Maker’s Mark vs Jameson: A Clash of Whiskey Titans

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Maker’s Mark and Jameson whiskey are two iconic brands that represent distinct styles of whiskey, each with its rich history and loyal following. 

In this Maker’s Mark vs Jameson comparison, we will dig into the unique characteristics and traditions and share our own tasting experiences to highlight what sets them apart in the world of whiskey.

Our tasting journey will provide insights into the fine distinction of flavors and aromas that define Maker’s Mark and Jameson. 

Jameson Whiskey & Maker’s Mark Whisky Compared

Jameson and Maker's Mark Bottle

Jameson, originating from Ireland, offers a smooth and mellow profile with a mix of malted and unmalted barley, triple-distilled, and aged in ex-bourbon casks and sherry casks. 

In contrast, Maker’s Mark whisky, a double-distilled Kentucky bourbon, boasts a sweet and gentle character with a mash bill of corn, red winter wheat, and malted barley, matured in new charred oak barrels (American oak) [1]. 

Pernod Ricard owns Jameson, while Beam Suntory owns Maker’s Mark.

Whiskey is liquid sunshine.” -George Bernard Shaw, Playwright and Critic

While both can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, Jameson makes great Irish coffee and pairs well with seafood and Irish dishes, whereas Makers Mark bourbons complement BBQ and chocolate desserts.

The Kentucky straight bourbon boasts higher proof or alcohol content than the Irish whiskey [2] because a bottle contains 45% ABV (90-proof), while the latter contains 40% ABV (80-proof).

Moreso, Maker’s Mark whisky is slightly cheaper because the bourbon costs around $20.99 per 750ml bottle while the latter costs roughly $22.49 per 750ml bottle.

Maker’s Mark vs Jameson Whiskey Cheat Sheet

Aspect Maker’s Mark Jameson
Type Bourbon Irish Whiskey
Country of Origin United States (Kentucky) Ireland
Mash Bill Corn, Red Winter Wheat, Malted Barley Malted and Unmalted Barley
Aging Process Aged in new charred oak barrels for 6-7 years Aged in ex-bourbon and sherry casks for a minimum of 4 years
Flavor Profile Smooth, sweet, caramel, vanilla Mellow, slightly fruity, toasted wood
Alcohol by Volume 45% ABV 40% ABV
Price Range Roughly $20.99 (Total Wine) Roughly $22.49 (Total Wine)
Serving Suggestions Neat, on the rocks, cocktails Neat, on the rocks, cocktails
Special Features Hand-dipped red wax seal Triple distillation, smoothness
Awards Multiple awards, including Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Numerous awards, including Gold at the International Spirits Challenge
Distillery Location Loretto, Kentucky Midleton, County Cork
Food Pairings BBQ, grilled meats, chocolate desserts Seafood, light appetizers, Irish dishes
How To Drink Neat, with a splash of water, in cocktails Neat, on the rocks, in cocktails
Similar To Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Evan Williams, Jim Beam Bushmills, Jim Beam, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Woman Holding Bottle of Jameson Original


Swirling it in my glass, the nose seems flat and distant. At first, I noticed the weak floral aroma followed by a fudge-like sweetness. 

With more time to breathe, it has a delightful blend of floral and sweet notes, offering a harmonious bouquet with hints of zesty orange marmalade and rich caramel. 

Like other whiskeys, there’s also a subtle touch of alcohol in the aroma, providing a pleasant anticipation of what’s to come. 


There’s much greater flavor than what I experienced from the smell. Right away, I sense a fruity sweetness comprised of pears, crunchy apples, and grapes, giving my palate a delightful tang.

As expected, the triple distillation lives up to its name. This whiskey is very smooth, with no harsh edges and a very mild heat. 

Aside from fruity flavors, I pick up prominent and inviting notes of vanilla. This sweetness creates a smooth and creamy texture on the palate, making it an enjoyable sip.


The finish of the Irish whiskey is medium-length and balances between the sweet and spicy notes. After multiple sips, I have a delightful honey flavor that lingers in my taste buds.

The grain whiskey often concludes with a pleasant and lingering sweetness similar to honey or caramel, which gradually subsides. 

Alongside the sweetness, there’s usually a subtle hint of black pepper or spice that adds a touch of complexity to the tail end of the tasting experience.

Also Read:

Our First Sip

In my opinion, Jameson is enjoyable when served neatly. Its 40% alcohol content doesn’t strike me as overly potent, and I find it pleasant to sip without dilution. 

As I savor the drink, I discern additional nuances of sweet caramel and vanilla, although this sweetness doesn’t overwhelm the overall experience. 

What truly enhances the tasting journey is the delightful emergence of gentle spiced warmth on the mid-palate, with predominant notes of cinnamon and clove. 

I suspect this warming sensation results from including green malt in the pot still portion of the blend.

Final Taste

Oddly, there’s a weird metallic sort of taste in this whiskey. I didn’t notice it early, but it’s crept to the latter half, interrupting the sweetness. 

Towards the tail end, a subtle hint of black pepper emerges, adding a touch of spice that balances the sweetness and provides a pleasant conclusion to the tasting journey.

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fun Facts: Jameson is one of the best-selling Irish whiskey brands worldwide, with a strong presence in over 130 countries.

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon

Bottle of Makers Mark on a Table


The initial impression was a harmonious blend of spiced oak, fruity notes, and enticing spices. 

The nose felt deep and inviting, revealing a tapestry of scents, including rich honey, subtle almonds, and a touch of campfire-toasted marshmallow. 

With a gentle swirl of my glass, subtle hints of vanilla and butterscotch emerged, adding intriguing layers of complexity to the inviting bouquet.


There was a notable absence of heat and virtually no burn as I was met with an initial burst of honeyed sweetness that enveloped my mouth. 

I am pleasantly surprised the bourbon is slightly sweeter than other American bourbons (Wild Turkey, Bulleit bourbon, and Evan Williams) because it contains wheat instead of rye [3]. It gradually yielded to the oaky notes, mirroring the aromatic journey I had experienced.

In terms of complexity, the flavor profile leaned towards simplicity but compensated with a delightful medley of caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch that resembled the indulgent richness of the pudding.


The finish is of moderate length, offering lingering caramel sweetness with minimal heat, pleasantly rounded out by a subtle touch of pepper.

It delivered precisely what I desired from bourbons in this price range—vanilla sweetness intertwined with oak, complemented by a subtle smokiness (not as smoky as Scotch) that added a layer of depth.

The bourbon was an unpretentious and flawlessly executed whiskey-drinking experience.

Our First Sip

As I savor the drink slowly, its acclaimed smoothness immediately made its presence known, caressing my palate like silk.

A delightful medley of flavors awaits on the palate, with prominent notes of vanilla, caramel, cherry, and honey. 

Adding a drop of water to the bourbon unlocks a unique dimension of flavor. It takes on a reminiscent taste of a Tootsie Pop candy, imparting a delightful and nostalgic sweetness.

Final Taste

The initial sweetness gracefully receded with each sip, and a lingering hint of gentle spice tantalized my tongue, inviting me to take another sip.

Seasoned connoisseurs will agree that the subtle notes and cheerful spice impart a warm and comforting sensation, like biting into a gingerbread cookie.

“When it comes to whiskey, Maker’s Mark is the artistry in every bottle.” -Liquor Laboratory 

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun Facts: Margie Samuels, the wife of Bill Samuels Sr., played a pivotal role in the brand’s identity. 

She created the packaging that honors her husband’s handmade bourbon, including the bottle’s shape, the label’s look, and the signature red wax seal. 


Is Jameson a high-quality whiskey?

Yes, Jameson is generally regarded as a high-quality whiskey with a long history of craftsmanship and a reputation for its smooth and approachable flavor. 

It’s among the most well-known and respected Irish whiskey brands worldwide [4].

Is Jameson Irish whiskey smoother than Maker’s Mark bourbon?

Yes, Jameson whiskey is typically smoother than Maker’s Mark’s bourbon. 

The Irish blend is often attributed to the triple distillation process, resulting in a milder and more refined flavor profile than Maker’s Mark’s bourbon. 

Is Jameson Irish whiskey sweeter than Maker’s Mark bourbon?

No, Maker’s Mark whisky is sweeter than Jameson. 

Maker’s Mark whisky is distinguished by its use of wheat instead of rye in the grain bill (unlike most bourbons), resulting in slightly sweeter tasting notes with a subtle bready character.

Final Say

In comparing Maker’s Mark whisky and Jameson, we encounter the challenge of contrasting two distinct types of whiskey, each with its unique attributes. 

While both are exceptional in their own right, Maker’s Mark whisky stands out as a remarkable option. 

Its use of wheat in the mash bill offers a subtly sweeter and smoother profile, appealing to those who appreciate a more delicate and mellow whiskey experience.

On the other hand, Jameson shines as a classic Irish whiskey with a smoother and approachable character, making it an excellent choice for those seeking the essence of traditional Irish whiskeys.

I find the creamy texture quite delightful as it envelops the tongue, offering a warm sensation on the mid palate.




Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *