Ten years ago, the local subsidiary of international drinks giant Pernod Ricard introduced India to the pleasure of triple distilled Irish whiskey with Jameson. It was a big hit as young urban Indians, many of them first-time whiskey fans, took to its smooth taste and gentle flavour. Thanks to Jameson, Irish whiskey has gone on to become the largest growing niche segment in the premium whiskey market. According to market research firm Canadean Ltd., Irish whiskey sales have been growing at the rate of 58 per cent compounded annually for the last three years.

After the massive success of its signature Jameson, the company this month has launched its more premium companion, the award-winning Jameson Black Barrel, in the Indian market. Launched just a few years ago, the whiskey has been a big winner around the world. Its range of accolades includes Best Blended Irish Whiskey (2017 and 2019), Irish Whiskey Masters Gold Medal (2020), Silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2020), and Silver at the International Spirits Challenge (2020). Besides being triple distilled like all Irish whiskies, what makes Jameson Black Barrel stand out, is that it is twice charred. Charring is an age-old method for invigorating whiskey barrels to intensify the taste of whiskey. Charring, as the name indicates, is the process by which the wooden barrels are burnt from the inside using a controlled fire for a period ranging from a few seconds to upto a minute, before they are filled with whiskey for their maturation.

Charcoal, as is well-known, is a natural filter. When filled with whiskey, the charcoal on the charred inner surface absorbs the unwanted chemical compounds that are the by-product of the distillation process. It helps intensify the true taste of the whiskey. In the case of Jameson Black Barrel, the additional charring helps reveal the whiskey’s richness and complexity. The Jameson Black Barrel is a blend of whiskeys produced in Ireland. It includes a unique small batch grain whiskey distilled only one week a year that is blended with a high proportion of Irish Pot Still Whiskey, which gives it a robust, creamy finish. The whiskey is then aged in a combination of American oak, Spanish Sherry Casks, and Double Charred bourbon barrels. The time spent by the whiskey in these barrels provides it the intense aroma of butterscotch, fudge, and creamy toffee. The taste is a mix of nutty notes, and the smooth sweetness of spice and vanilla. Because of the smooth sweetness of its taste, Jameson Black Barrel is worth enjoying neat, on the rocks. The complexity of its flavours also makes it an ideal for classic whiskey cocktails, like Old Fashioned (Jameson’s version of it is Black Fashioned) and Whiskey Sour (called Black & Sour).