Now that you know ‘what’, you should go find ‘which’! Jameson has a whole family of differently aged and blended whiskey to try in our Jameson Irish Whiskey Collection.