I'm a little late posting this, but it's close to St Patricks Day so the timing works! :-)
This Tullamore Dew Twitter tasting was held on March 7th, about two years after the 'original' tasting where I fell in love with the 14 year old single malt. Although I've already got a bottle in my whisky cupboard, I was very happy to see it in the line up! Alongside the 14 year old, we had three other expressions to try, namely the Tullamore Dew Original, an 18 year old and an XO Rum Casks finish. The tasting was presented by Steve Rush live from the distillery, with Kevin Pigott of Tullamore Dew also in attendance. My notes and thoughts follow:
XO Rum Cask finish - blended whiskey - 43%, £26
A blend of pot still, malt and grain Irish whiskey’s initially matured in ex Irish, bourbon and sherry casks, before being finished in first fill XO rum casks from Guyana. Part of the brands new Beauty of Blend Campaign, celebrating the positives that arise from the sharing of cultural influences, flavours and tastes.
Kevin Pigott: "we used a punchy navy rum from Guyana to leave some sticky rummy residue on the cask hoping it will give us that subtle caribbean touch we are looking for".
Sweet coconut and clear varnish initially, then vanilla and peachy notes. The slightest hint of brine and an even sligher leathery note?
Yummy butterscotch and candied lemon peel, leading to ripe soft banana & banana foam sweets.
Quite rich, some spice and a brandy like quality comes through at the end.
14 Year old - 41.3%, £52.45
Finished in a combination of bourbon, Port, Madeira and Oloroso Sherry casks. Only 200 barrels produced annually.
Kevin Pigott: "Here in Tullamore we like to taste with a toast so may you be rich in blessing, poor in misfortune, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends"
Sweet, fruity and fizzy! apple sherbet, water melon… eventually some dryer hay like notes. Enticing!
Lovely fresh apple notes with more sweet water melon. It's really juicy… sweet yet crisp & fresh at the same time. Not as creamy or toffee like as I remember the experession in 2016, but a cracking dram still!
Apple crispness is retained, with some dryer vanilla notes coming through at the very end. The woods influence perhaps?.
18 Year old - 41.3%, £94.36
Finished in a combination of bourbon, Port, Madeira and Oloroso Sherry casks. Only 20 barrels produced annually.
Rich, aged, sweet winey notes. The Sherry & Maderia influences are evident! Apricot & raspberry jams mingled with xmas cake batter. Another enticing nose. Leave it in the glass for ages and you get old polished wood. It's rather oppulent.
A fine continuation of rich, resinous winey notes with an almost leathery quality and lashings of dried fruity sweetness. It's got a lot going on! Big 'xmas cakey' sherry cask influence combined with rich port notes and sweet maderia… bloody good!
Lovely soft, chewy, warming finish... a delicious slow decline of what was on the palate, with cola cubes thrown in for good measure.
This is my 2016 14 year old equivalent! So much going on, yet you can actually distinguish the influence of each cask... sherry fruitless, madeira sweetness, port richness. It's cracking!
Original - blended whiskey - 40%, £24.13
Kevin Pigott: "Final toast for the Tullamore OG may the roof above never fall in and the drinkers below never fall out"
Over ripe strawberries & cream, then calvados... It's drier and not as sweet as the others. More oaky, cereal notes to this.
Younger in nature, spicy dry oaky notes… some vanilla, a little green fruity sweetness, but not as evident as the previous. Gentle mineral & watery quality to it... this is a session dram!
Not much of a finish… it's a little watery, but pleasant enough.
My favourite of the evening was the 18 year old, followed by my old friend the 14 year old. I enjoyed the sweetness of the Rum Cask finish, so it just beats the Original (which is a smooth, easy drinking dram) into third place.
My thanks as always to Steve Rush and also to Kevin Pigott and the team at Tullamore Dew. Here's hoping for another tasting in a couple of years time!