OLD JAMESON DISTILLERY BOW STREET

Distillery
Founded in 1810
Located just off Smithfield Square in Dublin, Ireland. Jameson Distillery Bow St. is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. The facility is currently a visitors center that offers guided tours, tutored whiskey tastings, a bar and a gift shop.

The original distillery on the site was the Bow Street Distillery, founded by John Stein of Kennetpans in 1780. John Jameson, who was related to Stein through marriage, gained control of the distillery in 1805, and in 1810 the distillery was named John Jameson & Son.

In the first years of 20th century, the distillery claimed to be number 1 in Ireland. There is no production in the distillery today, but all the equipment is still on the premises. There were four stills, two of them wash, each holding 24,000 gallons, and heated by both fire and steam coils.

The distillery fell on hard times during the American Prohibition. Ireland’s trade war with Great Britain added fuel to the fire, and the introduction of Scotch Whiskey was nothing short of a death blow.

They eventually decided to form an alliance with their previous competitors: the Cork Distilleries Company and John Power & Son, forming the Irish Distillers Group in 1966.

The Bow Street facility was one of the last distilleries in Ireland to close in 1971. Operations were then temporarily moved to Power’s Distillery in John’ s Lane, Dublin before being moved out of Dublin to the New Midleton Distillery.

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Distillery Details

  • Country
    Ireland
  • Established
    1810
  • Owner
    Irish Distillers
  • Visitor Center
    Yes
  • Status
    Inactive
  • Address
    Bow St, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7, Ireland
  • Phone
    +353 1 807 2355
  • Website
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Their guided tours offer complimentary drinks at their JJ’s Bar, named affectionately after John Jameson.

John Jameson was actually a Scot. He was born in Alloa, a small sea port near the city of Stirling in 1740.

Jameson Whiskey is the result of the intermingling of dynastic Scotch Whisky families. After profitable marriages between the Steins (leading Scottish industrialists in the 1730’s, who at one point, had the largest distillery in the world), and the Haigs (who also had a neighboring Whisky empire), John Jameson married into the dynasty and subsequently dominated the Irish Whiskey industry.
Video from Old Jameson Distillery Bow Street
Video transcription
David: I'm here at the Old Jameson Distillery. It was founded in 1780 by John Jameson. His family motto is "Without fear." You can find this on the back of every single bottle. Now, let's go in here with no fear and try some Whiskey.

David: Hey, now, how are you?

Man: Okay. I'm very well, sir.

David: Now, the tour guide, we're gonna go for a tour now.

Man: Yeah, let's go show you how we make Jameson.

David: So now, what's happening here? What...

Man: Well, the grist from the mill. That's the mixture of the malted and unmalted barley. We throw it here to the mash tongue . It's then filled, of course, with hot water and this machine keeps it turning that's beating or mashing the mixture. By doing this, we're making sugar.

David: Sugar? In the first step, right? Man: Well, no. This is about the third step in the whole thing but the most important step because without sugar, there's no fermentation. No fermentation, there's no alcohol. Very, very important.

David: All right. Great.

Man: So our sugary liquid is taken from here and sent to be fermented.

David: Can I dive in there?

Man: Yeah, of course you can. Next stop, fermenting.

David: All right, let's go.

Man: So here we are in the center of every distillery.

David: So you mean the spiritual center?

Man: That's exactly what it is, Dave, the spiritual center of every dis...where did you come up with that? Anyway. No, what happens here, folks, is our liquid now 16 proof is sent to the first still. All distillation is is the removal of the alcohol from the liquid. And we remove the alcohol by boiling everything. Water boils at 212 Fahrenheit. Alcohol boils at 173 Fahrenheit. So if you light a fire under the still when the temperature inside the still reaches 173 Fahrenheit, all the alcohol in your liquid is going to start to boil. Only the alcohol, not the water. Now the boiling alcohol turns into alcoholic steam. And the alcoholic steam is forced into a network of pipes. Alcoholic steam travels through these pipes, it arrives at a condensing machine where it's cooled down. As it cools down, it changes back into liquid. It arrives then in the second still. When it arrives here, we in Ireland, we repeat this process two more times, which means at the end of the distillation phase, the Jameson has been distilled three times. This is very important as it's another big difference between Jameson, most Scotch Whiskeys and American Whiskeys. Jameson is distilled three times, most Scotch Whiskeys are distilled twice, and American Whiskeys just the once. Big, big difference.

David: So can I try this?

Man: Well, yeah, let's...we've talked about the differences, let's drink the differences. Let's head for the bar.

David: Let's go.

Man: Now, we've been talking about making Jameson, now it's time to drink it, okay? What we're going to do here is gonna compare Jameson to the number one selling Scotch in the world and the number one selling American Whiskeys in the world. So first off, David, have a little drink of water just to clear the palate. Now, if you would mind taking in your right hand the Jameson. Take the Jameson in your right hand. In your left hand, is the number one selling Scotch in the world. Now compare the smells. Can you smell the smoke and the peat coming out of the Scotch?

David: Wow, that's strong. Man: Well, that's the strongest smell coming on because they use the tarp or the peat in the malting process. But we in Jameson, we don't. That gives Jameson the cleaner smell. Now, have a little sip of Jameson, just a small little sip. Just leave some in the glass and then straight away for a very best comparison, have a little drink of the number one selling Scotch in the world. Again, do we get a distinctive difference?

David: They do.

Man: Yeah. Now, there's three big differences, of course, to the American Whiskey. One, the main ingredient is corn, actually Indian maize. All the others, including the Scotch, are made from barley. Secondly, the American Whiskey's been distilled just one time. Jameson, three times, of course.

David: Wow, that was some great Whiskey.

Man: And David, because you correctly and wisely picked the Jameson as your favorite Whiskey, you're now an official Jameson Irish Whiskey Taster and have a diploma to prove that point. Well studied, sir.

David: Thank you so much.

Man: You're very welcome.

David: This is the Old Jameson Distillery.

Man: And where have you been?

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