St. Patrick's Day at your local bar is for amateurs...unless your local bar is in Ireland, inside the Jameson Distillery.
When Jameson invites you to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day weekend, you don't say, "Umm...maybe." You hop on the nearest plane, zeppelin, helicopter or sea otter and get thee to the land of leprechauns. After landing, and hopping up and down with excitement for two hours, here's what we learned on the trip.
The first day in Dublin started with a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery. When we arrived, there were DJ’s from around the world spinning for the Jameson Global Broadcast. We ordered some Irish Coffee and traditional Irish food (potatoes and leprechaun meat).
We have sophisticated pallets. Usually we enjoy a nice bottle of the world's finest Diet Snapple with our lunch. But today, Jameson opened our eyes to new mid-day beverages.
See that chandelier? That’s the classy way to use whiskey bottles as décor. Suddenly the bottle filled with cigarette butts, dust and spiders next to your couch isn’t nearly as chic as you’d hoped.
We were greeted by internationally acclaimed designer Paul Daly, who designed an amazing limited edition bottle for Jameson in celebration of St. Patricks Day 2011.
An Irishman himself, Daly said the bottle design was inspired by Celtic illustrations from The Book of Kells and different facets of Irish culture and art that he’s experienced over the years. Luckily there was not a tattoo shop on the premise or else we would have screamed "This please!" and pointed to the bottle, and "Here please!" and pointed to our inner-thigh. It's too easy to get wrapped up in St. Paddy's day splendor.
After a very informative chat with Daly and a delicious lunch, it was time to take the Jameson tour.
Liam Donegan, one of Jameson’s three Master Distillers was on hand to take us through the distillation process, starting with the main ingredient in Jameson whiskey: malted barley. And not "Charles Barkley" as we had orginally reported. (Thanks fact-checkers!)
As we made our way through the tour, we learned of the history of whiskey making and how the barley is mashed and washed before the malted and un-malted barley are balanced to give Jameson whiskey just the right flavor. And then when no one was looking, we tossed a coin into this wishing fountain. Luck of the Irish, right?
Here you see the mighty stills in a room that seems torn from the pages of C3P0's erotic fiction. Jameson was the first whiskey brand to triple distill their whiskey, hence the smooth taste.
The whiskey is aged in these wood barrels. (Or so he would have you beleive.)
Here we saw a preview of the different vintages. We liked the amber-colored one the best.
We were led to The Jameson Discovery Bar and were given our choice of Jameson cocktail. After learning so much about the distilling process, it seemed criminal to simply drink away all that hard work and science. So we sipped it instead.
This was just the beginning of an amazing Irish experience that Jameson had planned for us leading up to their annual, Jameson Global Party on St. Patricks Day. The party was held in 10 different countries across the world. You can see some photos from the party here. Thanks to the people at Jameson Irish Distillers for the wonderful opportunity.
Photographed for Maxim.com by Cory-Jamal Davis | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012