The idea that Jameson is a Catholic whiskey while Bushmills is a Protestant beverage is widely held but the real story is not that simple.
The crux of the story comes from Bushmills being distilled in the predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland while Jameson is distilled in the heart of Dublin.
Here are a few of the murky issues:
– According to blogger and bar expert Jeff Morgenthaler, this Catholic verses Protestant is largely a Irish-American construct.
– Jameson founder John Jameson was actually Scottish and most likely a Protestant despite distilling in Dublin.
– According to liquor.com, Bushmills current master distiller, Colum Egan, is Catholic.
– Both Jameson and Bushmills are blended whiskeys and likely contain small amounts of each whiskey in their blends.
– Jameson is owned by Pernod Ricard is a French company while Bushmills is currently owned by Mexico’s Jose Cuervo.
So leave religion at the door and drink (responsibly) whichever whiskey you want. And maybe a pint or two.
If you really want to dive deep into the barrel of Irish Whiskey read Larry Olmsted’s excellent Complete Guide to Irish Whiskey on Forbes.com.
Sláinte! (That is Irish Gaelic for “health” … pronounced slahn-chə)
Bradford Hornsby is an editor, music writer, web producer, and pop culture blogger for CBS stations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Find him on Twitter at @bradfordhornsby.