Tullamore DEW is one of Ireland’s most widely-exported blends, selling around 2.5 million bottles each year. First distilled in the town of Tullamore in 1829, it was produced continually in the town until 1950, when production moved to Midleton, Country Cork. After being bought by William Grant and Sons in 2010, work started on the construction of a new distillery in its former home town, which started producing liquid gold in 2014.
I’ve not had much contact with the brand in the past, so it was great to take part in a Tweet Tasting of four expressions last Wednesday night. And here are my thoughts.
Tullamore Original 40%
With a name like Original, you’d expect this bottling to be Tullamore’s flagship expression…and it is. An extremely popular Irish blend, particularly in overseas markets, where it’s second only to Jameson, it perhaps doesn’t have the profile in the UK it deserves. It’s just what you’d expect from an Irish whiskey, with a very light and crisp nose, comprising apples and lemons, with some oak and vanilla. The palate, too, is soft and creamy, with baked apples, caramel and a hint of lemon.
Tullamore DEW 12 Year Old 40%
Originally launched for the travel retail market, the 12 year old has now become a core part of Tullamore’s range. Ablend of all three types of Irish whiskey, it contains a high proportion of pot still and malt whiskeys, matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks for 12 to 15 years. There’s much more fruit on the nose, including apricots and peaches, although it’s not as sweet, with more subtle, custardy flavours. Loads of spice comes flying in on the palate though, with the custard turning into vanilla ice cream, creating a very rich and rounded dram.
Tullamore DEW 14 Year Old 43%
Released in 2013, the 14 year old is Tullamore’s oldest whiskey and has been double matured oloroso Sherry casks for an additional eight months. Previously only available in specific European airports, I’m not entirely sure if it’s still available to purchase, which is slightly disappointing as it’s a great dram. The nose has a much deeper flavour profile than the 12 year old, with apples, pear, melon, orange and tropic fruit, along with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. The palate is utterly delicious though – light and fruity to start; sweetness in the middle; and big, spicy and long to finish. Superb stuff!
Tullamore DEW Cider Cask Finish 40%
Now, here’s an interested one – whiskey finished in a cider cask. Another travel retail exclusive, this whiskey is made just once a year to coincide with the Irish apple harvest, with Tullamore DEW matured in specially created cider casks for an additional three months. But the result isn’t quite what you’d expect. There’s no big apple hit on the nose, with lots of oats, cereal and malt coming to the fore instead. Strangely, it reminds me more of gin than whiskey. The apples coming piling in on the palate, although it’s more apple peel, mixed with a bit of lemon zest and ginger. An interesting experiment, and although the result was a touch underwhelming, still a decent dram.
Overall, I’d say the 14 year old was my dram of the night, but a great overall insight into a cracking Irish whiskey.