Liquor Laboratory

Jameson Black Barrel vs Jameson: Whiskey Showdown

Jameson Black Barrel vs Jameson

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Established back in 1780, beginners and even professionals see Jameson as the definition of an Irish whiskey. It is an iconic brand and a go-to choice in many bars.

Jameson is something that I have shared with friends and colleagues more often than I can remember. But lately, the older Jameson Black Barrel is making a noise as the better expression against the original Jameson Irish whiskey

So today, we’re doing a quick comparison of Jameson Black Barrel vs Jameson Irish whiskey to know which is better, really.  

Jameson Original & Black Barrel Irish Whiskey Compared

Jameson Original & Black Barrel Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish whiskey (Original) is the smooth and approachable choice for those new to the world of whiskey, while Black Barrel has a more complex profile.

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.” – James Joyce, Irish Novelist and Poet

The Original Jameson bottle is more affordable if you want a whiskey to mix in your cocktail drinks during big gatherings or events. On the other hand, Jameson Black is perfect for sophisticated occasions.

The most significant difference between the two is their aging process and barrels used, making the Black Barrel the better choice.

Jameson Irish Whiskey vs Jameson Black Barrel Cheat Sheet

AspectJameson Black BarrelJameson Irish Whiskey
Aging ProcessAged 16 yearsAged for a minimum of four years
Flavor ProfileRich with toffee, fudge, spice, and dried fruitsLight, sweet with hints of fruity notes
Alcohol by Volume40% ABV40% ABV
Price Rangeapproximately $50-55 (official website)approximately $35 (official website)
Serving SuggestionsNeat or with iceNeat, cocktail base, or with ice
Special FeaturesMade in double charred oak barrels Triple-distilled to achieve smoothness
AwardsDouble Gold (International Spirits Challenge) and Gold (Beverage Testing Institute) World Whisky Brand Champion 2022
Distillery LocationJameson Distillery Midleton, Distillery Walk, Midleton, Co. Cork, IrelandJameson Distillery Midleton, Distillery Walk, Midleton, Co. Cork, Ireland
How To DrinkOld Fashioned or Whiskey SourClassic cocktails
Similar ToRedbreast 12 Whiskey, Bushmills Black Bush WhiskeyBushmills Irish Whiskey and Powers (Gold Label) 

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Bottle of Jameson Original

Nose: The nose offers hints of light floral fragrance with sweet notes. There is also a lovely smoky smell with honey, spicy wood, and caramel aromas. I could smell the alcohol, but it was not overpowering.

Palate: This spirit has signature sweet and fruit notes with spicy and nutty flavors. It has the typical smoothness of an Irish whiskey, which makes it a good choice for various cocktails.

Finish: It finishes as a clean and crisp liquor, with all its tasting notes still coming through. 

Our First Sip: The first sip of this liquor greeted me with its sweet and floral flavors, typical flavors from the ex-bourbon barrels. The liquor emerges mid-palate, but the nutty, vanilla, malt, and ripe citrus flavors are all present right from the start.

Final Taste: For the second sip, the alcohol’s notes are less demanding. There are still the same flavors, but I can focus more on the smooth and sweet profile of the liquor. It would be an easy introductory choice and a good value for money if you don’t drink whiskey much.

Star Rating: ★★★★

Fun Facts:

  • Jameson Irish whiskey is the best-selling Irish whiskey in the United States, with more than four million 9-liter cases sold [1].
  • This drink is a blend of finest grain whiskey and rich pot still whiskey (malted and unmalted barley), triple distilled using copper stills.
  • It uses barrels from the United States and Spain (ex-sherry casks and ex-bourbon barrels) for the maturation process.
  • A bottle of Jameson is one of the most recognizable Irish whiskeys in the world.

Jameson Black Barrel

Bottle and a Glass of Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey

Nose: This Black Barrel expression has an Intensified butterscotch aroma with creamy toffee, spicy, and fudge notes. I also notice the presence of coppery undertones, but there is no strong burning smell of alcohol.

From the nose alone, it’s easy to say this expression has a more complex profile than the regular Jameson Irish whiskey. 

Palate: Black Barrel has an extremely soft mouthfeel, which is a surprising detail for me. It is not overly delicate, and the alcohol’s harshness that I had anticipated did not come through. 

There’s a burst of vanilla, caramel sweetness, and nutty notes with a wave of oak, spice, and lemony citrus. 

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Finish: The sip has a quick and warming finish, too quick for my liking. It has a lingering, intense dark chocolate and toasted wood hint. There’s also a soft clover hint balanced with big, malty flavors to the tail end. 

First Sip: The first sip of this whiskey gave me a slightly peppery impression, although it was not overwhelming. Then, it gave way to a rich vanilla sweetness and toasted flavors, and the presence of the Single Pot Still Whiskey has already been established from that first sip.

Final Taste: The whiskey reveals a roasted nut taste for the second sip, and although the finish has a decent length, it’s too short from what I have been expecting.

Irish whiskey has a light, fruity taste complemented by floral notes and hints of nuts and vanilla, resulting in a smooth, mellow finish, in contrast to the spicier endings of bourbon or rye.” – Liquor Laboratory 

It is an excellent choice for someone who is a big fan of bourbon but doesn’t expect that punch of a regular Jameson. This expression has a creamy texture and full body resulting from its long aging process.

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Fun Facts:

  • This expression has undergone a triple distillation process in double charred barrels, combining ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks.
  • It has a higher amount of single pot of Irish whiskey than the regular Jameson and a small batch grain whiskey.
  • It is one of the best-selling expressions of Jameson.
  • It was released in October 2011 in New York.

FAQs Related to Jameson Black Barrel vs Jameson

What is the difference between Jameson Black Barrel and regular Jameson?

Jameson Black Barrel is aged in double-charred barrels, giving it a richer and more intense flavor compared to regular Jameson, which is aged in traditional bourbon and sherry casks.

Is Jameson Black Barrel more expensive than regular Jameson?

Yes, Jameson Black Barrel is typically more expensive due to its longer aging process and more complex flavor profile.

Which is smoother, Jameson Black Barrel or regular Jameson?

Some people find Jameson Black Barrel to be smoother due to its aging process, which can mellow out the flavors compared to regular Jameson.

Can you use Jameson Black Barrel and regular Jameson interchangeably in cocktails?

Yes, both Jameson Black Barrel and regular Jameson can be used in cocktails, but the different flavor profiles may affect the final taste of the drink.

Is Jameson Black Barrel limited edition or available year-round?

Jameson Black Barrel is a permanent addition to the Jameson lineup and is available year-round.

Final Verdict

Jameson Irish whiskey and Black Barrel are two different expressions from the world’s most famous Irish whiskey brand.

Both have distinct flavors to fit any occasion, but the regular Jameson is our ultimate choice regarding affordability, versatility, and approachability.

However, for a more sophisticated sipping experience, Black Barrel would be the better option.


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