Last wednesday, Jameson celebrated the opening of its newly renovated home – a state of the art distillery in the town of Midleton, Cork County, Ireland – with The Housewarming 2013, a one day festival that showcased the new facility, the Jameson team and of course, the smooth whiskey the brand is renowned for.

The celebration saw a selection of world-class craftspeople descend on the distillery to profile the intricacies of Irish Whiskey production and present a series of events and talks on the traditions, characters, crafts and blends that define Midleton. Highlights included an artisan food market, a demonstration by fifth generation Master Cooper, Ger Buckley, of his age-old craft, and a Trend Lab, where some of the world’s leading mixologists presented unique Jameson-based cocktail recipes and explained some of the drinks that are currently in trend around the globe, (word to ‘Scum Backs’ – shot of coke and coffee, shot of Jameson – boom).

UK-based food and culture journal The Gourmand were also invited to curate a series of talks by renowned specialists, inspired by whiskey. These included a lecture by scent specialist and “professional provocateur”, Sissel Tolaas, (who among other things has re-created the odour of outer space) and who for Housewarming 2013 identified and separated the scent molecules present in Jameson whiskey, demonstrating the drink’s complexities. Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) treated guests to an intimate acoustic set, while The Gourmand‘s David Lane also presented a talk, fittingly around the link between alcohol and creativity – something we can certainly get behind.

While in Ireland, SLAMXHYPE managed to chat to Irish Whiskey Ambassador, Dave McCabe – a man charged with educating the world on the unique traditions and flavours of Irish Whiskey. Dave also runs an Irish Whiskey academy at the Midleton grounds where he passes on his knowledge to up and coming ambassadors of the drink.

Dave ran us through the unique elements of Irish whiskey – the triple distilled process, the re-use of Spanish Sherry and American Bourbon barrels which add to Jameson’s unique flavour and colour, and the importance of their single water source in Cork to the final product.

So how should we drink Irish Whiskey? Dave’s got the answer. “It depends on the situation. I would always recommend try it neat first and then maybe add a small drop of water. This will bring down the alcohol level and allow you to smell more aromas coming out of the glass and you can figure out what’s in your whiskey. Then when you’re having a night out, add your ice, add your soda water, add your slice of lime – it depends on the scene – but it’s great no matter what shape or form its in. The occasion or who you’re with is paramount.”

For more on Jameson or to tour the Midleton distillery yourself, visit Jamesonwhiskey.com

Photography: Ben McMahon