The global brand ambassador of Tullamore D.E.W, John Quinn visited Kenya for the second time and held a master class with some of the best bartenders in kenya.
Quinn’s stature of garnering over 40 years in the industry ultimately makes him the longest serving whiskey brand ambassador to date. He has been awareded “Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the year” at Whiskey Magazine’s Icons of Whisky awards in 2016, and named among world’s Top 10 Most Influential People in Irish whiskey.
Quinn landed in Nairobi on a week-long visit to share Tullamore D.E.W’s unique ‘Power of 3’ approach to making exquisite whiskey and we sat with him to cchaton his experience in the whiskey industry.
Tell us who John Quinn is when he is not working?
I am an easy old guy, very humble, a father and a grandfather. I love life and I love to see others happy.
What is the ‘Power of 3’ and how does it tie back to Tullamore DEW and is this important for whiskey lovers?
What we have in the blend of Tullamore Whiskey is very unique. No other whiskey is made the way Tullamore is made. In Ireland, we make three types of whiskeys and in Scotland they make two types of whiskeys – Grain whiskey and malt whiskey. We do both in Ireland and then a third one called pot still whiskey. The pot still is a kit, a sort of kettle that we use to make whiskey in Ireland. With pot-still whiskey, we use 50% malted barley (barley that has germinated) and 50% raw barley. With malt whiskey, we use 100% malted barley.
Tullamore D.E.W is a blend of malt whiskey, grain whiskey and pot still whiskey so you have three whiskeys in there. Each of those whiskeys has been distilled three times and we use three different casks in the maturation. We use casks that previously had bourbon whiskey, casks that previously Tullamore whiskey and casks that previously had sherry.
The power of three is three different whiskeys, all triple distilled, all matured in three different casks before we blend them together. It’s more expensive to make but it’s what gives it its own personality.
How would you describe the taste of Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey to an amateur?
I would describe it as being kind of sweet, vanilla sweet in a way – but not a sugary sweet. It has freshness to it which I would describe as a fruity freshness, like a green apple or an orange peel kind of freshness and it also has a spicy taste to it and there’s a reason to that. The reason is that it is a blend of three styles of whiskey’s: grain is sweet, malt whisky is fruity and pot whisky is spicy so it’s going to have all those three in there: it’s a complex blend made out of three types of wood and that gives it that freshness. What I’m basically trying to say is, it’s a very approachable whisky and its very smooth.
But what makes Tullamore stands out is every time I introduce Tullamore to someone for the first time the reaction is always the same.
What ingredient do you love mixing Tullamore D.E.W with when you visit Kenya?
I love mixing it with Stoney because it has the tangawizi in it but I also like mixing it with Apple juice.
So it there a right way to serve whiskey?
Not really, the beauty of whiskey is even when you have it differently from someone else, you’ll still get to enjoy it.
On its own, with ice and water on the side works for most people. Also, adding water opens up the whiskey and allows all the constituent flavours to show themselves. Sometimes I personally like it with some freshly squeezed apple juice – not concentrate.
Is it whiskey or whisky?
The Irish spell it with an ‘e’ while the Scots omit the ‘e’. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. Whiskey with the extra ‘e’ is also used when referring to American whiskies. The distillation process is however where one of the main differences occurs. Generally, Scottish and American whiskies are distilled twice and Irish whiskey is distilled three times – Remember the ‘Power of 3’? 😎