It’s no secret that South Africans love Irish whiskey. With its smooth and versatile character, Irish whiskey appeals to a wide range of whiskey enthusiasts. While opinions on what qualifies as the “best” Irish whiskey may vary, Jameson stands out as South Africa’s most enjoyed brand, with an impressive statistic: one in every three whiskeys consumed in South Africa is Jameson. 

What Makes Irish Whiskey, Irish Whiskey…

When it comes to Irish whiskey, it has a little less to do with the luck of the Irish and more with how it is made. A good Irish whiskey embodies a balance of smoothness, flavour complexity, and heritage.  

Here are some of the things that make Irish whiskey…well Irish: 

  1. Triple Distillation: While Scotch whisky is typically distilled twice, Irish whiskey is distilled three times. This triple distillation process results in a higher alcohol content affecting the flavour profile of the whiskey. Irish whiskey is known as a smoother, more refined spirit with less of the harsh, grainy notes sometimes found in other whiskies. This is all thanks to the triple distillation process. 
  1. Ingredients: Like any good recipe, ingredients matter. Irish whiskey is made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley, yeast and water. The quality of each of these ingredients plays a role in the final product.  
  1. Unpeated Taste: Irish whiskey is generally unpeated, meaning doesn’t have smoky overtones like its counterpart Scotch whiskey. This makes for a more approachable drinking experience for new as well as seasoned whiskey drinkers. 
  1. Aged in Wood Casks: By Irish Law, all Irish whiskey must be barrel aged in a wooden cask for at least three years. It is this ageing process that helps develop its unique citrus and spice flavours. 
  1. Rich History: A good whiskey must have a good story. And an Irish whiskey is no different. It dates back centuries to the days of Irish monks and their medieval distillation techniques. These techniques have been preserved over the years and Irish whiskey has lived to tell the tale of success throughout the ages. Today it is one of the most beloved spirits around the world.  
  1. Authenticity: Sticking to tradition is not the only thing that makes Irish whiskey authentic. It is a strictly regulated spirit. The Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 gives strict guidelines for what may be labelled as Irish whiskey, to ensure quality control and authenticity. These regulations make the rules on everything from where the whiskey is distilled and aged to alcohol content and labelling. 

This is the stuff Irish whiskey is made of. Add to that a touch of luck and you are good to go.  

Exploring the Popularity of Irish Whiskey in South Africa 

South Africans love sharing good stories over a glass of their “usual”. And our usual has evolved to a broad range of spirits over time. Now whiskey only made its debut in South Africa’s commercial scene about 40 years ago. Whiskey brands have worked hard to educate whiskey novices and we quickly became aficionados. In fact, today whiskey is the largest-selling spirit drink in South Africa – South Africans drink about 39 million litres of whiskey a year! That’s a lot of cheers! 

It did not take long for South Africans to adjust their drinking habits and we saw the local view of whiskey evolve to more than a beverage…It became a lifestyle choice and a symbol of sophistication and status. This journey of discovery led to a clear favourite  – Irish whiskey. It has become so popular, that we buy more Jameson in South Africa than almost anywhere else in the world, second only to the United States.   

Irish whiskey has also remained a popular drink of choice even when times are tough in South Africa. Tasting sessions and educational events have become popular ways to share and grow the appreciation of whiskey. And while whiskey is a relatively new kid on the block, traditional spirit drinks in South Africa now have some stiff competition, especially as the popularity of Irish whiskey and other varieties grows. Irish whiskey like Jameson has evolved within South Africa to become a social drink that is less stiff-upper lip and more fostering shared moments to bring people together. 

It looks like the bond between South Africans and Irish whiskey continues to flourish. So, here’s to the spirit of friendship, the spirit of adventure, and the spirit of Irish whiskey – may it continue to bring joy and warmth to glasses and hearts across South Africa for years to come! 

What Makes Jameson South Africa’s Favourite? 

Ah, Jameson – it’s not just your average Irish whiskey. No, it’s a whole experience that makes it stand out in the crowded world of whiskey. You see, Jameson’s got a few tricks up its sleeve that set it apart from the rest. So, let’s talk about why Jameson is South Africa’s favourite Irish whiskey. 

Smoothness and easy-drinking flavour profile 

Its triple-distilled process ensures a smooth texture that glides across the palate, making it particularly approachable for both seasoned whiskey aficionados and newcomers alike. 

Jameson’s flavour profile is characterised by a blend of flavours. Subtle citrus hints of vanilla and a touch of spice. The combination of smoothness and subtle yet notable flavours is what makes Jameson a hit as an easy-drinking Irish whiskey. 

Versatility and Mixability 

It is also this balance of smoothness and flavour that makes Jameson so versatile. Some whiskeys are best enjoyed neat, on the rocks or with a splash of water, nothing else. Jameson can be served and enjoyed in all these ways…and more. It works well as a cocktail base, adding the depth you’d want, without overpowering other ingredients.  The wide range of cocktails that feature Jameson as a key ingredient speaks to this adaptability and popularity among bartenders and home mixologists alike. Whether it’s the comforting warmth of Irish Coffee or the zesty kick of a Whiskey Sour, Jameson brings its signature smoothness and flavour to every drink it graces. Wondering what to mix with Jameson? Well, we have a few cocktail ideas ready for you! 

Cost-Quality Correlation 

It’s not often that you find a premium, quality whiskey at an accessible price. Well, Jameson Irish whiskey offers quality and value. A rare find and yet another reason to celebrate.  

So, there you have it – smooth, balanced, value for money and versatile. It’s no wonder Jameson has such a big following in South Africa. Cheers to that! 

Mastering the Serve: How to Dash Jameson Whiskey

Serving it Neat: Start with a room temperature single measure of Jameson in a glass. Room temperature allows the flavours to shine. Inhale the aroma, noting sweet, floral, and spicy scents. Take a small sip and let the flavours unfold on your palate. Pay attention to the alcohol’s presence and where it hits your mouth. Experience the smooth, lingering finish. 

With Water: Serve Jameson neat alongside a small glass or jug of water. Taste the whiskey before adding water, then add a few drops to release the flavours or a splash to dilute the alcohol burn, according to preference. 

On the Rocks: Serve Jameson with ice if you prefer a chilled drink. Ice gradually mellows the whiskey without instant dilution. Be mindful of the number of ice cubes to avoid masking the whiskey’s flavour. 

With Whiskey Stones: Whiskey stones are an alternative to ice for chilling whiskey without dilution. Freeze the stones and add them to your glass when ready to enjoy a chilled Jameson. 

In Cocktails: Explore Jameson in cocktails for a versatile drinking experience. Try classics like Jameson, Ginger & Lime for a sweet and spicy kick or an Old-Fashioned for a whiskey with added sweetness. Experiment with cocktail recipes to find your favourite whiskey concoction. 

Relax – there is no wrong way to enjoy Jameson whiskey. Whether neat, with water, on the rocks, with whiskey stones, or in cocktails, the key is to savour the flavours and enjoy it any way you like! Cheers to that! 

A Global Phenomenon

South Africa’s love for Jameson speaks of great taste with similar sentiments seen around the world. The proof…is in the sales. Last year global sales of Jameson jumped by a solid 10 percent! That translates to 10.7 million cases! That’s some serious love for Irish whiskey. And once again, Jameson is winning the popularity contest, securing its spot among the top three international whiskey brands out there!