Tullamore DEW 12 Years Old
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.
M: 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.
M: 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.
M: The booze intensifies a little down the throat meaning that those malty, biscuity flavours fade away pretty quickly. Fairly lingering finish.
M: 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.
Categories: Tasting Notes, Tullamore DEW
Tags: 12 Years Old, Bourbon, Grain, Ireland, Irish, Irish Whiskey, malt, Pot Still, Sherry, Special Reserve, Tullamore DEW, Whiskey, whisky
English Whisky Co – Chapter 9 (Peated)
Based down in Norfolk, the English Whisky Co has been making ripples in single malt production as England’s primary whisky distillers. Their marketing from day one has been very clever as it invites people along the distillery’s own journey and development, by inviting drinkers to enjoy each “chapter” within their whisky making book. The Chapter 9 release is their second peated expression, and being such, their first readily available release (with the first one – Chapter 8 – having sold out pretty quickly!), which has been matured solely in ex-bourbon casks and has been bottled at 46% ABV.
M: Dry smoke. Pretty gentle, and ‘clean’ smoke, Bit of oak in there too. There’s a sweet, tingly smell there too, that reminds me of Parma Violets.
M: Really firey. Fresh. Young. Then, when you’ve got used to the booze, there is malt and caramel. After a bit of time and/or a bit of water it mellows to a smooth caramel flavour with a gentle smoky backbone. Like the tingly sweetness of “fruit” flavour sweets like love hearts. Just a touch of the Laphroaig medicinal/iodine about it.
M; Fantastic peat embers. That firey kick subsides and coats the throat with a silky sweet texture and a good smoky aftertaste. Great balance.
M: I’ve tried a few of the English Whisky Co’s chapters now but this is the first time I’ve tried a peated one and I like what I’ve tasted here! It’s not a smoky heavyweight but it’s far from being bantam! (I even found myself groaning at that one). Overall it is pretty light, refreshing and has that surprising characteristic of more-ish for a smoked whisky. My preference is usually to leave a smoky dram until the end of the night and just have the one, but this is one that I could definitely get back in the ring with for a second round. I’m not exactly getting “salty chips” like the Dram Team’s tasting notes though, but am happy to have another go.
Categories: Tasting Notes, The English Whisky Co
Tags: Bourbon, Chapter 9, England, English Whisky, English Whisky Co, English Whisky Company, Ex-Bourbon, Norfolk, Peated, Single, Single Malt, Single Malt Whisky
Peat-Meisters Laphroaig released their “Select” expression within their core range in 2014 and it seems that year was the year of the multiple-maturation boom. Whilst most distilleries have been trying this for the past few years, it seems that the marketing fad has gone too far and has even exceeded the Gillette vs Wilkinson Sword race to have multiple blades on a razor. The Select release appears to be Laphroaig’s dabble with the foray, boasting maturation through 5 different barrels: Oloroso sherry, Pedro Ximenez, white American oak, quarter casks and bourbon casks.
M: Young alcohol attack with caramel sweetness and fairly faint Laphroaig smoke – quite a lot going on. Give it a minute to breathe and that vanilla:smoke balance remains.
M: Sweet, sweet flavours with caramel and vanilla at the front and then a (surprisingly) soft smoke at the back.
M: Fresh and tingly all the way down and the smoke dies off quickly.
M: As a big fan of Laphroaig’s staple expressions (see previous notes here), I had big hopes for this when it first came out and I must say that I was disappointed. Stupidly, I’d got hyped up about it because it was Laphroaig. I’ve learned not to care about whether or not their is an age statement on a whisky bottle and I wasn’t especially wary that it’s cheaper price might have indicated a drop in quality, so my initial conclusion was that this must just be a Laphroaig for a different type of whisky drinker. Since then though, I have gone back to it from time to time and, to me, this just tastes like Laphroaig Light. It might be a neat way for the peat-ophobes to start to get acquainted with the big Laphroaig tastes – a gateway dram, if you like – but having grown up with Laphroaig as the phenolic beast I’ve come to know and love, this falls short of the mark for me. Maybe it’s the myriad of barrel influences, but all the flavours seem to cancel one another out with a resultant timid sweet-meets-peat whisky that promises more than it delivers. Scrambling for another positive though, I could drink a lot of this, which you can’t say about the 10yo, because that is all about savouring the experience. To that extent, have Laphroaig created a whisky equivalent of the Session IPA? Maybe. Just maybe.
Categories: Laphroaig, Tasting Notes
Tags: Bourbon, Islay, Laphroaig, Oloroso, Pedro Ximenez, Quarter Cask, scotch, Scotch Whisky, Select, Single Malt, whisky, White American Oak