Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Lydia Martin
I’ve always had a soft spot for Irish whiskey. Something about the smoothness, the warm embrace of its flavors, has always intrigued me.
And when it comes to Irish whiskey, Jameson is undoubtedly a household name. But how about Costco’s Irish whiskey? Is it any good?
In our exclusive blind taste test of Kirkland Irish whiskey vs Jameson, we will explore the fine distinction that set them apart and make them stand out in the world of Irish whiskey.
Comparing Jameson & Kirkland Irish Whiskey
Jameson boasts a rich heritage dating back to 1780, while Kirkland Irish Whiskey is known for its affiliation with the Costco brand.
“Jameson is a brand that has stood the test of time.” -Ciaran ODonovan, Ambassador
It was from Midleton Distillery, whereas Costco’s Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey source remains a well-kept secret.
Kirkland Signature is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys aged in oak barrels, while the Jameson is made from a blend of single pot still malted and unmalted barley and single grain whiskeys.
Jameson is known for its signature triple-distilled, lightly floral, and fruity notes with hints of spice. On the other hand, Costco’s whiskey is light, with dried fruit notes, caramel, apple, and lingering sweetness.
Over the years, their whiskey has garnered numerous accolades, cementing its status as a globally recognized Irish whiskey.
While it may not boast as extensive a list of awards, a 1.75-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey is cheaper than triple-distilled Jameson whiskey.
Kirkland vs Jameson Irish Whiskey Cheat Sheet
|Attribute||Kirkland Irish Whiskey||Jameson Irish Whiskey|
|Type||Triple-Distilled Blended Irish Whiskey||Triple-Distilled Blended Irish Whiskey|
|Age Statement||Minimum of 4 years (NAS)||Minimum of 4 years (NAS)|
|Distillery||Undisclosed source||Midleton Distillery|
|Mash Bill||Fine malt and grain||Malted and unmalted barley blend|
|Maturation||Undisclosed||Ex-bourbon and sherry casks|
|Alcohol by Volume (ABV)||40%||40%|
|Flavor Profile||Light, floral, dried fruit note, caramel, cinnamon, and pepper||Fruity, floral, vanilla, and spice notes|
|Price Range||Budget-friendly||Moderately priced|
|Awards and Recognition||None||Numerous accolades|
Kirkland Signature Irish Whiskey
As I poured this Irish whiskey bottle into a glass, I noticed the light and inviting aroma profile of Kirkland’s Irish whiskeys.
It revealed subtle floral and dried fruit notes, complemented by hints of caramel and a more pronounced alcohol note or burn.
Bottled at 80 proof, the Irish whiskey has notable sweetness and tastes like a weak Jameson.
The presence of candied orange zest, baked banana, and creamy caramel provided a harmonious balance.
As we explored the palate of Costco Irish whiskey, the dry and cooked fruit notes, primarily apple, danced on our taste buds.
Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey was a medium-length affair, leaving a smooth and lingering impression. Still, the light sweetness continued to grace the palate, accompanied by subtle hints of fruit and more pepperiness.
Our First Sip
During our blind tasting, Costco’s whiskeys initiate with a fleeting hint of sweetness that rapidly dissipates.
A clean and subtle sweetness intrigued my palate, followed by a hint of light oak (since it is aged in oak barrels) and citrus undertones, which provided a delicate but feels like watered-down Jameson.
After multiple sips, it revealed notes of honey accompanied by a subtle green apple and toffee essence, offering a budget-friendly whiskey with its own unique charm.
The finish proves Kirkland’s weak point, characterized by a harsh jet fuel aftertaste and a burning sensation.
However, since a bottle of Kirkland Irish whiskey is relatively cheaper than Jameson, I will use it as a mixer for cocktails.
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
Fun Facts: Kirkland Signature Irish Whiskey is Costco’s private-label brand, meaning it’s exclusively available at Costco stores. Also, Irish Distillers LTD is the rumored source of the malt and grain whiskeys.
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Jameson Irish Whiskey
As I opened the bottle, my nose was filled with the vibrant zest of citrus, a delightful medley of orchard fruits, and the inviting sweetness of vanilla and honey.
Bottled at 80 proof, it has a more neutral nose but with slight smoke and a weaker smell compared to other whiskey.
When I tasted it, I noticed subtle floral notes added an elegant touch to the aromatic ensemble, promising an intriguing whiskey experience.
Jameson showcased its hallmark smoothness. Creamy in texture, it delivered flavors of ripe apple that burst forth, harmonizing beautifully with the sweet malt and oak undertones (since it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels).
It is also sweet and mellows out quickly, but not nearly compared to Costco’s Irish whiskey.
Jameson’s finish proved to be of medium length, leaving a lasting impression. A gentle warmth enveloped the senses, accompanied by toasted oak notes from aged single-pot whiskeys.
Our First Sip
During our blind taste test, Jameson opens with a noticeably sweeter flavor and a subtle smoky and peaty undertone. While it mellows relatively swiftly, it maintains more character than Costco’s whiskey.
When I tasted it, I was greeted with a burst of citrus zest, creating a refreshing and lively booze. But who’s the owner of Jameson whiskey?
It left a lasting impression of smooth creaminess, complemented by the interplay of ripe apple and gentle oak, making it an inviting and balanced whiskey experience.
“A good friend is like a fine whiskey – cherished, enjoyed, and always in good company.” -Liquor Laboratory
A bottle of Jameson offers a much milder and more tolerable finish. When tasted, the liquor may not be exceptional, but it outperforms Costco’s whiskey in this aspect and is good to consume neat and on the rocks.
Star Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Facts: Jameson’s distinctive bottle shape was originally designed to stand out on crowded shelves and to be easily recognizable even in dimly lit Irish pubs.
How much is Kirkland’s Irish Whiskey at Costco?
Costco’s Kirkland Signature Irish costs roughly $30 for a 1.75-liter bottle. However, prices may fluctuate, so checking your local Costco store for the most up-to-date pricing information is a good idea.
Who makes Kirkland’s whiskey?
The distilleries that produce Costco whiskey are typically undisclosed, and so is the retailer behind the Kirkland Signature brand .
However, the booze is rumored to be from Irish Distillers Ltd (IDL) distilleries. It has the production volume and inventory to supply the booze at Costco .
Our blind tasting revealed a clear preference for Jameson vs Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey. While both spirits have merits and are bottled at the same ABV, Jameson stood out as the favored choice among tasters.
Jameson’s well-balanced nose and palate, versatility for shots, mixing, and occasional sipping made it the clear winner in this comparison.
Kirkland Irish whiskey offers a more budget-friendly option at around $30 for a 1.75-liter bottle, making it an attractive choice, especially for those looking to balance quality with affordability in their whiskey selection.