2016 has been a big step forward for Jameson, especially seeing as this year saw them unveil a whole new family of expressions celebrating the heritage and craft that swirls around the hugely popular Irish blend. Their whiskeys have always been greatly received around the world so watching them push their Whiskey Maker’s adventurous range into the Australian market has been exciting. The series, which includes the very popular Caskmates, which is Jameson that’s been aged in craft Irish stout barrels, and the Black Barrel, Irish whiskey matured in double-charred bourbon barrels, has given us several news perspectives on the brand. For this edition of On the Shelf we’re taking a look at what we feel is one of the unmissable highlights of the new range, a whiskey which was overseen by Jameson’s Master Cooper Ger Buckley going by the name of Cooper’s Croze.
The well respected fifth generation cooper took this opportunity to create a whisky that highlights the art of cooperage and the strong influence of wood on a blended whiskey’s flavour profile. The name comes from Buckley’s most important tool, which is called a croze. It’s used to make the groove at the head of the barrel, making it easier to seal.
As Ger explained himself: “The new family celebrates the heritage and the people behind the whiskey but through a process of innovation and looking to the future.” Which explains why Jameson have taken such big steps out of the norm with this series. Obviously as one of the most well known members of the Jameson family, Ger isn’t going to turn in anything he feels is second-rate, and so what we get with Cooper’s Croze is a beautifully crafted whiskey that carries very much what you’d expect: it’s subtly sweet and generous in flavour, with the very noticeable influence of oak.
Rich ripe fruits such as pears are the first to be perceived on the nose, but this quickly moves away and makes way for some charred oak and hazelnuts. That nutty roast character carries comes through again on the back of the palate, but not before the sweeter side of honey, toffee and again a bit of pear. The whiskey is thick and spicy as it goes down, wild in its flavour but gentle on the back, leaving a very welcome taste of dark roasted fruits; the sweetness does drop away quite quickly though, leaving you with a dry finish with those char oaks at their most noticeable.
“The Maker’s Series which started conception over four years ago focuses in on the craft that goes into whiskey making at Midleton – the cooper, distiller, and blender,” explained Buckley. “All three were given the opportunity to come up with their own style of whiskey to represent their personality and craft. In Cooper’s Croze, it’s about the qualities of the oak, Distiller’s Safe is very much about distillate, and Blender’s Dog is very much about the blend.”
“It’s quite an honour as a Cooper to get the opportunity to produce your own whiskey. The product reflects the tradition and heritage of coopering and the qualities of brand new American oak and sherry casks.” He continues. “I still operate the same way as my father and grandfather before me with the same tools so it’s very much a tribute to Jameson that they honor the craft that’s been the same way for generations. As modern as whiskey making has gotten we still cherish the craft of coopering, distilling and blending.”
To find out more about all the new expressions as part of the Jameson Maker’s Series click HERE.
Cooper’s Crooze, along with the other expressions, is now available across Australia for an RRP of $109.99 (700ml; 43% ABV). You can grab a bottle from Dan Murphy’s HERE.