A taste of the newly renovated Jameson Bow St Distillery


The Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin’s Smithsfield closed last August and Jameson has been busy renovating the historic building that reopened its doors just in time for St Patrick’s Day. With a passion to produce Ireland’s highest quality whiskey, John Jameson set up shop in Bow St in 1780.  Within a flash, the quality spirit developed a reputation in Ireland and stood out amongst the over 100 distilleries on the island.  Covering over 5 acres and producing a million gallons of spirit annually, Bow St became known to its over 300 workers as a “city within a city”.  Now the distillery that Jameson has called home for over two centuries has undergone an over €11 million renovation and XWHY Magazine was lucky enough to try its new tasting tour on the most festive day in the Irish calendar.

Jameson has succeeded in incorporating modern industrial furnishings, particularly in their open plan bar, to compliment the heritage of the building. The impressively high ceilings of the distillery showcase the restored original walls and beams with natural light.  To top it all off with some Irish charm, they’ve hung magnificent chandeliers made of Jameson bottles which project a kaleidoscope of shades of green in the main entrance.

Old Jameson Distillery, St Patrick’s Day.
Picture by Shane O’Neill Photography.

The tasting tour is an immersive journey from past to present, beginning with the legacy set by Jameson’s founding father of sourcing the highest quality ingredients and using the triple distillation process which give the brand it’s notoriously smooth taste. With storytelling at the core of the tour, Jameson has ensured an unforgettable experience by investing in state of the art technology that projects visual animations on the walls and room fixtures as your guide talks you through the history and whiskey production process.  It’s an audio visual tour which has peaked the interests of locals and tourists, devout whiskey lovers and amateurs alike.

Jameson wears its heart and history on its bottle. On the label, you’ll find the family motto “Sine Metu”, which roughly translated from Latin means “live a bit more, fear a bit less”.  The maxim gave the committed team behind Jameson the courage to make brave decisions to survive extinction after a series of unfortunate events; two World Wars, Prohibition, the Irish Civil War and British Trade Embargos couldn’t sink the Jameson ship!  The motto worked hand in hand with Irish phrase to “chance your arm”, meaning to step outside your comfort zone, which was the inspiration behind the incredibly talented Dublin illustrator Steve McCarthy’s design on this year’s limited edition Jameson bottle.

The most humbling aspect of visiting the Bow St Distillery is discovering the sense of community behind the brand. Jameson believes their story is dependent on its people who have dedicated their lives producing its whiskey.  Bear in mind that being a cooper for Jameson can be a tradition passed down generations – it literally runs in their blood.  Jameson pay homage their dedicated staff with the presence of two barrel men embossed on their green bottles.

The interactive experience concludes with a comparative tasting session, where a Jameson ambassador will explain the differences in production, smell and taste between Irish, Scotch and American whiskey. No cheating involved and said with uncrossed fingers, Jameson aces the taste test – but who are we to dictate? Try it for yourself!

Old Jameson Distillery, St Patrick’s Day.
Picture by Shane O’Neill Photography.

The tasting tour is one of three guided tours offered by Jameson at the Bow St distillery. You can also shake-up classic Irish whiskey cocktails in their Whiskey Shakers tour and sip straight from the cask in their Whiskey Makers tour – you even get to create your own personalised take home blend!


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