On a trip to Belfast a few years ago I had a short stop over in Dublin, so I made my way over to the Old Jameson Distillery for a tour, an explanation of how Jameson is produced and a little bit of whiskey tasting.
The Old Distillery
The first thing to say about this place, is that it is called the old distillery for a reason – it is no longer working. Jameson whiskey is now distilled in Cork, and in Dublin they use the premises as a museum. The disappointed reviews on TripAdvisor seem to be from people who weren’t aware of what to expect, so make sure you do your research.
After buying the ticket (15€) I sat at the bar in the reception area, waiting for my tour to start. The tour began with a video that explains a little about the history of the distillery and the man who started it all – Mr John Jameson.
We were then taken through the old distillery and shown each stage of the whiskey making process. First we were shown a simulation of the kiln in which the barley is dried, and then examples of the machines that mash the barley into a pulp. The next step showed the fermentation in the washbacks and finally the process of refining through 3 different pot stills – Jameson’s famous triple distillation.
Once finished the whiskey is stored in wooden barrels. It is from these barrels that, over time, whiskeys take their deep colours and rich flavours.
On the reviews I had read, another sticking point for some was that the whiskey tasting at the end of the tour was only for a select few, and you had to get your hand up quickly if you wanted in. This was information that was definitely worth having. At the end of the tour they selected 6 people to taste the difference between an Irish, a Scotch and an American whisk(e)y. Everyone in the group received a drink and could listen to information on the whiskeys, but if you wanted to do the tasting, you needed to volunteer.
Tip: Remember to put your hand up quickly if you want to be in on the tasting.
The distillery is open 7 days a week from 9am until 6pm, with tours running throughout the day at the cost of 15€ . There are of course many working distilleries that you can visit but should you find yourself in Dublin with an interest in whiskey, this tour is still worth a visit.