The other evening found me in the local Irish pub, since the rest of the family was off doing other things by the time I got out of work. I had a New Belgium Snow Day with my food, but I wasn't about to leave without an Irish whiskey for dessert.
I asked for a Midleton Rare, and the bartender said, "Are you sure? It's like twenty-eight dollars a drink."
(I took that in the spirit it was offered, as a friendly warning that the Midleton was quite a bit more expensive than it looked. I'd had a long day, but surely I didn't look like I was within thirty dollars of vagrancy.)
He double-checked. The price was actually eighteen dollars, so I know what I'm doing for my birthday, and after further discussion with the bartender I settled on a Jameson 12 yo Special Reserve.
The 12 is a nice step up from the regular Jameson, the extra time in sherry casks well spent. The nose had a strong apple note that developed into molasses after several minutes. The older Jameson's flavor is richer and rounder than the younger's, though still with that distinctive grain flavor underlying it all.
I'd like to try a vertical tasting some time, but going on memory it seemed as though they had managed just what I want from such bottlings: a whiskey that improves upon the entry level proportionate to the extra cost, while keeping the family resemblance. And now I'm curious about the 18 yo; a lot of single malt Scotches head off in very different flavor directions when they spend those extra few years in casks, and I wonder what that time does to Irish whiskies.