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Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish whiskey is the world's most popular Irish single malt and is the fourth best selling whisky in the world, selling in excess of 20 million cases per year. It used to exists as a triple-distilled single pot still whiskey but was reformulated in 1968 as a blend with grain whiskey. There are three distinct types of Jameson: - Jameson Original, Jameson Irish Gold and Jameson Crested. There is also a range of limited edition and cask bottles.

Background of Jameson Whisky

You might be shocked to learn that Ireland’s most famous whiskey brand was actually started by a Scotsman! John Jameson was born in Alloa before moving to Ireland and founding his distillery at Bow Street in Dublin 1780. He may well have been inspired by his wife Margaret Haig who was the daughter of pioneering Scotch whisky distiller John Haig whose brand is still going to these days. His son, the imaginatively-named John Jameson II, joined the business in 1805 where he would remain for over 40 years. In 1851, John Jameson handed over the business to his son John Jameson III. Jameson and Irish whiskey in general thrived for most of the 19th century but change was a-coming in the 20th century when Ireland lost its global pre-eminence to Scotch.

New-fangled ‘blended whiskies’ from Scotland were lighter and more user friendly than the meaty pot still whiskies produced by the Irish distillers. Scotch was also much better marketed. At the time Jameson did not bottle or market its whiskey to customers, it would be sold to whiskey bonders and merchants who would age and market it under their own brand names like Mitchell & Son of Dublin originators of Green Spot and Gilbeys with its Redbreast.

The fall and rise of Irish whiskey

In the 20th century a combination of the deprivations of World War One, the Irish War of Independence and the resulting civil war, a trade war with Britain, Prohibition in America which cut off Irish whiskeys biggest market, World War Two and other crises dealt a nearly mortal blow to Irish whiskey. After the War, while the British government encouraged Scotch whiskey exports to bring in much needed currency, the Irish government capped whiskey exports and Irish whiskey shrank to just the domestic market.

Distilleries began closing all over the country until by the 1960s only three were left: John Jameson & Son and John Power & Son in Dublin; and Cork Distilleries Company at Midleton. The owners, including the inevitable John Jameson met to discuss the future of Irish whiskey. After a couple of years of tense negotiations, the three agreed to merge in 1966 to form Irish Distillers. In 1976 production of all three moved to the new Midleton Distillery in Cork. Powers and Jameson closed their Dublin distilleries ending centuries of whiskey heritage in the capital. The Old Bow Street Distillery became a visitor centre.

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