I was in Ireland recently and visited both the now closed Jameson's Distillery in Dublin and the currently producing Jameson's Distillery in Midleton. I have always liked Irish whiskey, which is a malt whiskey, and, unlike Scotch whiskey is not peat smoked in the malting process. Most Irish whiskies are triple distilled, which makes for a smoother whiskey (so the Irish say) but also tends to remove some of the flavor components along with some of the less desirable elements.
While at the Midleton Distillery, I had a chance (at a cost of 18 Euros) to compare Jameson's 12 YO, Jameson's 18 YO, and Midleton. Midleton is a blend of 15 to 25 YO Jameson whiskies. At the Midleton Distillery the Midleton whiskey sells for about 150 Euros (about $220). After tasting the Midleton, I was much impressed and it was clearly (at least to me) superior to both the 12 YO and the 18 YO Jameson. At the duty free shops in Dublin, Midleton sells for about 100 Euros ($147) so I again decided against buying any.
Yet..............I did like Midleton, finding it to be very soft, more than moderately malty sweet, extremely smooth, and Cognac-like in its delicacy. When I returned to GA and went by 'my' liquor store, I found it to be about $115 with my discount. So, I bought a bottle.
It is a soft, delicate whiskey with nice sweetness. It is excellent and would go well with many desserts, or when one is in the mood for something approaching Cognac (an excellent quality Cognac to be sure) like fragility. But, it is almost there, and would be for some folks.
Cognac captures the best of the aromas and flavors from the grape, much more so than any wine of which I am aware (and I am a wine rank amatuer and always will be). Cognac is highly floral in aroma, and its sweetness is like the nectar from flowers.
Midleton captures the best malt/sherry/bourbon sweetness (bourbon and sherry remnants from the used casks), suspends it by a single strand of spider web and invites you to enjoy it and never break that single strand.
One is drinking a whiskey that especially suited the Master Distiller at Jameson's Middleton Distillery (who, by the way, was born in a house at the distillery since his father before him was Master Distiller), for he is responsible for the blending and only makes about 50 casks each year. It is certainly less fragile than Cognac but nevertheless quite delicate. It is the most delicate whiskey I have ever had the experience of sipping. I will enjoy it over the next year or so..........just when the mood strikes a need in me.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas