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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