Jameson Heritage Center

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A giant potstill in your front yard

At the Jameson Heritage Center in Midleton near Cork you can learn everything there is to know about Irish whiskey.

And there is quite a lot to learn. The name is an English version of the Gaelic word for water of life, so it is obvious whiskey originated from Ireland.

The reasons why there are so few brands of Irish left, are complicated, but have everything to do with American prohibition in the 1920's, the economic crises and World War II. Most of the Irish distillers were forced to stop, the four remaining brands joined to stand up to the Scotch.

Barrels full of Jameson whiskey

Don't drink and drive

This building is the store-building of the barley, the grain used to make whiskey. The picture at the bottom of this page shows the inside, with a man carrying a heavy bag of grain to the top.

Part of the barley is malted, and dried. In contrary to Scotch, the smoke is not allowed to go through the malt, so there won't be a particular smoky flavour.

Another difference with Scotch, is that usually only a part of the barley is malted. For Scotch whisky (without 'e') only malt is used.

This old carriage is often used for advertisements. It had some purpose for the barley, they put it inside on one side, and it came out on the other. And in between something happened.

An old machine

The world's largest potstill

The third difference with Scotch is the distilling. Scotch is distilled twice, and Irish three times. The Americans are probably more skilled, they distil Bourbon just once.

The distilling pot (or still pot) on this picture is the biggest one in the world. It can contain 135,000 liters of whiskey.

After the distilling, the alcohol (80%) is watered down a bit, and then it may gain taste for several years in old Sherry or Bourbon casks.

Get yourself a hernia

Is Irish whiskey really better than Scotch ?

At the end of the tour you can find out if Irish whiskey is, as the Irish say, better than Scotch or Bourbon. At the tasting-test you can decide which of 4 Irish whiskeys you like the most. After you've done that, you can compare your favourite Irish whiskey to Scotch and Bourbon. Unfortunately for our host at Jameson, not all testers preferred the Irish.

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