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Spirits Reviews Whiskey Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: Tullamore Dew

Tullamore-dewTullamore Dew
Blended Irish Whiskey
Final Grade: B
Price: $20 (750ml)

Tullamore Dew is an old brand of Irish whiskey, first distilled in Tullamore, Ireland in 1829. It's gone though many changes, owners and locations over the years, and is currently owned by spirits conglomerate William Grant & Sons, makers of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie scotches, amongst other brands. It is currently made at New Midleton Distillery in County Cork, although Grant & Sons recently announced plans to build a new distillery in the town of Tullamore.

Tullamore Dew, sometimes referred to as "Original," is the entry-level expression of the whiskey. (There are also 10-year and 12-year-old versions available.) It has a pale-gold color in the glass, accompanied by the sweet, honeyed aroma of cereal grain that fades quickly. So far it is about what you'd expect of a basic blended Irish whiskey — those familiar with Jameson or Bushmills will recognize it.

Those traditional characteristics continue on the palate, with a medium-sweet, honey flavor, with a fair bit of heat on the finish. Tullamore Dew isn't as smooth as most older whiskeys, or those containing a higher proportion of malt whiskey (like my favorite, Bushmills Black Bush), but the finish is quick, so it's not unpleasant to sip. From the taste, I assume this is made with a high percerntage of grain, rather than malt, whiskey.

There really isn't much about Tullamore Dew that is distinctive. The distiller clearly wasn't trying to break any new ground here. Rather it is a well-made, traditional Irish whiskey blended to a middle-of-the-road, but still pleasing, profile. It is a tasty, well-balanced spirit, good enough and affordable enough to drink every day and to mix in the cocktail of your choice.

Report Card

Quality Grade: B
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B

Categories
Spirits Reviews Whiskey Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: Bushmills Black Bush

Black_bushBushmills Black Bush
Blended Irish Whiskey
Final Grade: A-
Price: $32 (750ml)

Like many Americans (and maybe even a few Irishmen, although I'm more skeptical of that), I spent St. Patrick's Day drinking Irish whiskey. Unlike most of them, I did so with pen and pad in hand, scribbling notes as I enjoyed a glass of Bushmills Black Bush.

Black Bush is the premium blended Irish whiskey produced by Bushmills Distillery. It's a blend of malt whiskey and batch-distilled grain whiskey that is aged in Oloroso sherry-seasoned casks.

Black Bush has a welcome aroma of spice and malt, reminiscent of toasted cereal grains. (This is not surprising, given that Black Bush is reportedly made with 85% malt whiskey, a higher ratio than the usual blended Irish whiskey.) After some time in the glass, the scent of caramel starts to come through as well. It's a very inviting aroma that promises good things to come.

The taste confirms that promise. The flavor of caramel and malt continues on the palate, along with the essence of oak and sherry. The time spent maturing in former sherry casks definitely gives this whiskey an additional something special.

Black Bush is a remarkably balanced whiskey, achieving harmony between sweetness and spice, and smoothness and fire. (Is "smoothness" a word? If not, it should be.) Is has just the right amount of heat to it, giving it a nice kick without making it hard to drink.

All in all, a marvelous Irish whiskey that can be enjoyed any time.

Report Card

Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: B+
Final Grade: A-

Categories
Spirits Reviews Whiskey Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: Michael Collins Irish Whiskey

Michael-collins-whiskeyMichael Collins Irish Whiskey 
Blended Irish Whiskey
Final Grade: B+
Price: $25 (750ml)

Reviewed by Bob Montgomery

Michael Collins Irish Whiskey is a blend of malt and grain Irish whiskey, as most standard Irish whiskeys are. (They also produce an all-malt version.) It is double-distilled, in contrast to most Irish whiskeys, which are triple-distilled. This should lead to a bolder, less smooth product, and in fact Michael Collins is a bit bolder than some of its competitors.

The flavor on the tongue is malty, a bit sweet with some hints of raisins and a touch of smoke. If someone handed you a shot and told you it was Scotch, you might not call them on it, although it doesn’t quite have the unique character I expect from a decent Scotch.

Michael Collins is going its own way with this blend, aiming for something with a little more heft to it than its better-known competition, and getting part of the way there.

This whiskey will bring a little more to a cocktail and a bit more edge to an Irish Coffee, but still be very sippable should the mood strike. A reasonable value and worth a try if you’re looking to expand beyond the standards.

Report Card

Quality Grade: B+
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B+