Tullamore Dew Origional

A bottle of Tullamore Dew

A bottle of Tullamore Dew

Intro

Next on my recent whiskey travels I come across Tullamore Dew, which I am shocked to find sitting next to an unexplainable bowl of raisins and dough in my kitchen. Unlike the other whiskeys I have reviewed so far I have actually never heard of this one before which will make a nice change of pace. Expect a lot more inaccuracies in the history section accordingly.

A small bit of history

Founded by businessman Michael Molloy in 1829, the distillery in the town of Tullamore was opened to a people who had a long tradition and love of producing and drinking whiskey. Though Michael Molloy should be given his due respect as the founder, and kept the company successful through the years it was not until after his death in 1887 that the company changed ownership to the Daly family and it really took off.

Under the leadership of general manager Daniel E. Williams from 1890 onwards the distillery exploded in popularity and success. They brought electricity to the town in 1893, introduced telephones to the area a few years later and operated a commercial empire importing, transporting and selling goods across the Irish midlands. So important was Daniel to the success of the company that they have since named the drink after him (D.E.W).

Though the American prohibition and the economic war with Britain caused the company to scrape along the bottom in the 1930s (notice a pattern), it was able to survive through the bad times and get heavily involved in the resurgence thanks to the marketing efforts of Edmund Williams (Daniel’s grandson).

But in the end it was not enough for them to compete with the big boys and in 1963 they had sold the buisiness to Powers (an arm of Irish Whiskey Distillers) who moved the operation to the New Midleton Distillery in Cork to be made with Jameson and other big brand names.

Though it has since been sold to C&C Group plc in 1994 and to who in turn sold to William Grant & Sons in 2010 its home has stayed in Cork, far away from Tullamore until this day.

Noteworthy awards

  • 2008 Gold Medal by IWSC
  • 2008 Gold Medal by WSC
  • 2007 Gold Medal by ISC
  • 2006 Gold Medal by WSC
  • 2006 Gold Medal by ISC

Taste notes

As you can expect from a good Irish Whiskey, this drink is smooth, sweet and easy. Subtle in taste but with hints of coffee, fudge and peaches it is worth letting it sink into your palette.

When I suggest drinking it

As already mentioned this is a really easy whiskey and as such can be drunk whenever you feel like it without having to give much effort or attention to finding flavours. It is also worth noting how good this whiskey is for cooking… Seriously give the whiskey bread a try… That stuff is good!

Kilbeggan Finest Blend

An advert for the Kilbeggan distillery

An advert for the Kilbeggan distillery

Intro

Reaching to the next airplane bottle in the pack I was given, I find Kilbeggan’s Finest Blend. This is another whiskey that is owned by Cooley Distillery, so I will try and give you some more information about them in the histroy section.

A small bit of history

Founded as a monastery in the 6th century by St Bécán, the small town of Kilbeggan lies between Dublin and Galway. Though it has many historical claims to fame the one we care about is that it contains the oldest continually licensed distillery in the world, founded in 1757.

Ownership was passed between local families through the centuries as it became one of the few distilleries to survive the crippling six shillings a gallon tax put on the drink in 1815 and American prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s only to be taken down in the late 1950s with a perfect storm of problems.

As prohibition ended, the Irish whiskey industry had been too damaged to supply the massive demand of a new market. Blended scotch was able to fill the gap, which pushed the price of scotch down dramatically compared to it’s Irish cousin internationally. With the British Empire still reluctant to buy Irish after the trade wars in the 1920s they literally run out of people to sell too

In 1957 the distillery finally shut it’s doors and by 1966, after the merger of John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and the Cork Distillery Company to form Irish Distilleries, there were only 2 distilleries operating in all of Ireland. In 1972 Bushmills also merged, creating only one company controlling all whiskey production in the country.

In the 1970s the distilling license was up, and a few of the locals had enough faith to group together and renew it, agree to kept an eye on the property and made sure the equipment was not broken or stolen. For twenty years it seemed like this was a fruitless task as the monopoly had no financial reason to save it.

Their prayers were answered by John Teeling in 1987 when he founded the Cooley Distillery to create some competition and bring more traditional Irish whiskey back from the dead. As the tools and the property were kept in good nick, Cooley were able to pick up where it was left, using the same warehouses and methods used traditionally.

Noteworthy awards

  • 2007 Silver Medal by IWSC
  • 2007 Silver Medal by San Francisco World Spirits
  • 2006 Silver Medal by IWSC
  • 2006 Silver Medal by San Francisco World Spirits
  • 2006 Silver Medal by IRSC
  • 2005 Best in Class by IWSC

Taste notes

This bad boy is relatively smooth, fruity, tastes a little of fudge and has a nice malty finish. It tastes a lot like a well made scotch, but there is definitely a unique sweetness to it that has to be witnessed in person.

When I suggest drinking it

As they are limited in the amount of Kilbeggan they can actually produce in a year I would not suggest drinking it every day, as you are likely to stop someone else from having a try. 😉 That being said if you like a good scotch, and have never tried traditional Irish stuff, you really have to give it a go.

Assuming that has happened and you are currently holding a bottle wondering when to drink it, I think that this would be a good one to keep to and appreciate for an evening. Though I only had a small amount I don’t believe any of the flavors are overpowering or strong enough to make you swap drinks. Take your time and appreciate it, you deserve it.

… unless your like a nazi or something

Connemara Peated Single Malt

A small bottle of Connemara Peated Single Malt

A small bottle of Connemara Peated Single Malt

Intro

Times are a bit tough at the moment so I will be continuing my whiskey journey by exploring the bottles I currently have stocked up in my cupboard. This brings me to an airplane bottle of Connemara Peated single malt that I received last Christmas. It is one of four whiskey airplane bottles I could write about but I chose it because it had a tinted bottle. Though this is far from rare I would class it as uncommon, so worthy of my first taste.

A small bit of history

Connemara is a small coastal district in the west of Ireland known for its scenic views and traditional lifestyle. It should come as no surprise then that such a place would historically have its own local distilleries serving the community (legally or not) with many variants on the local spirit.

After the 4p a gallon tax on Irish whiskey was introduced in 1661 this certainly was the case. The pure water streams in the region mixed with the good farmland and peated bogs were perfect for the production of the smokey flavor many loved, but the region was sufficiently out of the way to remain unnoticed by the heavy hand of the law.

Using the ancient method of drying malting barley over peat fires the hidden distillers were able to make what would have been one of the purest whiskeys of the time.

Sadly this traditional drink would not last to the 20th century. With the continuing taxation of whiskey, the enforcing of said taxation, a rough economic climate, an influx of cheap coal to replace peat and with a product that was fast becoming too smokey for the general palette, the local distilleries across the country closed down one by one.

Whiskey produced this way completely died out in Ireland and was replaced with the thrice distilled, unpeated drink we know and love (maybe?) today and remained dead until John Teeling came home from studying in Massachusetts and opened the Cooley distillery in 1987 and raised it from the tomb.

For the most part the Cooley story can be left for another day, but as an important note it is the only distillery to be set up in Ireland in a hundred years, is independently owned and came in with the aim of bringing traditional Irish whiskey back to the table.

Noteworthy awards

  • 2010 Best in Class by IWSC
  • 2009 Best Irish Single Malt by WWA
  • 2008 Best in Class by IWSC

Taste notes

The first flavour you will hit is of a sweet honey which will quickly give way to a fruity taste. Do not let this fool you though, if you finish the glass these will be overpowered by an earthy smokey taste which in turn is crushed by a finish of strong sheer peatyness (get used to that word).

When I suggest drinking it

This is definitely a whiskey you have to try, if not for the unique taste then for the historical and cultural significance of it. I would however not suggest buying a large bottle to drink religiously unless you really like the peaty stuff. My advice? Buy one of the airplane bottles like I did.