Recently I was lucky enough to join the Toronto Whisky Society in the first of what we hope is a constant amount of tastings.
In order to give everyone a shot at coming out, the entry “fee” was to bring a bottle that was NAS/10 years that was at least half full.
The following reviews are from said tasting, in which I was able to take my time, take pictures that don’t just show off one part of my apartment, and ensure my palate was thoroughly rinsed (with water) between each whiskey..
Irish whiskey is something I enjoy. It may not be my favourite, and it may not be the whiskey I reach for over others (that’s Scotch), but it holds a special place in my heart. And not because of the binge drinking or bar fights in University.
That said, as a Canadian, I think Ireland’s whiskey scene saw what could happen. You see, Canada’s whisky scene is sad. And there was a point where it could have been saved, but we didn’t do anything. We’re doing things now.
I feel like part of the Irish whiskey scene is at that point, and luckily, the Irish seem to have woken the fuck up and not made the same mistake. So congrats. We forgive you for the Fenian raids.
Just kidding, we forgot about those years ago.
I feel that Tullamore Dew has attempted to just that. This is the first Irish whiskey to be finished in a Cider cask. Which is impressive. You’d think that someone would have done that by now. Apples are pretty ubiquitous and there has to be good casks around at least over in UK.
And thus we have Tullamore Dew Cider Cask. An interesting oddity in the Tullamore Dew lineup, I was interested in trying this once I saw it. I feel cask finishes are great ways to make things unique, if done right.
This one is travel retail. That’s concerning, to say the least. That’s usually a dumping ground.
So let’s see what happened here.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Apples, alcohol, citrus, pineapple
Apples. Oh the apples. Like falling through an orchard. Or diving into cider. It’s a lot.
Given time, this reminds me more of a flavoured vodka than a whiskey. It’s very fruit forward. Fruit centre. What I’m saying is there’s a lot of fruit.
Taste: Apple, faint cinnamon, caramel, yeast
Needs more spice. If this had more spice, I could see it as an interesting way of having an alcohol that tastes like apple jacks.
As it stands, this kinda does that, but not really. And there’s a yeast that sticks out. I don’t mind it too much, but it’s not helping. Doesn’t fit too well.
Finish: Yeast, cereal, mint, goat cheese
So I didn’t expect this. The finish starts with more of the yeast, and at first I’m sad because, well, that’s not really working well for it. However given some time… I’m surprised. There’s a distinct, sweet, and creamy taste that lingers.
It’s not blowing me away, but it’s certainly unique.
Conclusion: So this entire dram would be considered a failed experiment, for me. Yes, it’s better than original. Not by a lot. They have made something that most apple fans and some cider fans could drink.
As a whiskey it feels like it needed more of something. Or maybe different cider casks. The finish has some really interesting notes. It’s hard to say. Perhaps the casks didn’t work out, it was too expensive, or rather it was given too small a budget or too small a timeline.
I appreciate this experimentation along with others though. I think Irish whiskies at cask strength, good quality, trying new things, and even interesting finishes from Ireland are the future.
Just have to do better than this one.
World Whiskey review #208, Ireland review #35, Whiskey Network review #967