Jameson’s latest bottling isn’t yet another standard spin on Irish, it’s a combination of whiskey with cold brew coffee flavor added. Makes sense, after all. The most iconic coffee + whiskey cocktail is, of course, Irish coffee.
There’s not a lot of backstory here, but Jameson reps say that customers have been asking for this concept for years and that “by combining the smooth taste of triple distilled Jameson and the richness of natural cold brew coffee flavor into one bottle, Jameson Cold Brew celebrates a passion for whiskey and coffee.” The coffee used are Arabica beans sourced from Brazil and Colombia, and Jameson Cold Brew is a limited edition expression — at least for now. Note that it’s billed as a flavored whiskey, not a liqueur.
Let’s give it a whirl.
First off, the nose of the dark brown spirit has a lot in common with any classic coffee liqueur: an immediate burst of dark roast coffee and some cocoa powder. There is at least some woody barrel char character and a hint of vanilla here, nodding just so at the fact that this is whiskey, not a sugary liqueur.
Nevertheless, expectations immediately bring liqueurs to mind, and your brain expects sweetness on the palate. Not so: This is whiskey, very dry with almost no sweetness at all aside from a hint of honey — driven more by the Irish whiskey base than the coffee flavor. Notes of charred wood and a black coffee rush meld a bit unexpectedly, largely covering up the delicate whiskey at the base of the spirit.
The finish is again quite drying, with the bitter coffee elements lingering for some time. It’s not overwhelming though, and Jameson Cold Brew never comes across as daunting in any dimension.
That said, aside from sipping it straight on the rocks — or maybe in a twist on a White/Black Russian — I’ve no idea what I’d do with it.