In their quest for further flavour profiles and experimentation, Tullamore D.E.W. have released their XO Rum Cask Finish triple distilled whiskey. The final product contains a blend of pot still, malt and grain Irish whiskeys, all of which have initially been matured in a combination of ex-Irish, bourbon and sherry casks, before being finished in first fill XO Demerara rum casks from Guyana to extract some of that sweet, tropical and spicy taste of further shores. The final whiskey has been bottled at 43% ABV and is available from select retailers. Without further a D.E.W…
Well, I’ve heard of salted caramel, but this initial nose seems to deliver up a salted and peppered caramel!? Is that a thing now? If this nose is anything to go by, then yes. It is sweet and firey at the same time, and has that classic Irish grassy/hay-like smell underneath. A little bit of an astringent finale.
Again, what I was predicting, and what I tasted are at odds, because I was expecting the rum cask finish to put in a lot of vanilla into the classic Tully flavour, but instead it’s offering up a large, rounded, and buttery body and toffee sweetness with a grassy and citrus zest (lemongrass?) backbone, and a white-peppery spice to finish.
After such a series of sensations, this whiskey disappears surprisingly quickly and leaves behind a strong, toasty and warming tingle throughout your throat and chest, but without much of the sweet flavour you’ve just enjoyed and developed a hankering for. The mouth is left with a little spice and a sense of intrigue and desire to get those flavours back and explore more.
Having read about this whiskey and knowing that it was finished in rum casks, I thought I knew what to expect, and was looking for those tropical flavours that the blurb was promoting (I was thinking pineapples and swathes of vanilla)… the classic power of suggestion. Instead, this whiskey seemed to take the classic Tullamore DEW Original flavours that I’ve become very familiar with, and amplified all of the key components, without becoming too loud or compromising on the quality. Is that extra spice there from the rum itself or just form the extra exposure to the barrels’ oak? Whatever the science behind it, this remains a super light Irish whiskey, and has all the hallmarks of an Irish dram with a little something else to it, resulting in a very easy-drinking, if not just over too soon – its like a whiskey in a hurry.
Sample disclosure: This sample was provided as part of a tweet tasting, courtesy of Mr Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire and @TweetTastings – I’m sure he has some sort of minimum criteria, but if we can make it, then so can you! If you want to find some of those tweets from the night, then just go onto Twitter and look through the #TullamoreDEW and give him a follow and/or go over to http://www.thewhiskywire.com for more details.