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Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey   75.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on March 17, 2012

Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey has a history which is traced back to 1829 when the Tullamore Distillery was founded in Tullamore, County Offaly by Michael Molloy. However, it was in 1887, after the death of Michael Molloy, that the Daly family who ran the distillery turned the daily operations over to a man named Daniel E Williams. Mr. Williams is given much of the credit for the expansion and development of the distillery and of course the whisky which bears his initials D-E-W. The Distillery’s original slogan, “Give every man his Dew” is still in use today.

Tullamore Dew in a blended Irish Whiskey. According to the Company Website, the blend is composed of three different mature Irish Whiskies. The first is Irish Pot Still Whiskey, which is a spirit distilled three times in a giant copper ‘pot’ still from a mash of minimum 30% malted barley as well as other cereal grains. The second is Irish Grain Whiskey which is distilled on a multiple (two or three) column continuously operating ‘patent’ still from a corn (or maize) based mash with small amounts of malted barley. The third whisky in the blend is Irish Malt Whiskey which is distilled three times on a pot still using only malted barley. The ages of these ‘mature’ whiskies is not specified nor is there an indication of which whiskey style would be predominant in the final blend.

In the Bottle 4/5

Pictured to the right is my bottle of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey. I don’t mind the presentation of the whiskey except for a few minor quibbles. We start with a solid flask style bottle, however to my disappointment, it is sealed with one of those metallic screw top caps. There are no indications on the label or on the back of the bottle as to the age of the whiskey, or any indication of its taste profile. This is a budget priced whiskey, and to be fair, these details are left off of most of the economy brands I see on the shelves of the liquor store. This means I will not be unduly harsh in how I score the bottle presentation.

In the Glass 8/10

The Irish Whiskey displays itself as a pale gold coloured liquid in the glass, and the immediate nose is of with light butterscotch, even lighter oak spices with dabs of vanilla. I took a little time to tilt my glass and give it a slow swirl. A light oily sheen was apparent on the inside of the glass which held back for a moment, but then released long slender droopy legs.

As I let the glass decant the oak scents wafted into the breezes scenting the air with balsam, sandalwood and ginger. Glimpses of malty sweetness rise from the glass as does a light nuttiness that reminds me of roasted walnuts. The overall effect is light and refreshing, especially as the balsam note gains a little momentum.

In the Mouth 45/60

The whiskey enters my mouth with a warm spiciness that I was not expecting. I taste light oak flavours which are tinged with a delicate sweet toffee. That balsam note which was growing on the nose is evident in the flavour profile although it now carries grassy undertones. As the glass breathes, a bit of sweetness develops, and the whiskey has a bit of malt in the flavour profile. Despite the sweetness, there is a lightly bitter ‘walnut-like’ undercurrent which runs through the whiskey. I also taste an ‘ashy” flavour which reminds me of charred firewood. This ‘ash-like flavour’ is very subtle; but it is a consistent impression I receive with every sampling session I undertake.

My feeling is that the whiskey is for me, strictly a mixer; and in fact when I mix with a few splashes of Ginger-ale, I like the glass much more. I think the folks at Tullamore Dew must agree with me to a certain extent because they have a special Mixed Drinks Menu with a variety of nice looking recipes for their Tullamore Dew Whiskey.

In the Throat  11/15

The finish is a rather odd affair which includes a mixture of gin-like pinyness, some lemon citrus spiciness, and some cloying syrupy sweetness. This odd mixture seems to work well in cocktails, but not so well when sipped neat.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

My review was a bit of a mixed affair. I think I was expecting more than the Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey delivered. The pot-still flavours that were advertised never really materialized, and I sense this is far more of a blended grain spirit than it is a pot still spirit. However, the whiskey is an okay mixer, and that is what my overall score of 75.5/100 represents.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

Emerald Cooler

1 1/2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky
3/4 oz Bols Blue Curacao
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Ginger Ale

Fill a tall glass with Ice
Add the Irish Whiskey, the Blue Curacao, the Lemon Juice and the Simple Sugar into an ice filled glass
Complete with Ginger-ale
Garnish with Lemon


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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