Head to Head, The Eternal Struggle: Jameson vs. Powers

ABVs: 80%

Ages: NAS

Maker: Irish Distillers, Cork, Ireland (Pernod-Ricard)

1) Jameson

2) Powers


1) Straw with thin but persistent legs

2) Light Copper with thicker legs


1) Apple, sweet, slightly tart and malty, some floral notes as well.

2) Richer, good butterscotch candy, caramel apple

On the palate

1) Sweet, medium bodied, a bit of maltyness

2) Thick, heavy body (for an Irish blend anyway). A bit of heat, butterscotch, brown sugar, and do I detect a wee bit of bourbon barrel influence?


1) Light and sweet, some burn, butterscotch and a lingering sweetness

2) Burn, cotton candy (more bourbon barrel notes or are they grain whiskey notes?), maybe even some oak.

Parting Words

So what is the outcome of this classic battle? Both are classics, both are made at the same distillery and owned by the same company. Jameson is much more popular, at least in the U.S., while Powers claims to be the best-selling whiskey in Ireland. Jameson claims to be all pot-still and all barley (a combination of malted and unmalted) while Powers is a combination of grain whiskey and pot-still malt.

Jameson not without its charm. It has a light, crisp flavor that reminds me of Glenfiddich, but without the citrus notes. It is refreshing but it doesn’t have a lot of depth. Why anyone would feel the need to consume Jameson in shot form is one of life’s eternal mysteries and makes me
contemplate the composition of an essay tentatively entitled “The Wussification of American Drinking Culture”.

At any rate, Powers isn’t particularly earth-shattering either, but it has more going on than Jameson. It has richer, darker flavors than its sibling and one can actually tell that it has been aged in a barrel, particularly a bourbon barrel. The candy notes in the nose and finish, the fullness of its body and its relative complexity make Powers a more interesting choice when ordering from the bar. Not to mention the bottle is one of the best designed and most beautiful in all of whiskeydom. For an Irish at its price point, Powers is highly recommended.