I’ve been making a concerted effort to reduce my number of bottles – hovering around 60 open with another 40 in waiting – & have taken to offering them as sample exchanges or gifts.
Cognisant also that whiskey can deteriorate if not stored properly I was taken aback at my hand scribbled date of ‘June ‘15’ on the box of this one!
Irish Whiskey – and indeed Tullamore DEW – was in a different place back then!
The number of whiskey distilleries releasing matured product in 2015 could be counted on the digits of one hand – now you’d need more than 3 pairs!
Tullamore DEW itself – after having been acquired by William Grants in 2010 – had only completed construction of it’s distillery in Tullamore in 2014.
Tullamore DEW’s success as a brand has been built entirely on sourced product – mainly from Midleton Distillery, although this 12yo Sherry Cask is reputed to be Bushmills distillate.
Today in 2022 clearly the new Tullamore Distillery’s output is mature enough to end up in it’s offerings – yet there’s been no fanfare to announce this.
Instead a seamless takeover from the previous Midleton incarnations to the new Tullamore offerings has prevailed – undoubtedly aided by the skill of the distillery team to create a perfect replica of the previous bottlings.
After all, when you’re the custodian of the 2nd most popular selling brand of Irish Whiskey in the World – why change a winning formula?
I pondered on all of these things while enjoying the last few – & thankfully very well preserved – drops of this 12yo Sherry Cask.
Doing the Wine & Spirit Education Trust – WSET – Level 2 Spirits Course a few years ago opened my palate to spirit categories I hadn’t appreciated before.
Brandy being one of them.
This St Rémy bottle is a leftover from that course.
You have to taste a variety of spirits to pick out the characteristics of each category.
It looks like a whiskey.
The nose is sweet & fruity.
Soft, smooth & mellow on the palate.
Finishes with a gentle oaky spice.
An easy approachable drinker to sit back & mull over – if it wasn’t for the phylloxera epidemic of the 1860’s that wiped out most of the grapevines worldwide – could brandy have been as big as whiskey?
When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.
Now available in 4 differing styles. – with varying images too – The Flight of the Earls make for a striking posse of whiskey.
It’s about time I discovered the flavours behind the brand – so ordered up a tasting pack from Tiny Tipple.
Red Earl, 40%
A blend aged in bourbon, sherry & rioja casks.
Warm, inviting & fruity sweet nose. Juicy mouthfeel with a lip smacking finish.
A lovely well balanced flavoursome blend.
Great Earl, 40%
A single grain aged in recharred & virgin oak barrels, finished in Sangiovese casks.
A dry, clean & clear nose. The wine influence makes it’s presence felt on the palate followed by a lovely frisson of oaky spice on the rear.
Spanish Earl, 43%
A single malt matured in bourbon casks & finished in rum & stout casks.
Yum yum – a juicy depth to this one! Rich maltiness on the palate with a solid backbone of darker delights. Opens up further on the finish with a spicy prickle, soft hints of roastiness & an engaging dryness.
Red Earl, Cask Strength, 63.48%
A cask strength version of the Red Earl blend.
Despite the high ABV the nose is still inviting – with just a suggestion of high alcohol presence. The triple cask maturation notes roll over each other in a wonderful flourish of flavour – before a drying hit of alcohol kicks in with an explosion of power.
I don’t subscribe to the notion cask strength is automatically superior to 40% – but Red Earl CS wears it well.
The Flight of Earls impressed me.
Full of flavour, full of style & a hearty bunch of characters too.
The pale colour of the quartet also points to a lack of added caramel.
It’s a delight to taste them all back to back to explore both the differences – & similarities – that run through the collection.
It’s hard to pick a winner from this flight of beauties – but for me the ease of drinking, clarity of flavours & enjoyable flair on the finish – I’m giving it to Great Earl.