This blends bourbon and oloroso cask-matured elements drawn from every style of Irish whiskey. A mouthwatering dram with warm, creamy toffee, ripening yellow banana, wood spices, toasted coconut, spiced stewed apple, and cinnamon sticks. A delicious sip reveals a smooth medley of malt, chocolate, gentle spices, Brazil nut, and dried fruit, which sidles into a long finish of chocolate-covered raisins and deep, resonating spice. No reservations; this is special.
Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish, 43%
Blended Irish Whiskey | $26
Rum-finishing specialists William Grant & Sons add to Ireland’s league of existing rum-finished whiskeys. The lush tropical fruit complexity is abundant with mango, passion fruit, dried papaya, and green apple on the nose. Red apple flavors dominate with Demerara sugariness, dried strawberry, egg custard, and toffee chews, before drifting off into sweeter, fruitier territory. Short finish with a shot of sweet nutmeg.
Thinking differently led to this early example of modern finishing at Tullamore D.E.W., which marries the strong tradition of Irish cider making with whiskey. The nose shows off toasted waffle and sweet cider notes, but green apple too, and a prickle of white pepper. Credit where it’s due, this tastes of sugared golden apple slices at its core, with crisper cider elements, caramel, vanilla, then pepper and clove.
After 18 years maturing in traditional oak, this triple distilled whiskey undergoes a four-cask finish in bourbon, oloroso sherry, port, and madeira casks. Following a 6 month period of finishing, molasses, raisins, chocolate ganache, malt loaf, and solid oak notes have emerged after careful blending of the component whiskeys. Smooth, yet thick and mouth-drawing; black fruits, treacle, wrinkled vanilla pods, chocolate chip muffins, and sticky dates. There are less than 2,500 bottles of this attractive, resinous whiskey that slips away leaving sweetness, dark fruit, and cinnamon. €110
Here they take a triple distilled blend of pot still, malt, and grain whiskey matured in bourbon and oloroso sherry and finish it in golden rum casks (a favorite finishing vessel at Wm. Grant). A soft, relaxing sweetness emits from the glass, showing barley sugars, lemon bonbon, vanilla, and freshly-planed oak. The oloroso has been used sparingly, but rounds off the lemon, light fudge, and hazelnut flavors. There’s a spicy last stand that burns brightly. A terrific composition.
Triple distilled classic containing a blend of pot still, malt, and grain whiskeys, this layers aromas of spice over toffee, creamy banana, light vanilla, sharp green apple, and zested limes. Aromatic spices quickly beat the established flavors of green fruits, followed by vanilla fudge, malty notes, peppercorn, and even a little oak char. This moreish, well-structured whiskey retains its creamy mouthfeel throughout the active, spicy finish. Best Value
Following a 6 month period of finishing in the same four cask types as its older sibling (see above) we get a fruity nose of cherry lips, black currant juice, brambles, Cox’s orange pippin, taffy candy, and the citrus acidity of oils squeezed from the peel. Oh, it’s sweet, syrupy, and spicy; a fruity cocktail of apple and strawberry. Diminishing spice and bright rustic apples usher in a rewarding finish. A complex and distinctive recipe, for sure. €70
Aptly named after an inferno from an 18th century hot air balloon tragedy. Kaboom! The alcohol singes the nasal cavities, baying for you to succumb, but there is underlying maltiness, tight currants, leather bootlaces, allspice, cherry, stewed apples, and damp warehouses. To taste: fire in the hole! At full power, it strafes the taste buds into submission, leaving them numb and cowering for the abatement of the peppery, dry finish. Brawn vanquishes subtlety. Douse liberally.
This whisky is in between the "Original" Tullamore and Tullamore Dew 12 year old in age and price range, and it also fits between the two in flavor and quality. I thought that maybe this whiskey would have a more distinctive character to it (sherry cask aging, different proof, etc.) compared to the other two, given that it is a limited edition of only 900 cases and so close in age to the others, but it doesn't. It's not that this is a bad thing, but rather just 'more of the same.'
It certainly is a pleasant enough whiskey - well balanced, not aggressive, yet with enough maturity and pot still content to make it "sip worthy" if one chooses to do so. Rather than buy the standard Tullamore Dew for mixing (or drinking on the rocks) and the 12 year old for sipping, you can reasonably cover your bases with just this one bottle of 10 year old.
Rating for Original Tullamore Dew: 80 (it has gotten better over the years); rating for Tullamore Dew 12 year old: 84.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this and out of context, its rounded, fruity, and sweet taste is perfectly acceptable. But it's standing in the company of giants, and when compared to the steady stream of world-class Irish whiskeys over the last year, this just doesn't cut it. The 12 years in oak don't seem to have added much to the story, the alcoholic strength means it lacks real bite, and the flavors are bland in this company.
To a great extent, this is traditional blended Irish whiskey by the numbers. Its problem — through no fault of its own — is that it’s bland compared to the wave of full-flavored whiskeys that have been released of late. The twelve years in cask don't add much to the standard Tullamore Dew beyond a sharp note. The apple and pear flavors are perfectly acceptable, however, and the whiskey's pleasant enough; it's just not very exciting.
Hands up if you’d ever wondered what would happen if you seasoned old bourbon barrels with fermenting Irish cider, then added a triple blend of whiskeys? Anyone? Fizzy sherbet, green foliage, and cider (not apple) notes, that’s what. Seasoning suggests the cask occupants are less than good mates, the cider more a lingering tenant. Pot still surfaces through the saccharine cider flavors, with coiled Bramley apple peels, citrus strands, and a nippy spiciness. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. €54
Tullamore D.E.W. Single Malt Sherry Cask Finish, 46%
Irish | $45
It's great that Irish whiskey is thriving and William Grant has bought Tullamore Dew. But they need help. To paraphrase English football fans, someone doesn't know what he's doing. The label says this is 12 years old, small batch, and limited edition. What? The normal whiskey is a blend and there's no distillery. So what is this, and why small batch? The whiskey's a mess, too — flabby, characterless, and confused — the whiskey equivalent of a karaoke singer doing Led Zeppelin.