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Thursday, May 24, 2012

NOT Single Malt Report: Tullamore Dew Irish Blended Whiskey

Brand: Tullamore Dew
Distilleries: Cooley (malt) and Midleton (pot still & grain)
Current Owner: William Grant & Sons Inc
Type: Irish Blended Whiskey
Age: 4 to 7 years
Maturation: mostly ex-bourbon wood with a little ex-sherry wood
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

The Dew has always been one of my favorite Irish whiskies.  I usually order it up if a bar carries it.  But it had been awhile...

During the pub excursion mentioned on Tuesday, I sampled a glass of this signature Tullamore blend alongside a Kilbeggan (which is also undergoing a distillery rebirth).  I reported on Kilbeggan on Tuedsay, so here's the Tullamore word.

(I've also heard that the 12 year blend is very good, so if I get a sip I'll try to report on it.)


Tullamore Dew is an unusual cat in the Irish Whiskey world.  It's a mix of pot still and grain whiskey from Midleton distillery and single malt from Cooley distillery......but it's blended and bottled by a third company William Grant & Sons Inc.

Originally the whiskey came from an actual distillery in Tullamore, founded in 1829.  In 1887, Tullamore's general manager Daniel E. Williams created what was to become the company's signature pot still whiskey, naming it D-E-W after his own initials.  Sixty years later, Tullamore released the first blended Irish whiskey (as well as the first Irish whiskey liqueur, Irish Mist).  In 1959, Tullamore joined the list of Irish distilleries shuttered via market attrition.  Powers purchased the brand in 1965 and moved Tullamore's production to their facilities in Cork.  In the '90s, the C&C group purchased the brand and reconfigured the blend's recipe.  In 2010, William Grant & Sons Inc. (owners of Glenfiddich) bought it up for 300million euros.

That must have been heart-breaking, selling an Irish whiskey to a Scotch whisky company.  BUT(!) a few months ago, Grant announced that it will be building a NEW distillery for the brand on the outskirts of Tullamore.  As Tullamore Dew is the second best selling Irish Whiskey in the US and first throughout much of mainland Europe, it sounds an awful lot like they now want to take on Jamesons head-to-head.


Color -- standard whiskey gold, almost identical to Kilbeggan
Nose -- light fruit + malt, hint of varnish
Palate -- heftier than Kilbeggan, more alcohol burn though inoffensive, vanilla, malty (pot-stilly?), very more-ish
Finish -- moderate, a little vanilla, molasses

Nose -- sweet grains, vanilla, whipped cream
Palate -- almost turns into Kilbeggan, Frosties, nutty
Finish -- gets a little weird on the tongue, dry

It's a simple but solid Irish blend, best neat.  It swims well until the odd finish.  I know that 'odd' and 'weird' aren't the most vibrant of adjectives, so maybe the word is 'wormy'?  That's why I recommend it neat.  I also endorse it as a hot whiskey backup if you're short on Powers.

I was surprised at its lightness.  I had memories of it being a little tougher.  Perhaps I'm changing while the whiskey remains the same.

Availability - Wide
Pricing - Good at $18-$22
Rating - 78 (but only when served neat)