Recollections Of Jameson, Brought To You By Jameson


As we celebrate with all of our friends who make St. Patrick’s Day great, we raise a glass to Jameson for sponsoring this story.

Earlier this month, Jameson funded a party we threw, and then they sent us to Ireland. Now Awl publisher John Shankman and I mull it over.

Edith: John, do you like Jameson?

John: Why, hello Edith. I have heard of Jameson Irish Whiskey as a matter of fact. And yes, I do enjoy it. How about you?

Edith: Yes, I also like it.

John: (I just put on some exciting tunes to get ready for this convo.)

Edith: Haha, which?

John: If you must: Alesso radio on Pandora. My brother told me it’s cool. Seems like good times are around every corner when you have good tunes pumping, not too different from our trip to Ireland.

Edith: Lol true

John: Although in Ireland it was more about the rock n roll I suppose. *fists pumping* What’s it like wearing your Jameson sweatshirt in public post-trip?

Edith: It is wonderful. I love my new Jameson sweatshirt.


John: I saw you rocking it in an Instagram!!

Edith: Haha, yep! ~Jameson in the wild~

John: It was pretty fresh. REPPIN’ THE #BRAND.

Edith: How’s YOUR sweatshirt experience going?

John: It’s pretty dope, to be honest. I feel validated as a person who interacts with brands. I’ve mentioned this before and you’ve edited it out like every time, but I really feel like Jameson is an #authentic #brand with #real #people behind it, and that I now UNDERSTAND how the SPIRITS are made.

Edith: lol

John: I tell the story about how [Jameson brand ambassador] Dave “The Rave” McCabe enlightened us to how alcohol is made to everyone I see, and they all stare, mouths gaping! No one ever knew how the liquor came to be.

Edith: I

John: My big joke is that it’s yeast poop.

Edith: I’m dying over here

John: The tunes carry me, what can I say.

Edith: keep going


John: Anyway, since this is a public convo, what I’ll say is, to make spirits: 1. Grind up cereal to put in water. This creates sugars and essentially food-rich water.

Edith: I’m still whispering “dave the rave mccabe” to myself.

John: He was the man. I wonder if we can ever host Dave The Rave in NYC. Anyway, yeah, so step one: create food-rich water for the yeasts. Once we have the food water, we add the LIVING CREATURE(S?) known as yeast. The living creatures EAT THE FOOD! And then, what they … for lack of a better word … excrete is the alcohol! So you now you have water with some food and some alcohol in it. And hold on to your pants because step three is HASHTAG MOFO’N SCIENCE!!! And the monks from thousands of years ago knew this science, too.

Edith: lol

John: Alcohol boils at a different point than water (lower), so you boil the water/food/alcohol/yeast mixture to about 80 degrees and the alcohol evaporates (or as I like to say just vapes). Then the alcohol boils off into a tube and is condensed once it’s away from the rest of the mixture. And now we have alcohol. But alcohol made by science is not whiskey at all. It’s not even a spirit yet!

micro distillation

One of the most important questions I asked The Rave (in my mind, at least) is when we can classify the evaporated alcohol as a spirit. And the answer to that question is step 4 and a special process that Jameson uses to get its recipe just right. We’re now transitioning from #science to #art.

Jameson does a triple distillation process and once that process is done we now have a spirit. A spirit is born after step 4!

And finally step 5: the art of transforming a spirit into Jameson. Step 5 all made possible by Mr. Buckley — Ger Buckley — a person who in my mind, at least, is the greatest barrel maker on Earth. Since I don’t actually know that, though, I’m confident saying he’s in the top ten. #BARRELS. So we’ve birthed a spirit in step 4.

Ger Buckley

In order to get that smooth Jameson taste that we know regularly, it’s then put in an white oak barrel. The history of the barrels is another fascinating tale of commerce and trade, but suffice to say, the barrels themselves are on a journey and Ger and his team look for the finest barrels to put the spirits into.

Edith: I love what is happening right now

John: Step 5: Place the spirits into the white oak barrels in order to get the taste and flavor that we know comes from the green bottle. The spirits must stay in the barrel for a minimum of 3 years. But, as we experienced, many spirits stay longer and we get things like Jameson 12 year special reserve. And we even have some 18 year blends.

So, whack a spirit in a barrel, let it age and then blend with other whiskeys. That’s essentially the process.

Edith: Which is also JUST THE BEGINNING.

John: Too true. But so, it’s simple science and then a really intense art/skill of figuring out how much cereal to use, how much to distill and how long to age to get the different flavors. Jameson Gold is a little spicier for example. I can’t divulge the secret process (AKA I don’t know it) behind Gold. But what did you think of the facility carrying out this process?

Edith: I liked it. It was intense. I loved the safety vests. (In pics Dave is wearing a more elaborate version.)

John: The vests were hot for sure.

Edith: I was honestly disappointed that neither of you took a picture of me in my vest. But anyway: facility.


John: Very heady. Mix of old world and new science. Runs 24 hours. CRANKS SPIRITS.

Edith: I liked that pot still with the porthole-window thing.

John: It was the inspiration for Desmond’s hatch in “Lost,” I thought.

Edith: Totally. That was a great observation.

John: Why, thank u.

Edith: Oh, you know what I wanted to ask at the time but was too shy to?

John: Please.

Edith: When Dave mentioned that Jameson production used to be seasonal back in the day because of the river — I wonder if that’s because the river was/is only cold enough for part of the year to do the “cooling down the alcohol vapor” part of the distillation process. Does that make sense? (Is anyone even still reading this??? lol)

John: Yah im gonna ignore tho. JK

Edith: And then with the invention of refrigeration, or something…


John: No, that’s a good question. The history of it all is remarkable.

Edith: Well I guess I’ll save it for Dave for another time. Because there is certainly no other way to figure it out.

John: Dave, if you’re reading, please email us the answer. One thing your question reminded me of, though, Edith, is — POP QUIZ TIME — Who gets the largest share of Jameson whiskey after it’s produced?

Edith: Haha. It’s either THE ANGELS

or America

John: YES!!! THE ANGELS!!! GREAT ONE A+! And how do the angels get their share of whiskey?

Edith: They fly into the warehouse where it’s stored and breathe in the alcohol that’s evaporated from the barrels.

John: YERP. So much whiskey evaps. I think like 2%.


Edith: Angels getting loose.

John: Having, dare I say, a spirited time?

Edith: Lol

John: Will you always remember St. Patrick’s day now? Or, rather, how were our guides, Paula, Hannah and Mary-Anne?

Edith: They were amazing. I am so curious about their lives.

John: Yes, they were very excellent. Kept things on track.

Edith: I still play Paula’s voicemail a few times a day.

john tasting

Edith: John, how did you bring the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland back home to America with you?

John: Well, I’ll say I have a deeper appreciation for the blended spirit that is Jameson whiskey. I learned it’s a product of science, art and history, and I appreciate that.

Edith: I wonder what the point of this whole campaign is. That’s the one thing I’m missing.

John: That, Edith, is the great question of all things. What is the point of anything?

[We go off record for a bit, solve everything]

John: Edith, do you think people will look at you differently when you order a Jameson now in your local bar when you have a Jameson hoodie on?

Edith: Yes.

John: Take you more seriously?

Edith: Yes.

John: And now if you’ll please excuse me I’m going to put on my Jameson sweatshirt and head out to my local bar for happy hour to share my knowledge of how whiskey is made and what IT’S REALLY LIKE IN DUBLIN on St. Patrick’s Day.

[Hours pass]

Edith: [alone, directly into the camera] The irony, or something, is that later that night I was the one at my actual corner local bar actually wearing the Jameson sweatshirt. *sips deeply*


Ultimately a product is only as good as the people who make it, and Jameson is made by real people, for real people. The care that goes into each bottle ensures every glass is warm and hospitable — whether its neat, mixed, or on the rocks — just like those who enjoy it. There is hard work and humanity behind every smooth ounce.

Jameson lives beyond St. Patrick’s Day through traditions held by groups of friends around the world. At family reunions and local dive bars, band practices and parties, in the happy hours and in the wee hours, Jameson brings people and communities together all year round.