Originally produced in the Tullamore County of Offaly, Ireland, the old Tullamore distillery opened its doors in the early 19th century. The famous whiskey derives its name from the initials of the founder, Daniel E. Williams (D.E.W.)
Tullamore Dew premiered as Ireland’s first triple blended whiskey in 1829.
After many years of closing and reopening the distillery, Tullamore Dew now sells 950,000 cases per year, keeping a steadfast hold in the Irish whiskey world.
Tullamore Dew is known for its famous triple blend and triple distillation process.
But what does this mean for us whiskey connoisseurs?
We will answer this question and dive deeper into the makings of this Irish whiskey that so many people are talking about.
How much should you pay for a bottle? What makes this whiskey so unique and how do it’s tasting nodes differ from other whiskeys? What are other people around the world saying about it? This review will unveil all the things unknown of Tullamore Dew whiskey.
The Special Twist
Tullamore Dew goes under a special whiskey making process that gives it such a unique flavor.
The secret is the number three.
The company prides itself on only using three natural ingredients, three varieties of grain distillations and three types of maturation casks.
The science of the great taste is the simplicity of Tullamore Dew’s method.
The three natural ingredients are just grain, water, and yeast. Malted and unmalted barely are milled with water in a thick porridge-like mixture. With this step, starch is free from the grain.
The mixture is now washed with three batches of heated water which even more separates the starch from the mix. A naturally occurring enzyme then forms and converts the starch into a sugary liquid.
This sugary substance is then fermented with yeast in fermentation vessels to create a strong beer, about 8-10% ABV which is then distilled three times.
Three distillations happen in three different styles of a copper pot. The three different distillations extract the extra water which makes this spirit 80 proof.
The spirit is now aged to produce a rich color and distinctive flavor.
What makes Tullamore Dew’s process so unique is the three maturation casks they use to create the character of their whiskey. Each batch is aged in traditional, ex-bourbon, and Sherry casks.
However it is they do it, the distinct character of this whiskey is experienced right off the bat.
The craftsmanship of this whiskey is noticeable right from smelling it. This is very impressive given the high alcohol content of 40% ABV. When opening the bottle, you’ll be overcome with the smell of buttered pancakes. From the first taste, you’ll notice honey, red apples, dried fruit, toffee, and a hint of metallic and malty.
You’ll immediately notice the depth of this triple blend on the palate. The first taste resembles toffee or buttered toast with honey. Upon further inspection, you’ll also notice nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and some copper notes.
The spiciness of this whiskey lingers for a bit allowing you to completely absorb the taste along with malt, toffee, and dried fruit. You’ll also notice some vanilla as the palate finishes. The finish is soft but does have a bit of bitterness to it at the end, thankfully not too much to leave your mouth puckering.
Feel, Appearance, Balance, and Body
Tullamore Dew is a fine tasting whiskey with an appealing appearance to match. The whiskey has a rich toffee shade to it, hinting at the warm and spicy notes within.
In terms of feel, we enjoyed the balance of a medium body with a silky feel. The malt taste of this whiskey adds thickness to it while still going down smooth.
The whiskey comes neatly packaged in a grey box with a dark green label wrapped around it. The bottle itself is a nice addition to boost the aesthetic of your liquor cabinet.
Tullamore Dew Price
If you’re looking to pick up some Tullamore Dew for yourself, expect to spend around $30 for a 750ml bottle. Because Tullamore Dew is one of the better whiskey options for keeping around the house both to sip on, and for mixing, the price comes at a little more than what you might spend.
This price isn’t too high when you compare to other whiskey brands, but will definitely put your wallet back more than a bottle of Bushmills or Jameson would. However, you’ll spend a lot less on this brand than you would other Irish whiskeys for a similar taste.
Still, we would say this specific brand is worth the money. For the unique taste and craftsmanship, Tullamore Dew is definitely worth the money. This is especially true if you’re a whiskey fanatic who wants to try something different from the usual Irish flavors.
Besides the Tullamore Dew Original which this review has discussed, there are eight other varieties of Tullamore Dew being sold on the market today.
Tullamore Dew 12-year-old Special Reserve - 40% ABV
This 12-year-old Irish blend is a complex and richly flavored blend, aged in ex-bourbon and Sherry casks. It has a high proportion of pot still whiskeys and malt whiskeys included in the mix. The reserve includes notes of dried fruits and praline.
Tullamore Dew 14-year-old Single Malt- 40% ABV
A single malt that has been finished in bourbon, Port, Madeira, and Sherry casks. The blend has sweet notes of grilled pineapple, citrus, and vanilla.
Tullamore Dew 18-year-old Single Malt- 40% AB
This single malt was finished off for six months in bourbon, Sherry, Port, and Madeira casks. The tasting notes develop hints of cinnamon raisin and finish with caramel and chocolate.
Tullamore Dew Phoenix- 55% ABV
The higher strength of this variation will leave tingles on your tongue along with a spicy flavor. The Irish pot still component is finished with Oloroso Sherry casks.
Tullamore Dew 15-year-old Trilogy - 40% ABV
This variation takes the power of three to a new dimension with triple-wood aging in bourbon, Oloroso Sherry, and rum casks. The blend leaves you with tastes of fruits, nuts, and spice.
Tullamore Dew Old Bonded Warehouse Release - 46% ABV
Released in 2012 to celebrate the opening of a visitor center in an old bonded visitor center, this variation is aged in Oloroso Sherry casks. The notes are spicy and fruity, leaving you with a sweet taste.
Tullamore Dew Cider Cask Finish - 40% ABV
If you’re a fan of Irish whiskey, you will be a fan of Irish cider too. This cider packs a punch with fruity notes from the start. The cider has a clear apple influence with a touch of sweetness.
Tullamore Dew XO Rum Cask Finish - 43% ABV
This whiskey is created with a tropical kick by finishing their product in casks that previously held Caribbean rum. This variation boasts the island flavors while remaining true to their classic character.
How To Drink It
No whiskey review would be complete without information on how to enjoy it.
The plus side of the triple distillation process allows you to enjoy Tullamore Dew both mixed into cocktails, or sipped on its own.
There are no sharp edges or unwanted surprises when you drink it neat. Sipping Tullamore Dew on its own will enhance the toffee and honey flavors that last through both the palate taste and the finish.
Dew & A Brew
The Irish whiskey has also been made popular by pairing with a beer. The newly arrived Irish in America coined this “Dew & A Brew.”
Tullamore Dew pairs excellently with IPAs. The hoppiness brings out the sweetness of the whiskey which in balances the dry tone of the beer. This balance and contrast make a delightful pairing.
This whiskey also goes great with a stout. This combination of Irish favorites goes great to highlight one another. The vanilla and coffee flavors in the beer excellently showcase the spiciness of the whiskey.
The last “Dew & A Brew” pairing is with a red ale. The fruitiness and caramel nodes of the ale offset the sweetness of the whiskey and bring out the rich cocoa and nutty notes. This is a great pairing for someone who enjoys the sweeter side of things.
Drink in a Cocktail
If you’re more of a free-spirited character who is adventurous with your whiskey drinking, try some of these cocktails to really play on the existing flavors.
This interesting twist of the “Dew & A Brew” pairing is refreshing bitter and contemporary. Instead of enjoying an IPA and the whiskey side by side, mix a ratio of 1:4 Tullamore Dew and an IPA. Change this to whatever ratio you enjoy most to play on these complementary flavors
Combine an even ratio of Tullamore Dew and an Irish stout with simple syrup and bitters. Mix with ice and stir with vigor. This is a true Irish pairing that both calms and accentuates the boldness of the stout.
Most online reviews will tell you that both whiskey fanatics and regular people all over the world enjoy Tullamore Dew.
Most people agree that what makes this whiskey stand out among the rest is how smooth it goes down. Some have even described it as buttery.
Drinkers enjoy that the blend is sweet, but not overpowering. Many also made note of the earthiness this whiskey brought that was unlike many others they have tried.
How It Compares
Tullamore Dew stands up well to competitors and is a good option for mixing or even sipping.
Compared to other blends, Irish or otherwise, Tullamore Dew has a heavier feel to it than other whiskey brands. The blend carries more of a malt to it despite there not being much.
Additionally, the dark, earthy tones of this whiskey allow it to stand out from others on the market.
The pear, green apple and vanilla notes of Jameson or the cinnamon, honey, and nutty notes of Bushmills make Tullamore Dew a refreshing contrast.
The darker notes are a welcome change of pace to the orchard fruit taste that typically dominates the Irish category.
The overall positive public perception of Tullamore Dew is ultimately the same rating that we support.
Both whiskey connoisseurs and people who are just stepping their foot into the whiskey world enjoy this Irish whiskey.
If you’re not into the overpowering fruitiness that many Irish whiskeys offer, this brand will be perfect for you. It holds the sweetness of a typical Irish whiskey through notes of fruits and honey but also packs a punch with a blend of spices.
This triple distilled blend of pot still, malt, and grain whiskeys matures into a fine whiskey that you can enjoy for an entry-level price. The unique flavors and smoothness rank it as a higher-end blend.
The blend itself is not wildly complex, and maybe it won’t blow you away. However, if you’re looking for something simple, different, and smooth enough to drink neat, give Tullamore Dew a try.