bushmills vs tullamore dew featured image

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Irish Whisky Showdown

Bushmills and Tullamore Dew, two names that often surface in conversations among enthusiasts.

My experience with Bushmills began on a chilly evening. The ambiance was perfect for a whiskey tasting – quiet, with a hint of anticipation in the air. The first sip was like an introduction to a long-told tale, rich in history and tradition.

It carried a certain robustness, a testament to its heritage and the craftsmanship behind its creation. As I savored each sip, I couldn’t help but reflect on the distillery’s long-standing legacy.

On another occasion, particularly at my cousin’s abode the night before her wedding, I found myself with a glass of Tullamore Dew. The setting was different—quite a complementary vibe for a lively gathering with friends. This whiskey, much like the atmosphere, felt vibrant and sociable.

It had a character that seemed to blend seamlessly with the moment, enhancing the joy of shared stories and laughter. There was an approachability to it, an ease that made the evening all the more enjoyable.

Both experiences were distinct, yet equally memorable. Bushmills offered a sense of tradition and depth, while Tullamore Dew brought a lively, social flair.

As I reminisce about these moments, I find myself pondering a question that perhaps you, the reader, have also considered:

Which of these two would be my personal choice?

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Quick-look Comparison

Bushmill Original
NoseLight and approachable with fruity notes, vanilla sweetness, and a dash of spice
PalateA blend of grainy sweetness, crisp orchard fruits, and a hint of oaky depth
MouthfeelSmooth and medium-bodied with a pleasant, non-aggressive presence
FinishClean and somewhat short, with gentle warmth and a subtle spiciness.
AgeNAS (No Age Statement)
Cask/BarrelsEx-bourbon barrels
Strength40% ABV/80 Proof
Price£21.00 or $27.00
Bushmills Original
Tullamore Dew
NoseGentle, with a mix of vanilla sweetness, light fruitiness, and a hint of malt
PalateSmooth, subtle sweetness of green apples and citrus, balanced with light spice and malt
MouthfeelSoft and mellow, quite easy on the palate
FinishMild and smooth, with a touch of sweetness and a very subtle spice lingering
AgeNAS (No Age Statement)
Cask/BarrelsEx-bourbon and sherry casks
Strength40% ABV/80 Proof
Price£18.00 or $23.00
Tullamore Dew

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Bushmills Original Review


Bushmills Original comes from the Old Bushmills Distillery, which is located in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

It’s one of the oldest distilleries in the world, with a license to distill dating back to 1608.


When I first pour a glass of Bushmills, its color immediately grabs my attention. It’s a rich, amber gold, kind of like honey sitting under the sun.

The way it catches the light makes it look inviting, almost as if it’s promising a good experience.

Nose or Aroma

Moving on to the nose, or the aroma, Bushmills offers a nice, balanced bouquet. There’s a clear sweetness to it, something like ripe fruits, maybe apples or pears, mixed with a hint of vanilla.

Alongside this sweetness, there’s a subtle spice, which reminds me of cinnamon or a faint whiff of oak. The aroma isn’t too heavy; it’s just right, enticing enough to make me eager to take the first sip.


The mouthfeel of Bushmills is something I find quite pleasant. It has a smooth, almost silky texture that coats the mouth lightly. It’s not overly heavy or oily.

Instead, there’s a comforting weight to it that nicely sets up the palate for the flavors to come.

Palate or Flavor

Now, the palate, or the flavor, is where Bushmills truly stands out.

At first, there’s a lovely sweetness, echoing the aromas with flavors of honey and ripe fruits. This sweetness is quickly complemented by a more robust, spicy character. There’s a touch of nuttiness, maybe akin to almonds, and a hint of oak that adds a layer of complexity to the flavor profile.

The spice doesn’t overpower but adds a warm depth that balances the initial sweetness. As the flavors unfold, there’s a gentle floral note, which brings a light, refreshing aspect to the whiskey.


The finish is smooth and enduring. The blend of sweet and spicy notes lingers pleasantly, leaving a lasting warmth and a desire for another sip.

Each element of Bushmills, from its appealing color to its rich flavor profile, comes together to create a memorable whiskey experience.

It’s a drink that speaks of tradition and careful crafting, offering a taste that’s both comforting and intriguing. In every sip, you can sense the heritage and the passion that goes into making Bushmills a truly enjoyable whiskey.

Alcohol by Volume (ABV)

Bushmills, at 40% ABV, offers a gentle warmth that’s never overpowering. It’s strong enough to give you that classic whiskey experience, but not so strong that it overwhelms the other flavors. This makes it a great choice for those who want to enjoy their whiskey without the alcohol taking center stage.

Tasting Bushmills Irish Whiskey brings to mind a comparison with another favorite of mine, Jameson or Dewars. Both share a smooth, approachable character, but it’s in their strength where a subtle yet interesting difference emerges.


Now, when it comes to price, Bushmills is a real steal at £21.00 or $27.00.

For a whiskey of its quality, this price point is surprisingly affordable. This makes Bushmills an excellent option for newcomers to the world of whiskey. It’s a great way to get a taste of what a good Irish whiskey can offer without sacrificing tomorrow’s lunch.

It’s not just about the affordability, though.

You can get it here.

Personal Recommendation

As for my recommendation, I always say start with Bushmills neat.

This way, you get that first, unadulterated impression. When you first sip it neat, you get to experience all the flavors and the smoothness in its purest form. Then, after savoring it neat, try adding just a splash of water.

This little bit of dilution can open up new flavors and aromas, making the whiskey even more enjoyable.

But a word of caution – don’t add too much water.

You want to enhance the whiskey, not drown it.

Just a little splash is enough to change the character slightly, making it a bit lighter and bringing forward some of the subtler flavors and aromas that might have been hiding behind the initial boldness.

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Tullamore Dew Review


Tullamore Dew, on the other hand, comes from the Tullamore Distillery located in Tullamore, County Offaly, in the central part of the Republic of Ireland.

The brand is named after Daniel E. Williams (the ‘DEW’), who was the general manager of the distillery during the late 19th century and whose initials are on every bottle.


Pouring a glass of Tullamore Dew, the first thing I notice is its color. It’s a light, golden amber, reminiscent of a crisp autumn morning.

The color is bright and inviting, setting the stage for a promising tasting experience.

Nose or Aroma

As I bring the glass closer to my nose, the aroma of Tullamore Dew is immediately captivating. It’s a delightful blend of gentle fruitiness and a hint of floral notes. There’s a sweetness there, like fresh green apples or a touch of citrus, mingled with a subtle hint of vanilla.

This sweetness is complemented by a light, woody aroma, which adds a layer of complexity without overpowering the nose. The overall aroma is approachable and welcoming, enticing me to take that first sip.


Upon tasting, the mouthfeel of Tullamore Dew is notably smooth and soft. It has a lightness to it that makes it incredibly easy to drink. The whiskey glides over the palate without any harshness or bite.

It’s almost silky, which makes for a pleasant drinking experience, especially for those who might be new to whiskey or prefer a gentler sip.

Palate or Flavor

The flavor of Tullamore Dew is as inviting as its aroma. It starts with a sweetness that mirrors the nose, with notes of green apple and a slight citrus zest. This sweetness quickly unfolds into a more complex profile.

There’s a hint of spice, but it’s gentle, like a dash of nutmeg or a hint of pepper. Alongside this, there’s a touch of oak and a subtle creaminess that adds depth to the palate.

The flavors are well-balanced, with each note complementing the others, creating a harmonious and enjoyable taste.


As the whiskey finishes, it leaves a lasting impression. The finish is smooth and lingering, with the sweet and spicy notes gently fading, leaving a warm and satisfying feeling.

The finish reminds me of another favorite, Glenfiddich 12, which also offers a smooth, easy-drinking experience with a pleasing finish. Both whiskies share a certain lightness and balance that makes them accessible and enjoyable, especially for those who appreciate a whiskey that’s not too intense or overwhelming.

Alcohol by Volume (ABV)

When I hold a glass of Tullamore Dew, its 40% ABV or 80 Proof immediately sets a certain expectation. Just like Bushmills, this alcohol content strikes a balance between strength and smoothness. It’s potent enough to give that warming, authentic whiskey sensation, yet gentle enough not to overpower the other flavors in the drink.

This level of alcohol makes Tullamore Dew an inviting choice for a wide range of whiskey enthusiasts, from those just starting their journey to seasoned sippers looking for a reliable go-to.


The price point of Tullamore Dew, at around £18.00 or $23.00, is slightly lower than that of Bushmills, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less in terms of quality or enjoyment. This pricing makes Tullamore Dew a good value proposition. It’s an affordable entry into the world of Irish whiskey (especially for someone exploring things).

For anyone exploring whiskey options without wanting to splurge too much, Tullamore Dew stands out as a smart choice, delivering quality and flavor that surpasses its modest cost.

You can get it here.

Personal Recommendations

My personal recommendation for enjoying Tullamore Dew is a bit different from Bushmills. While I enjoy Bushmills neat or with a splash of water, I find Tullamore Dew shines when served on the rocks. The ice brings a new dimension to the whiskey.

As it chills, the flavors become slightly more subdued, and the drink becomes incredibly refreshing. The ice slowly dilutes the whiskey, subtly changing its character and revealing new layers of flavor as you sip.

This gradual transformation makes for an interesting and enjoyable drinking experience. It’s perfect for a relaxed evening or a social gathering where you want a drink that’s both easy to enjoy and interesting enough to savor over time.

Just don’t drown the whisky.

Bushmills Original Food Pairings

For Starters

bushmills original starters

For starters, the key is to find dishes that complement Bushmills without overshadowing its flavors. A classic choice would be smoked salmon. The rich, oily texture of the salmon pairs beautifully with the smooth, honeyed notes of Bushmills. The whiskey cuts through the richness of the fish, while the smokiness of the salmon brings out the subtle spicy notes in the whiskey.

Another great option could be a cheese platter featuring milder cheeses like Brie or Gouda. These cheeses have a creamy texture and a subtle flavor profile that harmonizes well with the smoothness of Bushmills, creating a delightful balance between the food and the drink.

For Mains

bushmills original mains

When it comes to the main course, Bushmills pairs wonderfully with dishes that have a bit of a sweet or spicy twist. A glazed pork chop, with a honey or apple-based glaze, can be a fantastic choice. The sweetness of the glaze echoes the honeyed notes of Bushmills, while the savory pork complements the whiskey’s spicy undertones.

Alternatively, roasted chicken with herbs and a hint of citrus can be another excellent pairing. The herbal flavors in the chicken bring out the whiskey’s oak and nutty notes, while the citrus element keeps the palate refreshed.

For Desserts

bushmills original desserts

For dessert, you want something that can stand up to the warmth and complexity of Bushmills without overpowering it. A classic choice would be bread pudding. The rich, custardy texture and the sweetness of the dessert pair beautifully with the smooth, spicy notes of Bushmills. The whiskey adds depth to the dessert, enhancing its flavors rather than competing with them.

One delightful pairing I think could be a caramel apple tart. The caramel’s buttery sweetness complements the whiskey’s vanilla and honey notes, while the tartness of the apple cuts through the richness, creating a balanced and enjoyable end to the meal.

Tullamore Dew Food Pairings

For Starters

tullamore dew starters

Starting with appetizers, Tullamore Dew’s light and fruity notes pair well with lighter fare. A simple, yet elegant, goat cheese salad, dressed with a light vinaigrette, complements the whiskey’s citrus undertones. The creaminess of the cheese contrasts nicely with the crispness of the whiskey, creating a delightful start to the meal.

Plus, it’s excellent with a plate of prosciutto and melon. The sweetness of the melon and the saltiness of the prosciutto enhance the subtle sweetness and slight spiciness of Tullamore Dew, making for a harmonious blend of flavors.

For Mains

Moving on to the main course, Tullamore Dew’s smoothness pairs beautifully with poultry and pork dishes. A classic roast chicken, seasoned with herbs like thyme and rosemary, brings out the whiskey’s woody and spicy notes. The herbs in the chicken complement the subtleties of the whiskey, creating a well-rounded dining experience.

Alternatively, a pork tenderloin with a light apple cider glaze can be an excellent match. The glaze’s sweetness mirrors the light, fruity character of Tullamore Dew, while the pork’s savory notes provide a perfect counterbalance to the whiskey’s smoothness.

For Desserts

Tullamore Dew’s light and slightly spicy profile pairs well with desserts that aren’t too heavy. A classic apple crumble, with its blend of sweet and tart flavors, complements the whiskey’s fruity and vanilla notes. The crumble’s buttery texture also works well with the smoothness of the whiskey, creating a comforting and satisfying end to the meal.

Another delightful option is a vanilla panna cotta. The dessert’s creamy texture and vanilla flavor harmonize with the smooth, sweet characteristics of Tullamore Dew, making for a subtle yet elegant pairing.

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Final Thoughts

Concluding my journey with Bushmills and Tullamore Dew, it’s clear that both whiskeys stand out, each in their own right. To better illustrate my experience, I’ve put together a table that captures their distinct qualities. This includes their flavors, how they pair with different foods, and their overall value.

This comparison was challenging, especially considering the high quality each whiskey offers at their respective price points. Both Bushmills and Tullamore Dew deliver exceptional experiences that defy their affordable costs.

This made it tougher to choose a clear winner in some categories, as both offer more than what their price tags might suggest.

BestBushmills OriginalTullamore Dew
Colour5/10 6/10 
Total 2728

This made it tougher to choose a clear winner in some categories, as both offer more than what their price tags might suggest.

Bushmills vs Tullamore Dew: Author’s Verdict

When I held Bushmills Original up to the light, the color was good, but Tullamore Dew had that extra bit of brightness that grabbed my attention a little more. It’s not that Bushmills’s color didn’t have its charm; Tullamore Dew’s just had a spark that drew me in.

Sniffing the two, the aromas were a toss-up because both are honestly quite pleasant. But Tullamore Dew gave off a slightly more inviting aroma. It’s like when you walk into a room and something smells good; you’re not sure what it is, but you want to stick around and find out. That’s the effect Tullamore Dew had over Bushmills for me.

Feeling them on the tongue, Bushmills Original had a texture that I slightly preferred. It had this kind of presence in the mouth that was just right—not too light, not too heavy. Tullamore Dew was definitely smooth, but Bushmills had that little extra something in the mouthfeel department that made each sip just a bit more satisfying.

Taste-wise, it was tough because it’s so subjective. Neither Bushmills Original nor Tullamore Dew had a clear lead; both have their highs and lows. They both left an impression, but there wasn’t a knockout punch from either side. It was more about the little details, the subtle notes that made me lean one way or the other.

And for the finish, well, that’s where both Bushmills and Tullamore Dew tied. They both had this lingering quality that nicely stayed with you, sort of like the end of a good day where you’re just content and relaxed.

When it comes down to price, Bushmills Original and Tullamore Dew are neck and neck, with both offering great value. However, Tullamore Dew edges out just slightly in terms of the overall quality you get for the cost. It’s getting a little extra depth and a touch more complexity for your money.

Both are priced reasonably enough to not make your wallet wince, but Tullamore Dew feels like it delivers a bit more.

It wasn’t about one being better than the other overall.

It was more about the slight preferences that edged out in certain areas.

Both Bushmills Original and Tullamore Dew are quality whiskies that bring a lot to the table, and my table just reflects those tiny, subjective differences that make whiskey tasting such a personal experience.

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