Triple distilled happiness

Triple distilled happiness

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-07-09 11:19 In 1780, a sprightly Dubliner John Jameson started a small distillery in a tranquil corner on Bow Street. It is now irrefutably synonymous with Ireland. The old Jameson distillery, functioning as a museum since 1971, showcases the soul of not just the Jameson family, who in the 1500s was awarded the title Sine Metu, meaning ‘without fear’, for combating the dragooning pirates of the ocean, but also ratifies the Irish spirit. When in Dublin, a visit to this distillery-turned-museum is inevitable if you are hooked on history besides whiskey. Here, you can hark back in time and study how whiskey used to be made, not that different to how it’s done now, except that farmers don’t ride horse carts to deliver barley and men don’t carry hulking sacks of grains on their backs.When you visit the old Jameson distillery, you are taken on a tour of the place where you’ll discover the intricacies of the process of whiskey making, which happily ends with tasting. When asked, make sure you put up your hand for a comparative tasting session where you’ll get to taste and compare other whiskeys as well. Also don’t forget to check out the shop where you can buy Jameson souvenirs, especially the 40 Euro special distillery reserve (which is available solely at the distillery) on which you can get your name imprinted.Before you clink a glass next time, remember that whiskey is not born smooth – there are eight stages before which it reaches you.Grain storeIt’s hard to believe that Jameson is made from just three main ingredients – barley, maize and water (from the Dungourney River). Before the time of pulleys and thingamajigs that simplify work, men used to carry grains of sack on their backs, some even as heavy as 100kgs.MaltingMalted barley is barley that has germinated. Malted barley is required because it contains natural enzymes that are essential in the brewing process. Barley is malted by seeping it in water for a number of days before it is dried in closed kilns to ensure a smooth and unsmoked taste.MillingThe malted barley, along with unmalted barley is then ground into a coarse flour called grist.MashingThe grist is then mixed with hot water in a giant vessel called the ‘mash tun’ and stirred so that the starches from the grains are converted into fermentable sugars. After about four hours of mashing, the sweet liquid called ‘wort’ formed during the process is extracted and filtered.FermentationThe wort is pumped into large containers called ‘washbacks’ and yeast is added to it. It is then allowed to ferment for about three days during which the sugars turn into alcohol before it is ready for the next process.  The liquid at this stage is called ‘wash’.Triple Pot and Triple Column DistillationThis is the step that makes Jameson unique. Distillation is the process of separating alcohol from water. The wash is heated and the alcohol evaporates and condenses in large copper pots. Jameson is distilled three times. Each stage of distillation guarantees a smoother produce.  In the triple ‘column’ distillation, maize is also added and then distilled in three columns to create another unique spirit.MaturationOnce the distillation is done, the spirit is filled in oak casks and sent to warehouses for maturation. The casks imported from the US, Spain, and Portugal are used to store bourbon, sherry and port. These, along with the tannin in the wood, impart a unique flavour and colour to the spirit. Some barrels are kept longer than the others depending on the kind of whiskey needed. Each barrel loses 2 percent liquid through evaporation every year. This is called the ‘angel’s share’.Marrying and VattingBefore the whiskey is bottled, it is poured into large vats where it is allowed to mingle.So, savour your triple distilled and don’t forget to drink responsibly.