Tasted as part of the recent Dram Team subscription package, this whiskey is actually only readily available as a travel retail bottling from Tullamore DEW – or “Tully” as their fans more often refer to it. What this “Special Reserve” contains is a blended batch of pot still, malt and grain whiskies that have been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels over the course of 12+ years.
Bit more going on here than their standard offering. This has a woodier, maltier nose. The distillery’s characteristic sweetness is there, but dark sugars are here now in place of the lighter, vanilla sweetness. Sweet biscuity-like flavours are there too, like hobnobs and digestives. The alcohol gives the nose a fair tingle too.
That digestive biscuit flavour really comes out when it hits the tongue. There’s a sort of wholemeal-meets-cereal flavour that dominates. After a little bit of time there seems to be a bit of honey poured onto that porridge mix of flavours bringing out a sweetness and a little oaky tang at the back which leaves a few, gentle, spiced elements on the way down.
The booze intensifies a little down the throat meaning that those malty, biscuity flavours fade away pretty quickly. Fairly lingering finish.
This was a really enjoyable dram. It has still got that Irish sweet, silky texture about it but the wood and grains seem to have a lot more of a say than the standard bottling’s toffee blast. Thankfully there is not so much of the dreaded “creamy mouthfeel” here from this Irish whiskey either, though it is still satisfyingly smooth. The influences of the oak from the 12+ years of maturation really help round this whiskey out into an easy sipping drink with a little something more about it. Very easy drinking. This expression is especially reserved for travel retail, which is a real pity.