Review: Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Line (2011) – Original, Reserve 10 Years Old, Special Reserve 12 Years Old, and Single Malt 10 Years Old
“Do the Dew” doesn’t have to mean kicking back a half gallon of fluorescent green goop. It also means enjoying a dram of Tullamore Dew — the nearly ubiquitous Irish whiskey brand.
Tullamore Dew actually comes in four expressions, and while most whiskey fans have only had the “original,” we finally got the chance to try all four varieties. Here’s how they stack up, just in time for celebrating the Irish in you on this St. Patrick’s Day.
All are 80 proof.
Tullamore Dew Original (2011) – Simple, but clunky and chunky, it’s a creamy whiskey with notes of malt, honey, heather… and lots of charcoal. Drinkable, but uninspired. B- / $23
Tullamore Dew Reserve 10 Years Old – More complexity in this spirit, aged in Spanish and American oak casks for 10 years. Still light of body, with a distinct maltiness — pie crust to the apple and banana notes present in the nose and on the tongue. The finish turns from pastry to sweetness, giving this more of a dessert quality to it — much more so than standard Tullamore. B+ / $34
Tullamore Dew Special Reserve 12 Years Old – More of that characteristic malt in this expression, and for good reason: It actually uses more malt in the recipe. Altogether Tullamore 12 Year is a richer and more Scotch-like whiskey, aged in Bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and coming across with some sea spray and very lightly floral notes. None of that really measures up to the bread-like maltiness here, which lasts on the finish for a long while and leaves the palate with a bit of a thud. B / $43 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Tullamore Dew Single Malt 10 Years Old – Here we have Tullamore at its most Scotch-like, a single malt matured in four different casks: Bourbon, Oloroso sherry, Port, and Madeira. If you didn’t know any better, this could be a Scotch, though not a particularly great one. Sherry predominates (where are the Port and Madeira?), along with that malt character again. While it fills the mouth, the whiskey is easygoing and (as with most Dew) quite pleasant, but the finish lacks finesse and there’s just not much nuance in the body. B / $40