In time for next month's St. Patrick's Day, Tullamore D.E.W. is debuting its oldest whiskey to date with a 15-year-old that also displays a numerological aspect with the repeated significance of the number three in this Irish blend.
If you're of an Irish background—and who isn't on March 17?—you can lay its origin to the three leaves on a shamrock. At any rate, Tullamore D.E.W. 15 Year Old Trilogy is three times blended, using three types of whiskey (pot still, malt and grain), and then aged in three different varieties of oak casks. On top of that, like most Irish whiskey, it is triple distilled.
In Ireland, pot still is defined as whiskey distilled from a mix of malted and unmalted barley in a pot still. Malt whiskey is made purely from malted barley (also in a pot still). Grain whiskey combines other cereal grain with barley and is distilled in a column still.
The Tullamore D.E.W. 15 Year Old Trilogy is aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso Sherry butts as well as getting a finish in casks formerly used to age rum.
Tullamore D.E.W. is a brand that dates back to 1829, when it was founded in Tullamore in County Offaly. However, as with many Irish distillers, production was moved to New Midleton Distilley in County Cork in the 1950s, when it was purchased by Irish Distillers in a period of great consolidation.
In 2010, William Grant & Sons bought the brand and, in 2014, opened a new distillery in Tullamore. The company says that the Trilogy is part of a wide range expansion for the brand that will roll out over the next few years, supported by the increased production at the new $50 million distillery, with its 50,000-cask capacity.
Tullamore D.E.W. 15 Year Old Trilogy (80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume; 15 years old; $79.99 a 750 milliliter bottle)
APPEARANCE: Light amber color with medium-width legs.
NOSE: Very sweet floral/fruity aroma with Cognac quality. Once the first flush of sweetness wears off, some caramel/barrel-wood notes come through.
PALATE: Starts out very much like the standard Tullamore D.E.W.—creamy with toffee, honey and toast—and then rolls into a new territory of tropical fruits, some licorice, cocoa and almond; sort of like a sophisticated hard candy with a fudge center.
FINISH: The ending is lasting and full of tropical fruit and tangerine.
CIGAR PAIRING: Montecristo 80th Anniversary No. 2 (6 inches by 54 ring gauge; $22, 90 points; Cigar Insider November 17, 2015) This neatly pressed torpedo is well-made and wears an attractive, near-pristine wrapper. The smoke is sweet and nutty with an almond quality and touches of cocoa. Like flavors (cocoa and nuts) drew us to this combination—and we were rewarded with even more. The almonds from the whisky fairly explode on the palate and help to further define what was an undetermined nutty flavor on the cigar. A previously undetected graham cracker flavor arises on both elements. The Tullamore's rum barrel aging comes into clearer focus with the appearance of molasses notes. The Montecristo takes on a fine, nuanced cedar character. A great example of give-and-take in a pairing.