Irish Whiskey Review

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey Review

I recently attended a Tullamore DEW dinner & tasting where I was afforded the chance to try several expressions of the Irish whiskey brand.  Now, I get to spend a little time with the core expression.  This is a triple distilled blend of pot still, malt and grain whiskies and bottled at 40% abv.

Tullamore DEW is probably Jameson’s biggest competition.  Jameson is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world.  Sales figures are one thing.  The whiskey inside the bottle is another, and that is what’s important.

The nose is a bit restrained, with rubbing alcohol, spiced pear and slightly sour Granny Smith Apple.  The palate carries a bit of that funky pot still character, along with some light brown sugar mingled with sweet & sour apples and an anise note.  The mouthfeel is a bit thin, which is due to the low abv.  The finish doesn’t last too long, and carries a touch of spiced fruit.

Tullamore DEW is easy-drinking.  Maybe a bit too easy.  While I prefer a whiskey with a higher proof, I understand I don’t represent most of the whiskey drinking public.  What I do notice is Tullamore DEW has just a tad more character than Jameson, and I prefer it slightly over Jameson.  If you’re new to Irish whiskey, I’d probably suggest you start here.  7/10

Thanks to Tullamore DEW’s PR agency for the sample.  As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Green Spot Irish Whiskey

Green Spot Irish Whiskey

Rounding off our Irish Whiskey series is Green Spot Irish Whiskey from Mitchell & Sons.  It’s a single pot still whiskey, meaning it’s made from a mashbill of malted and unmalted barley that’s triple distilled in a copper pot still from single distillery.  It’s matured in first and refill bourbon casks, and sherry casks.

Mitchell & Sons has been buying barrels of whiskey from the Jameson distillery since the late 1880s. Today, it still comes from the Midleton distillery where Jameson and other whiskies are being distilled.

The name Green Spot comes from the practice of the family to add a splotch of paint on the head of a barrel to differentiate the age of the whiskey inside.  In this case, green means a 7- to 10-year-old whiskey.  A 12-year-old expression, named Yellow Spot, is also available in the US market.

Green Spot is bottled at the standard 40%abv and available for about $50 for a 750ml bottle.

The nose is fresh and crisp, with honey, freshly mowed grass, and green apples.  Taste-wise, the entry is rich in flavor and carries a viscous mouthfeel.  Spiced apples, honey, lemongrass, some baking spice and a touch of malt fill out the palate.  There’s a little oak in the background that adds to the structure of flavors.  The finish is sweet toasted grain and doesn’t hang around too long.

Compared to the other “standard” Irish whiskies I’ve tasted recently, this one stands out as the richest tasting.  It’s more readily available now then when I bought my bottle a year and a half ago on my honeymoon, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one.  This one earns a solid recommendation from me.


Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey

Photo courtesy of Jameson.

Photo courtesy of Jameson.

Jameson Black Barrel is a step-up from the standard offering.  Like the standard expression, Jameson Black Barrel is a blend of grain whiskey and pot still whiskey.  What makes this one different is its age and maturation process.  This one is aged in a mix of sherry casks and bourbon casks.  The bourbon casks are re-charred before filling.  As far as age, this blend contains whiskies aged up to 12 years, but the majority is probably still 5-7 years old.  Yes, I know… that doesn’t mean much, as we don’t know percentages.

That different maturation is clearly evident on the nose.  Those Jameson aromas (honey, grain alcohol, floral) are still there, except now there are big sherried fruit and spice notes alongside them.  Flavor-wise, lovely honey and spiced fruit step up first.  Those charred ex-bourbon barrels add vanilla and cinnamon.  At 40%, this whiskey has an unexpected luscious and creamy mouthfeel.  The medium-length finish carries over some of that sweetness and spiciness.

Like I said in the first statement, Jameson Black Barrel is a step up from the standard offering.  It’s a more interesting whiskey, thanks in large part to the maturation process.  In my review of the standard Jameson, I mentioned the best way to enjoy it was over some ice.  With Black Barrel, go neat all the way.  I would love to see this released at a higher proof.  That would make it even more interesting.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Jameson.)