They say, that in life you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. And even then, it can be a challenge to make a good one at that.
When I received my Drinks By The Dram Irish Whiskey Advent Calendar, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A collection of 24 random Irish whiskeys could literally generate any number of good, bad or indifferent experiences when you crack open that first door. The first impression is incredibly important for a project like this, it’s a sizable treat for yourself or another. This particular calendar retails for £149.99 or approximately €176, which is a sizable outlay for a mystery selection of samples.
So, what was I expecting behind door #1? I wasn’t sure. Although, I can assure you that it was not the utterly fantastic Tullamore D.E.W. 18 Year-Old Irish Whiskey.
This drop is one of my all-time favourites from the Tullamore D.E.W. stable and a ridiculously decadent way to start any advent season. This single malt whiskey pays homage to its, incredibly popular, yet discontinued, little brother the Tullamore 10 Year, Four Cask Finish. Like the 10 it is a Four cask finish whiskey and takes the beautiful tropical fruits and caramlised biscuit-y notes of its younger brother to an entirely different level.
Originally only 2,500 bottles of this expression were released, it is unclear if more have since been released, although, it is still regularly available from reputable whiskey retailers.
The Maturation: Four Cask Finish
This whiskey spends the first 18 years of its life in a first fill ex-bourbon before being transferred to three different fortified wine casks for simultaneous finishings, before being married for bottling. These cask finishes were in Sherry, Port and Madeira.
Nose: this whiskey has a wonder creamy vanilla undertone that swims throughout, this pairs beautifully with a caramelised biscuit note, apricots, and tropical fruits like peach, mango and a hint of pineapple.
Palate: this is a very full-bodied whiskey with a very dry citrus note, that reminds me of bergamot orange. After the dry opening, the full effect of the tropical fruits and apricot burst through for a very full-bodied mouth feel.
Finish: this has a delightfully long and lingering finish that is thick, creamy and is reminiscent of the aforementioned caramelised biscuit notes with some dark fruits.
This is a must buy for anyone that wants to explore a more unusual (yet delicious) side to Irish whiskey. As many of you will know, I am a large advocate for Irish whiskeys with tropical fruit flavours, and this is right up my alley.
All in all, this was a fantastic start to the adequately premature Irish Whiskey advent calendar. I look forward to what the next 23 days have in store.
My only non-positive comment so far in this entire experience has been the sheer level of difficulty that faced me when I attempted to actually open door number one. The perforations did not want to pull apart and I actually ended up ripping other parts of the box surrounding door #1. Hopefully this was an isolated mishap and I will have no problems going forwards.