The Old Jameson Distillery is located in Dublin. If you’ve never been to Dublin then let me tell you that in early May it can be rainy and cold as hell. In all fairness it was only in the upper 40’s when I was there but the drizzling rain and gusting wind made it feel much colder. So with that as my weather back drop my wife and I were looking for things to do inside while we were in Dublin. The Old Jameson Distillery fit the bill quite nicely. Honestly, my wife and I both love Irish whiskey so it wasn’t really a hard sell. The distillery is located in the Smithfield area of Dublin and is open for tours seven days a week. Tours runs every 25 minutes with the last one starting at 5:15 PM. Tickets are 13 Euros per person and that includes a drink of Jameson at the end. Unlike some Scottish distilleries the ticket price cannot be put toward any subsequent purchases in their gift shop.
If you decide to go for a visit you go in and get your tickets and then you wait. And wait. This is one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin. It’s big with the international crowd. You definitely won’t be the only foreigners there. Jameson is enjoyed around the world. You will likely be with other Americans, Germans, French, Russians, Japanese, and a whole host of others. Tours are generally conducted in English unless there is a tour group that makes other arrangements in advance. While you are waiting for your tour to begin you can do some early reconnaissance in the gift shop; have a drink of any of Irish Distillers fine whiskeys, cocktails, or Irish coffee in JJ’s bar; or head upstairs to the 3rd Still Restaurant for an a la carte meal. The restaurant is quite nice and all the staff throughout the distillery are very friendly and helpful.
Now they finally called your tour number. What are you going to see? First, let’s level set expectations a little bit. This used to be a distillery. Now it’s the Jameson Experience. Think of it like an homage to Jameson Whiskey. Spirit hasn’t flowed here since 1971, shortly after to merger in 1966 that created Irish Distillers from John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son, and Cork Distillery Company. The only “real” distillery tour (by bourbon and scotch standards) that you will find in Ireland now is up at Bushmills. Don’t let that dissuade you. It’s still a nice little joint. So with that we go on our tour. You start off with an intro speech from the tour guide and a video extolling the wonder that is Jameson Irish Whiskey. It’s a cute propaganda video that’s not too long and somewhat entertaining. After that you begin the tour proper. You are guided through the facility to different preset stations, each highlighting a different aspect of the whiskey making process. It’s not too exciting and anyone who regularly follows this site or reads up on whiskey probably won’t learn much.
At the end of the tour the guide will select six to eight people from each group to do a special tasting. As you are ushered into the tasting room most people will choose a Jameson beverage immediately to the right. You can get your Jameson straight up, with ginger ale, with cranberry juice, with Sprite, or over ice. Between my wife and me we got it neat and with ginger ale. Those individuals chosen for the special tasting will taste Jameson head to head with Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker Black. The guide then takes a poll on who likes Jameson the best and presents the participants with a Whiskey Taster Certificate. You get a closing speech from the guide and then conveniently come out near the gift shop.
The gift shop was my favorite part. You can get all the Jameson gear you could want including t-shirts, sweaters, umbrellas, hats, chocolates, and a bunch more. You can also buy just about every whiskey Irish Distillers makes. The Distillery Reserve is an interesting pick as it’s only available at the The Old Jameson Distillery and The Old Midleton Distillery gift shops and you can get a bottle personalized. For everything else you would do better buying it at home or duty free because the prices (taxes) are steep.
That’s it. Is this a Mecca or utopia of Irish whiskey? No, but it’s a fun diversion if you are in Dublin and are inclined to go.
The Old Jameson Distillery
Bow Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7
353 1 807 2355
Open 7 Days a week from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
3rd Still Restaurant open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM