Reviewed by: Ted
What’s that stuff called when you chuck leaves in your whiskey and forget to distil it? Oh yeah, beer. Yep the difference in DNA between a pint and a dram is about the same as us and orangutans. Therefore, it stands to reason that the two should compliment each other quite nicely (and indeed they do, hence the existence of boilermakers).
Another thing that beer and whiskey share (at least sometimes) is being aged in oak barrels. So what happens if you pull a switcheroo on the barrels after they’ve been used? A conversation in a pub in Cork, Ireland, led the master distiller at Jameson Distillery and head Brewer at Franciscan Well Brewery to try to find out. Jameson barrels were sent over to the brewery to age stout and then returned again to create the Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition Whiskey.
On the nose the Caskmates Stout Edition has that light, smooth, honey and floral triple-distilled nose with a hint of mass production shared by the standard Jamo’s. The mouth is creamy, as stout should be, before finishing on a bit of a herbaceous note. Could that be the hops…? Nah.
Look, here is my problem with beer cask aged whiskeys. Because of that shared DNA, I just don’t think that the beer casking ever shines through enough, particularly with a stout cask, which is not terribly hoppy in the first place. Perhaps an ultra-hoppy American-style IPA would smash through… but would it be nice?
At the end of the day the Caskmates Stout Edition is a solid entry level Irish whiskey, but no better really than the original version, perhaps just a tad creamier. As of 2019, Fransican Well has apparently been replaced by Eight Degrees Brewing, but I’ve tried them both side by side and can’t report any discernable difference. The good news is that the Stout Edition is not much more expensive than the vanilla version, so if you like the novelty factor, go for it.