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

Makers Mark vs Jameson

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. 

Makers Mark vs Jameson 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

AspectMaker’s MarkJameson
TypeBourbonIrish Whiskey
Country of OriginUnited States (Kentucky)Ireland
Mash BillCorn, Red Winter Wheat, Malted BarleyMalted and Unmalted Barley
Aging ProcessAged in new charred oak barrels for 6-7 yearsAged in ex-bourbon and sherry casks for a minimum of 4 years
Flavor ProfileSmooth, sweet, caramel, vanillaMellow, slightly fruity, toasted wood
Alcohol by Volume45% ABV40% ABV
Price RangeRoughly $20.99 (Total Wine)Roughly $22.49 (Total Wine)
Serving SuggestionsNeat, on the rocks, cocktailsNeat, on the rocks, cocktails
Special FeaturesHand-dipped red wax sealTriple distillation, smoothness
AwardsMultiple awards, including Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits CompetitionNumerous awards, including Gold at the International Spirits Challenge
Distillery LocationLoretto, KentuckyMidleton, County Cork
Food PairingsBBQ, grilled meats, chocolate dessertsSeafood, light appetizers, Irish dishes
How To DrinkNeat, with a splash of water, in cocktailsNeat, on the rocks, in cocktails
Similar ToBuffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Evan Williams, Jim BeamBushmills, 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.

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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.

What are the main differences between Maker’s Mark and Jameson?

The primary difference lies in their origin and production process. Maker’s Mark is a bourbon whiskey made in Kentucky, while Jameson is an Irish whiskey made in Ireland. Additionally, Maker’s Mark is made primarily from corn, while Jameson is made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley.

How is the taste of Maker’s Mark compared to Jameson?

Maker’s Mark typically has a sweeter flavor profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak due to its aging process in charred oak barrels. Jameson, on the other hand, tends to be smoother with a lighter and fruitier taste, often featuring hints of apple and pear along with a subtle spice.

Can Maker’s Mark be substituted for Jameson in cocktails?

While both are whiskies, their distinct flavor profiles may affect the taste of cocktails differently. Maker’s Mark might lend a sweeter and richer flavor, while Jameson might provide a smoother and lighter touch.

Which one is better for sipping neat or on the rocks?

This largely depends on individual taste preferences. Maker’s Mark is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks by bourbon enthusiasts who appreciate its bold flavor profile. Jameson, with its smoother and milder taste, is also commonly sipped neat or with ice by those who prefer Irish whiskey.

Are there any notable cocktails that feature Maker’s Mark or Jameson?

Yes, both whiskies are popular choices for various cocktails. Maker’s Mark is commonly used in classic bourbon cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Jameson is frequently used in Irish whiskey-based cocktails such as the Irish Coffee or the Whiskey Sour.

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.


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