During the Jameson Caskmates Presentation in Vienna, we had the chance to interview Ciaran O’Donovan, International Brand Ambassador of Jameson Irish Whiskey
Dia duit Mr. ODonovan!
Go raibh maith agat!
Tell us about yourself and your role at Jameson Irish Whiskey?
I come from Co. Cork and I live in Cork City. I work in brand education within the company, we produce Jameson among many other great Irish Whiskeys including Powers, Redbreast and of course Midleton at the Midleton Distillery. I work in our Whiskey Academy which is essentially our education unit at the Midleton Distillery. There I hold whiskey education courses for stakeholders who interact with our brands, these can be brand managers, marketing staff, sales, bartenders and the media. I also travel internationally to various brand events and trade shows to speak or present on behalf of the company.
How does one get a job as International brand ambassador?
Well first the company is local to where I am from, so I always wanted to work there. I initially joined 6 years ago on the company graduate program and I worked in Finland and the USA in a number of functions. When the job came up in Midleton working in the Academy I jumped at the chance.
What’s your favorite thing about your position?
I love meeting people and through the Academy and travelling I get to meet people from all over the world.
Talk about the different types of whiskeys – and how Irish whiskey differs from other whiskeys from around the world?
Irish Whiskey is unique to the island of Ireland, the tradition of making whiskey dates to the 6th century so it is our national spirit. There are a number of traditional practices which add to the uniqueness of Irish whiskey, these include the use of unmalted barley in our ingredients this adds a nice oily texture. Also, Irish whiskey is famed for triple distillation, which is what gives Jameson its signature smooth finish.
Tell us about Jameson Irish Whiskey brand – what makes it special and unique?
Jameson is a brand that has stood the test of time. It has been made since 1780 and today is the world’s number one selling Irish whiskey. Generations of families have worked in our company, and there is a deep love of the brand among the employees.
Are there any trends in the spirits industry – even beyond the Whisky industry – that we’ll be seeing in the next few years?
I think there will be a continued growth in aged spirits, there is a growing appreciation for the nuisances in flavour achieved from maturating spirits in casks. Added to this we will continue to see new and innovative casks used for aging, whether that be the use of beer casks in the whiskey industry or the use of wine casks in the maturation of other spirits.
What’s it like to visit The Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland?
You can visit or visitor center in Bow St in Dublin or our old Distillery is open in Cork to the public as well. My favourite thing do at Bow St is the “Shakers Experience”, here one of our expert mixologists will take you on a journey to mix the perfect Irish whiskey cocktails.
What is your favorite Jameson Irish Whiskey offering?
I have to say it’s a tie between Jameson Black Barrel and Jameson Caskmates. Black barrel goes great in a cocktail and depending on the occasion, I do love a good Old Fashioned. However, I also like a good craft beer and Caskmates matches really well to make the perfect Boilermaker.
Tell us about the new Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition. What was the inspiration?
What is so special about this Whiskey? Jameson Caskmates is a Jameson Irish Whiskey that has been matured in ex-bourbon & sherry casks and then for the last few months of it is finished in ex-stout barrels. Finishing the Whiskey in ex stout barrels means it takes on some of the character of a stout beer. Jameson Caskmates has the usual fruity and vanilla notes, but the stout layers on hints of hops, chocolate and cocoa. This unique maturation process means you have a whiskey that makes a perfect match for a good craft beer.
What’s next for Jameson Irish Whiskey, can you tell us a little bit about future plans, activities or new offerings?
Well with the success of Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, we are looking at other ex-beer casks for finishing our whiskeys, so watch this space.
Thanks so much Ciaran for your valuable time designating to this interview. Hope to see you soon again in Vienna.