Tullamore D.E.W. I’m going to do my best to be diplomatic about this one, but I would not recommend visiting the Tullamore D.E.W. Experience in Tullamore, Ireland west of Dublin. I quickly realized that anything called “experience” was going to be more of a historical pursuit through the company’s history and nothing to do with the production. I am not accusing anyone of anything, but it does make you wonder why they won’t show you the production facilities. In their defense, I did not call ahead and let them know I was interested in more information. When I asked if I could get more details on their production capabilities I was told to book well in advance the Ultimate Distillery Experience which will set you back 150 Euros. Although disappointed from the start, I went in with every hope of gaining as much insight into what Tullamore is making, so here it goes!
Tullamore is like many of the other Irish brands that fell prey to the Irish whiskey depression. They officially opened in 1829 and were the heart and soul of the town of Tullamore. They were a big forefront in blends and officially re-opened with new investment in 2014 after being closed since 1954. The best part of this historical tour was the marketing. I have put my favorite picture to show and example. One of their slogans used to be “Give every man his D.E.W.”. They still have clever marketing to this day.
This brand is also doing most of its work with multiple grains. They use a combination of malt, un-malted barley, corn etc. I am assuming if I did see their distillery I would see pot and column stills. I was told that they do run three waters through their mash tun and draff is sold off to farmers. Everything is triple distilled as to be expected. The guide and even the center manager did not know anything about fermentation periods. This makes sense, because I was continuously told that everything is automated in the new facility and many of the guides have never been there. Here at Tullamore they will use casks 3-4 times and typically use American bourbon or sherry casks. They have a decent range of product for just re-opening and they clearly had stock left over at some point for some of the age statements that are out there. The most popular in the line is the Original and is a true Irish whiskey grain blend. Here are the drams I tried.
Tullamore D.E.W. Original
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Red apple, orange jam, gingerbread cookies.
Palate: Apple cinnamon, chai tea and cream.
Aged between 4-7 years old. It boasts to use a blend of three different kinds of grains and casks. The majority of the blend is corn based and aged in bourbon barrels. It is a non-age statement and at 40%ABV.
Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Ripe apples with vanilla ice cream, pecan pie and malt.
Palate: Apple tart, peach cobbler, spice finish.
This is a blend as well. It includes three grains and three cask finishes. This expression though is majority malt and aged in sherry casks.
I tried the Old Bonded Warehouse bottle too, but I think my nose was off from all of the disappointment of not seeing the true facility. All I kept getting were apples. I did hear that their best bottle is the Limited Edition Phoenix. Maybe I will give this a try if I see it out a bar. As of right now their largest markets are the USA, Germany and Eastern Europe. I am hoping they continue to expand their efforts outside of the US to keep consistent demand!