Whether you’re a whiskey connoisseur or just like to order a shot with your beer, you’ve probably tasted Ireland’s most famous export, Jameson. Dublin’s iconic spirit is by far the most popular Irish whiskey in the world, selling to an international market since the 19th century. While you can pick up a bottle anywhere, fans of the drink can learn about John Jameson’s story at the original distillery, located near Smithfield Square.
Although Jameson was official founded in 1810, it was first introduced in 1780 with the establishment of Bow Street Distillery, owned by the Stein family, a prominent distilling family from Scotland. John Jameson, whose wife was sister to the Haig brothers and first cousin of the Steins, was hired as general manager of Bow Street in 1786, and by the 19th century he was producing 1 million gallons annually.
At the time, Dublin had become the world’s center for whiskey, and people still come from all over the world to learn about the distilling process. The company had to close down the original factory in 1971, but it was reopened as a public attraction in 1997. The distillery isn’t operational, but you can still see the original stills and take a tour of the grounds. The standard tour walks you through the history of Jameson and their distilling process, in addition to offering a complimentary Jameson Ginger and Lime.
Whiskey aficionados who want a more in-depth tour can book a Jameson Whiskey Masterclass or Jameson Taste Experience, which gives visitors a taste of the distilleries’ various reserve barrels. There is even an opportunity to get your own personalized bottle, filling it yourself with Jameson’s flagship Black Barrel reserve.
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