Jameson began its Whiskey Makers Series with last year’s lackluster The Cooper’s Croze (celebrating the impact of wood and the barrel on its whiskey) with this second release in the trilogy: The Blender’s Dog. For those not steeped in whiskey lore, the dog doesn’t represent a furry friend but rather a long copper tube that blenders use to dip into casks of whiskey to retrieve the spirit for sampling. Why is it called the dog? Because it never leaves your side, and it’s a man’s best friend, of course.
The Blender’s Dog honors Jameson’s Head Blender, Billy Leighton, though there’s no real information provided about how this release was blended any differently than standard Jameson (except that both bourbon and sherry barrels are used).
Nevertheless, let’s see if we can’t figure that out.
On the whole this is more expressive than your typical bottle of Jameson, differing in quite a few ways. Let’s start with the nose: Here we find a lot going on. Oily wood, a mix of fresh fruits, some floral hints, and a heavily-toasted grain note running through all of it. It’s engaging but surprising — a bolder approach to Irish than most will be used to.
The palate is effusive with fruit, right from the start. Bursting with citrus (lots of lime), banana, and bubble gum, it starts off sweet and builds on that with notes of orange and persimmon. As the palate develops, the whiskey runs to honey, then red raspberry, before leading to a surprising chocolate note that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The finish has more of a bite than I’d expected, slightly vegetal at times but decidedly Irish.
A- / $70 / jamesonwhiskey.com