Meet The Maker: Janice Snowden

Janice Snowden, brand ambassador, Jameson

Janice Snowden is standing with a bottle of wine in her hands.

Q: Where do you work?
A: Whilst Ireland is home to both myself and our wonderful whiskey, I am very lucky to be spreading the love of Irish whiskey around the UK. I can often be found anywhere that wants to hear me talk about whiskey, whether that’s sitting at a bar or hosting a masterclass, my job and location change every day.

Q: How long have you worked there and how did you start?
A: I started my current role in May 2021 but my time with Jameson began four years ago as a tour guide in the Jameson Bow Street distillery, where I taught an in-depth whiskey production class and hosted private tastings. I then got sent to New York to be a whiskey ambassador and now I’m based in lovely London town. I’ve always been obsessed with hospitality and have been working in the industry for 13 years. Whiskey just found me along the way!

Q: Describe the production process.
A: Jameson is one of only a handful of distilleries in the world that uses two types of barley – malted and unmalted. Unmalted barley gives an extra bit of spice and mouthfeel, whilst single malt whiskey uses 100% malted barley. We use two different distillation types to make our whiskey – the traditional way in copper single pot stills, which tends to make the whiskey spicy and robust, and we also make grain whiskey from corn and malted barley using the more modern and efficient column still method, which tends to be more light and floral. By using both of these whiskey types we get the best of both worlds. We also triple distil our whiskey to give it extra smoothness. Then to round it all off we use two different types of barrels to mature our whiskey. Our casks previously would have held American whiskey and sherry, and this leaves them perfectly seasoned to pass on part of their personality to our whiskey. Bourbon casks give vanilla, caramel and chocolate notes whereas sherry casks give dried fruits and nuts, and after leaving the whiskey in there for a minimum of three years the result is our wonderful Irish whiskey!

Q: What’s a typical day like?
A: Being an ambassador is all about education and advocacy. I get to travel around the UK, spreading the love for Jameson and our products via tastings and trainings. Getting liquid to lips and telling stories is what I love doing.

Q: Please provide brief tasting notes for your products.
A: Jameson Original is known for its smooth and easy drinking notes – light and floral, full of vanilla and fruits, and a little bit of spice. Our new release of Jameson Orange takes the smooth easy-drinking characteristics of Jameson to the next level. Straight away on the nose, it’s like cutting into orange zest, and then on the palate a full citrus orange bomb with subtle vanilla notes. The perfect spirit drink for even non-whiskey drinkers to try.

Q: What would you say sets your product apart?
A: What sets Jameson apart has always been its signature smoothness due to our triple distillation, offering an easy-going and accessible flavour profile. It’s also our willingness to experiment and innovate, for example with Jameson Caskmates, which was with stout and IPA cask finishes, and now the new Jameson Orange, the first Irish spirit drink of its kind combining our triple distilled whiskey with natural orange flavours. To move forward and get people excited about whiskey you have to think outside of the box and Jameson 100% does that.

Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?
A: The Irish whiskey revolution is well and truly happening right now and Jameson is one of the major driving forces behind this. Jameson is growing +20% in off-trade value, almost twice as fast as the total whiskey category, whilst in the on-trade, pre-COVID, Jameson was growing +10% in value vs. the imported whiskey category, which was in decline.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: I have always loved being a host. Irish hospitality has been such a huge part of my life but I also love teaching people and talking about what I love. Whiskey became a passion along the way so it’s combining these two loves of hosting and teaching that have given me my dream job.

Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your brand?
A: Personally, I love my whiskey neat but sometimes different occasions call for something different. A whiskey Old Fashioned with Jameson Black Barrel is a great classic cocktail but if I want something simple and refreshing, I go for a highball drink like Jameson and ginger ale with a slice of lime. Our new Jameson Orange signature serve is with lemonade and it is the perfect refreshing drink that will have you dreaming of sunny days.

Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: I have been very lucky to work in incredible cities and present at amazing festivals such as BCB and Whiskey Live, which is probably my favourite part of the job. The ultimate highlight for me was when I was taken behind the scenes at the Midleton distillery. Seeing those 80,000-litre copper pot stills is something not many people get to do. I still to this day talk to people about what I learned from that trip.

Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: I am very lucky to be working for a whiskey where there are so many incredible females behind the brand. It’s so important to realise that this industry is not just a man’s world. I was an active member of the Women who Whiskey club in New York and got to see and hear so many incredible women talk about their passion and share their immense knowledge. Also, a huge shout out to Carol Quinn who is the head archivist of the Midleton distillery. I have learnt so much from this woman and she is such a wealth of knowledge to have behind the distillery.

Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: Even though it’s a huge part of my work life I am at my happiest when I’m in wonderful bars and restaurants. Luckily enough I live in a city full of them! On a weekend I love strolling around the park with a flat white from one of the many fantastic baristas in London, followed by a meal and some whiskey-based cocktails.