Jameson Irish Whiskey Tasting at The Lark

Simon checks out some fine drops from Jameson at The Lark.

I’ve always been a big fan of whiskey.  During my younger years, I’m sure I’ve consumed enough scotch whiskey  to pickle most people’s insides twice over.  As I grew older however, I began to appreciate my whiskey for its other attributes, not just its ability to help me lose my inhibitions and act like a complete twit. One whiskey that I have always appreciated, but did not really know a lot about, was Jameson Irish Whiskey.  However, that was about to change…

My brother-in-law and I found ourselves outside The Lark Food & Drink bar in Paddington on a warm Tuesday night, wondering what we had ahead of us.  Neither of us had ever been to a “whiskey tasting” before, and our imaginations were running wild!  My mind was swimming with mental images of stately gentlemen, cigar in one hand and crystal tumbler of fine whiskey in the other, debating the merits of the distillation processes used for 12-year-old and 18-year-old reserves.

Needless to say that this was not the case; we stepped inside The Lark and were greeted by Imogen, one of the organisers of the evening.  She guided us outside to an enclosed courtyard area, that already contained over a dozen people eagerly awaiting  the evening to commence.  Here we were greeted by the Jameson Brand Ambassador, Grace McGlynn.

Grace started the evening sharing some of the history behind Irish whiskey and the Jameson distillery. Interestingly, the Irish were the first to distil whiskey in the sixth century, when missionary monks  returned to Ireland with an apparatus used to distil perfume.  However, the Irish quickly adapted the process to distil liquor, which was the forerunner to today’s whiskey.

Jameson tasting

As she was recounting this to us, we were each served a whiskey sour, to accompany a bowl of mixed marinated olives (which were quickly disappearing).  The taste of the whiskey sour was amazing, the acidic touch of the lemon juice went marvelously with the olives, and overall it was really refreshing.

It was not long before the real tastings began in earnest. We had before us four glasses of Jameson: Jameson Standard, Special Reserve 12YO, Gold Reserve, and the Limited Reserve 18YO. We stepped through each of these, and compared them to a scotch and a sour mash (American style) whiskey.  As we were enjoying and learning about some fantastic whiskey, there was a steady stream of dishes arriving from the kitchens of The Lark.

The Jameson Standard was complimented by a wonderful Charcuterie Plate, which contained a selection of cured/aged meats, one of which was a smoked duck that was so tender and juicy that it was the first to disappear from the plate. For the vegetarians at our table, the Antipasti Plate was a great collection of grilled vegetables, sun dried tomato, buffalo mozzerella & rocket.

Next, was the Jameson Special Reserve 12 Year Old, which had an increased smoothness (over the Jameson Standard) and mellow flavours which made it the preferred reserve for making cocktails. Everyone at our table agreed that it was a great tasting whiskey, yet there were two more to try!

Wagyu Beef Sliders were the accompanying dish for this tasting (not so good for the vegetarians unfortunately) and Risotto Balls (with roast pumpkin, spinach, and fetta cheese).  The Risotto Balls were absolutely divine, and the Sliders were very tasty, but played havoc with my tastebuds thanks to the jalapenos.

Our next whiskey was the Jameson Gold Reserve, which we all found very smoky, especially so after the Slider’s jalapenos. However, it had a sweetness that came through, which apparently makes it popular with the ladies.

As we discussed amongst ourselves the merits of our latest tasting, Grace was regaling us of an American chaser called the “Pickleback”.  Basically, it’s a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey followed by a “back” of pickle juice, which people have gone nuts for over in the US.  However, a bar in Sydney has taken an alternative approach to the idea and created the “Chilliback” – a shot of Jameson followed by a back of cloudy apple juice, that has been dosed with 3-5 dashes of Tabasco sauce.

Before we could get too excited over shots though, we needed to finish our tastings with the Jameson Limited Reserve 18 Year Old.  The 18YO had a completely different nose/taste/finish to each of the previous tastings, with each appealing differently to the people at our table. However, inspite of the mellow and smooth flavours of fudge & toffee spice coming through in the 18YO, I was surprised to find myself being drawn back to the Special Reserve 12YO.  For me, that was the drop of the evening.

So, to finish off our night, a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey and a shot of cloudy apple juice, liberally dosed with Tabasco, was placed before each of us. As a group, we tossed down our shots in succession…yum! This is a definite must-try for anyone who loves a bit of spice to their shots. It was very similar to one of my all time favourites, a Bloody Mary Oyster shot!

It was a great night of tasting fine Irish whiskey, beautiful food, and talking to some great people.  My compliments to The Lark for having such a great setting for the evening and serving some great dishes.  If you get a chance, visit them and enjoy a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey at the bar… the 12 Year Old Special Reserve, of course!


– Simon 


Jameson Irish Whiskey



The Lark Food & Drink bar

1/267 Given Terrace

Paddington QLD 4064

(07) 3369 1299



Many thanks to Cav Con, who invited Eat Drink Brisbane to the tasting. All opinions expressed are our own. This was an un-paid review.


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