John Quinn is currently in South Africa for the Whisky Live Festival taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. We caught up with him for a whiskey lesson and to learn more about the Tullamore D.E.W. brand.
“Tullamore D.E.W. is an Irish whiskey named after two things: the town of Tullamore in the heart of Ireland, while the D.E.W. comes from the man who inspired the whiskey back in the 1800s – Daniel Edmund Williams. It’s quite unusual and unique for a whiskey to be named after the town and the man; it’s usually one or the other,” Quinn tells us.
“It’s a triple distilled Whiskey, which is quite common, but what’s interesting about Tullamore is that it’s a triple blend (golden grain, full-flavoured malt and rich potstill) distilled in three different types of wood. We often talk about the whiskey as the power of three because there’s no other whiskey that does that,” he adds.
READ MORE: Fresh whisky cocktail recipes
Because Tullamore D.E.W. offers such an easy drinking experience, Quinn says South Africans have responded to it very positively.
“I think for South African consumers, Tullamore D.E.W. is a gently sweet whiskey and I think that appeals to a lot of people here in the same way that it appeals to a lot of people in Europe. It’s a whiskey that’s got depth of flavour; it’s got some fruit characteristics from the malt whiskey and it’s also got a little bit of spice from the potstill whiskey and the sweetness from the grain whiskey. It’s a very pleasant and accessible whiskey to drink,” he adds.
Regarding whiskey as an investment, Quinn explains that while it is possible, there are some things to consider first.
“Whiskey can be an investment if you find whiskeys that have been discontinued and won’t be repeated in the future. There are many collectors of whiskey out there who like to buy whiskeys that are not available anymore. Also, if there’s a limited quantity produced each year, these would be worthwhile long-term investment as a lot of people are often looking for these antique-type whiskeys,” he explains.
Quinn adds that patience is a necessity if you’re looking at a long-term investment.
“One thing I would say about buying whiskey as an investment is that you’d probably have to invest quite a bit of money to make a lot of money. If you invest in one bottle, you’ll make some money off it, but not an awful lot. But if you invest a lot of money in rare whiskeys, the return will be greater. You also have to be very patient, and the trouble with that from my point of view is that I’m so old already, so if I invested in any whiskeys I probably wouldn’t live long enough to see the monetary return,” he says.
How should one enjoy whiskey?
“To enjoy a new Whiskey, just add a little water to it – not too much. This allows you to taste all the different flavours in there and to understand what’s in there. I enjoy whiskey with ice because I know what it tastes like, but if you add ice to a whiskey that you don’t know the taste of, you’ll miss a lot of the flavours,” he says.
“Some people enjoy their whiskey with some ginger-ale or even cola, but I like to add apple juice. This is because Tullamore has a kind of sweet apple nose to it and apple juice goes really well with it. That makes me sound weird, but it’s a wonderful way to drink it,” he laughs.