Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve

The gold standard
By MIKE MILIARD  |  March 12, 2008

In 1973, the late, great Mets pitcher Tug McGraw was asked how he’d spend his postseason share. He thought for a moment, then tabulated his expenditures: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other 10 percent I’ll probably waste.”

Let’s just say there are worse ways one could blow $250 than by spending it on a bottle of Jameson’s new Rarest Vintage Reserve. Even if you’re not an ex-pat Dubliner flush with the dizzying wealth of the still-strong Celtic Tiger, this one’s a worthwhile investment.

Blending a rare selection of aged-grain whiskeys with traditional Irish pot-still spirits, triple distilled and unfiltered, the Vintage Reserve is a labor of love from Jameson’s four master distillers: robust and infinitely complex. Pouring a resplendent glinting copper color, clinging to the sides of the glass with spindly, sticky legs, its nose is assertive and aromatic: grassy, lemony, with a spicy hint of cinnamon.

A first sip reveals an impossibly full-bodied spirit: there are notes of black pepper and toasted oak, with sweetness that seems to vacillate, somehow, between citrus and faint chocolate. It all ebbs deliciously with a long, lingering finish that’s tangy and warming.

It’s a fine, if pricey, way to toast Ireland’s patron saint. Don’t have the funds? Don’t worry. The little people have lots of gold — you could always mug a leprechaun.

Available for $250 per bottle at finer area liquor stores.

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