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Tullamore Dew Phoenix Limited Edition

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Tullamore Dew Phoenix Limited Edition

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Tullamore Dew Phoenix Limited Edition

The Phoenix was placed on the coat of arms of the town of Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland, to symbolise the rebuilding of the town after a fire resulting from the crash of a hot air balloon in 1785. The distillery in Tullamore operated from 1829 until its closing in 1953. Currently Tullamore DEW whiskeys are produced at the Midleton Distillery in the South of Ireland. D.E.W. are the initials of Daniel E. Williams who was the manager of the distillery at the time of the introduction of electricity to Tullamore in 1893. Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix blends malt whiskey, pot still whiskey, and grain whiskey, and is finished in oloroso sherry casks. There is no age statement on the bottle. The reviewed bottle is # 13 of 30,236. The reviewed bottle was opened one day ago. I have been eager to try this whiskey since I first saw that it is bottled at 55% abv, an unusually high abv for a blended Irish Whiskey

Nose: high intensity caramel, very noticeable sherry-wine grapey flavours, strong barley as cereal-grain, hard (mostly wheat) "grain whiskey" flavours, vanilla, significantly strong alcohol greeting. Water fuses the flavours together, but they maintain great intensity. The wine flavours gain prominence. This is very nice, and I love the unaccustomed intensity of the flavours for a blended Irish whiskey

Taste: very big grainy flavours in the mouth, unmalted barley, malted barley, and wheat "grain" whiskey. This Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix is bracing and not too refined. The sherry and caramel flavours from the nose also translate strongly to the palate. I like this a lot, but if elegant and subtle are what you are looking for, this is not it. With water, the flavours remain a little fierce, with a notable juxtaposition of sweet and sour flavours.

Finish: pretty long, tapering toward a balance of sour against sweet and bitter caramel on a bed of wine. Added water emphasises the sour component and the wine

Balance: like the phoenix rising from the ashes, this is a whiskey of fierce force, and not one of finesse and gentility. I like it. I like it a lot, but you have to recognise it for what it is. If you are looking for subtlety and sophistication you came to the wrong place. But, for the extrovert there is lots here to entertain, in a roughhewn and somewhat aggressive style. This very clearly tastes like Irish whiskey. Its vibrant forcefulness and concentration of flavours make it one of the more aggressive and hard-edged Irish whiskeys

@thecyclingyogi, thanks for joining in.

Jim Murray has repeatedly stated that he considers the grain whiskey produced at Midleton to be the hardest, sharpest grain whiskey produced at any distillery. I can see why. Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix presents those stiff grain flavours in their full in-your-face directness. This is mostly a result of bottling the whiskey at 55% abv, I am sure.

Interesting, I think, that Montgomery County, Maryland received the numbered bottles from the very beginning of the series from this Irish Limited Editon. Curious. 186 more bottles of this are for sale in county.


I have just come back from Whitehorse, Yukon after four days attending a small film festival there. I had an absolutely majestic time (I even went dog sledding!), surrounded by snow, forest, mountains and crisp clean air. But what made this trip truly special is that Siobhan was there too (in fact, she got me invited)! As she is want to do, she brought a flask with her (well, two), containing this whiskey. I had given her this bottle as a Christmas present, knowing it would mean something to her - as her son's name is Phoenix - so her bringing it for us to share together was truly thoughtful. So I thank my love for this sample that I brought back with me.

Phoenix is a new expression from Tullamore Dew. The name comes from a fire that destroyed one-third of the town of Tullamore in 1785 (caused by a hot air balloon accident). The town was rebuilt, and to commemorate the rebirth a phoenix was added to the town crest. A few years later the Tullamore distillery was founded on the site of the crash.

I don't have the label in front of me, but I can tell you it is non-chill-filtered and bottled at a hefty 55% ABV. It is a blend containing a high percentage of pure pot still whiskey finished in old oloroso sherry casks (malt and grain whiskies making up the balance).

The colour is a medium gold. It's a beautiful nose, with rum raisin, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, all wrapped in raspberries, blackberries and dark chocolate. Rich honey and Christmas cake. Pot pourri. Water brings out almonds, macadamia and marzipan. A very nice mix of sweet and spice, though a little too tannic.

On the palate, it's an Irish whiskey with oomph! Luscious nutty pot still notes come out, with a smooth, fruity sherry influence. Powerful oak notes are beautifully balanced with the fruit, heat and spice. Water tames the alcohol, while spicing it up and allowing all the other notes to shine through.

The finish is mouth drying, with more berries, malt and honey coming forward. Although the official tasting notes describe this as "medium bodied", I find it quite bold for an Irish. This could be my favourite Tullamore Dew expression (having tried the standard, the 10yo and the 12yo). In fact, I'm doing a side-by-side comparison with the 10yo - the Phoenix is like a higher strength, more sherried cousin of that one (which is no slouch in its own right). I suspect a malt lover would enjoy this more than they might other Irish whiskeys. This is a very limited bottling so it may be hard to find, but if you do I highly recommend it.

This sounds like something to look out for thanks for the review. Good story for a bottling.

This sounds like something to look out for thanks for the review. Good story for a bottling.

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