Monday, April 30, 2012

New release - Tullamore Dew 12 years old

Tullamore Dew has released its 12 years old expression on to the UK market. Having seen this expression sell well in the USA, the brand's owners William Grant & Sons launched it for St. Patrick's Day in the UK. It is a unique blend of three different types of triple distilled Irish whiskey - Irish pot still, malt and grain - all of which have been aged between 12 and 15 years. It has been matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and bottled at 40% ABV. A bottle should cost around £30-35.

Tullamore Dew was originally distilled in the village of Tullamore, County Offaly in central Ireland in 1829. The Tullamore distillery was founded by Michael Molloy before passing to Daniel E. Williams in the 1880s. Williams had worked at the distillery as a teenager and had worked his way up to the position of General Manager. He was also a major innovator - he introduced electricity and the telephone to Tullamore village and its distillery, making it one of the most modern whiskey making facilities of the day. Williams also gave his name to his whiskey by combining the town's name with his initials, hence Tullamore DEW.  The distillery closed in 1954 and fell into disrepair.

William Grant & Sons have just announced plans to construct and open a new distillery in the brand's spiritual hometown of Tullamore. Tullamore Dew is currently the second biggest selling Irish whiskey brand behind Jameson, and the new pot still facility is to help maintain the current level of growth and demand for the product. William Grant is investing €35 million in the project which will create 100 temporary and 25 permanent jobs in the town. The building work is estimated to take two years and the facility will incorporate an environmentally efficient pot still distillery and a visitor centre.

Our tasting notes
The colour is a rich golden yellow and the nose is rich and sweet, but with a slightly understated edge to it.  There are pleasant aromas up front which include obviously sweet notes of caramel, honey, vanilla and butterscotch.  These are joined by some very grainy cereals, plus hints of dried grass and nutmeg, which add depth and complexity.

On the palate, the whiskey feels creamy and almost oily.  The sweetness is again the first thing to show and the notes of butterscotch, honey and vanilla are particularly prominent.  The other notes from the nose - bittersweet cereals, dried grass and nutmeg - again add depth and are joined by further elements which give a lovely complexity.  There is a distinct notes of toasted nuts and orange oil, with a hint of waxy furniture polish and some drying woody oak spice.  The combination is delicious.

It is this oaky spiciness that leads the way on the finish.  The oak and baking spices (think of cinnamon and nutmeg) are joined by the toasted nuttiness from the palate.  This combination makes the finish particularly and mouth watering.  The soft, sweet notes return to stop it becoming too dry with the honey and butterscotch prominent

What's the verdict?
The Tullamore Dew 12 years old is exceptionally easy going and easy drinking.  It is a lovely example of an Irish whiskey, being smoother and richer than the extremely popular Original version.  This would be a great choice to introduce a beginner to the world of Irish whiskey, as it is well balanced with a nice level of depth and complexity.  We say if you are thinking of buying the Original, search this one out and spend £10 more - it's worth it.

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