John Quinn is Tullamore D.E.W.’s global brand ambassador and, having worked in the industry for close to 40 years, he knows a thing or two about Irish whiskey! Not just a pretty face, John has been recognised by both his peers and the industry for his knowledge and commitment to Irish whiskey. He was named ‘World Whiskey Brand Ambassador’ of the year by Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky awards 2016. If that wasn’t enough to boost his ever expanding ego, John was also named one of the Top 10 most influential people in Irish whiskey by The Spirits Business in 2016.
12 Years Old
Why, obviously I’m going to pick one of my own. This whiskey more than any, appeals to my sense of distinctive Irishness in terms of flavour profile but it adds layers of depth that few can match. Yes, it’s a triple blend of all three styles of Irish whiskey and yes. we are using ex-Bourbon, ex-Irish and ex-sherry in the maturation, but forget all that. What gets delivered is a rich and complex whiskey with undertones of Chocolate, vanilla, nuts and even hint of dry cigar smoke - there I said it. I used the S word. I can’t believe
I did that, but I did it and I’m not apologising. Tullamore 12 Years Old is my all-time favourite whiskey in the world. I may not have admitted this to anyone before.
This harkens back to my early days in the whiskey business in the early 1970s when we sampled all the Irish whiskeys in the tasting room. Black Bush was one I felt had more body than most, well it would have being a blend with a heavy malt content. Back then, we talked about the 80 per cent of the blend being single malt. These days that has changed but I still like the idea of sipping from my past life and imagining all the hope and aspirations I had for my future. Did I achieve them? Meh, probably...
15 Years Old
I have gone for a Scotch – sacré bleu! When I first travelled to Glenfiddich I was enthralled by the story behind the building of the distillery and the determination of William Grant, the man, to build his own distillery and use his family to help him.
Of course the story is only interesting when you decide you want to try the whisky that has emanated from this beautiful distillery. I like all the GFs but the Solera Reserve is my go to Scotch whisky whenever I can get my hands on it. Imagine I said that I have a go-to Scotch! And when I have visitors to my house and they would like to try something other than TD I’ll always offer them a Glenfiddich 15.
12 Years Old Sherry Cask Finish
The first Scotch distillery I ever visited was actually The Glendronach Distillery. I was enthralled by all the stories, including the ghost story, but more importantly I was really taken with this rich and deep almost ruby red whisky with a glorious flavour profile, that smacks of nuts, dried fruit and some light spice.
This is another competitor of course and a worthy one. It’s a lovely blend of single pot still and malt Irish whiskeys, so it’s already unusual in that it’s a blend without grain whiskey. I’m not sure I like the name (even if it is very evocative) but the whiskey has a lovely richness to it with all the fresh apple notes that are redolent of good Irish whiskeys, with the attraction of spice, chocolate and nuts.
A brief final luxury
Probably a book as it’s something I can dip in and out of as I pass the time waiting for that ship to arrive. I would probably take a copy of The Bible, as I often get good messages from this to remind me I need to step up. Soppy? I know, but it’s either that or more alcohol. Oh I could bring a guitar and practise all the chords I couldn’t get when I started to learn how to play it.