Chris KelleyThe Drink: Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

The Comic: Kinski #1 published by Monkeybrain Comics

The Drink
The Tullamore Distillery was founded in 1829 by the well-known distiller Michael Malloy in Tullamore, County Offaly. Mr. Malloy died in 1857 leaving the distillery to his nephew Bernard Daly who changed the name of the distillery to B. Daly Distillery. Not long after, a 14-year-old boy named Daniel E Williams left work at his father’s farm and began working for the distillery. His main job was shoveling the malted barley. As part of his pay, he was allowed to sleep in the distillery’s hayloft. Over the course of the next few years he trained to become a distiller.

In 1887, Bernard Daly died leaving the distillery to his son Captain Bernard Daly. Captain Daly didn’t care much for business. Instead, he spent most of his time racing horses or playing polo. So, he appointed Daniel E Williams General Manager of the distillery. It was then that the improvements began. Williams installed the first electrical system in the town of Tullamore as well as the first telephone. He also built a new warehouse and bottling plant. In 1909 the Williams family became major shareholders in the distillery. They were also the first family to create the blended Irish whiskey. Nowadays this is common practice, but back then, it was a very new and very innovative technique. The name had also gotten a bit of a facelift.  Now known as Tullamore D.E.W to honor the man who made it all possible.

At the beginning of 1919, Irish whiskey faced it’s first major hurdle: Prohibition in the U.S. Tullamore Dew suffered as many others did when this major export market completely disappeared. Then, in the 1930s, another major blow to the industry was the Anglo-Irish Trade War that lasted until 1938. This saw the loss of whiskey sales in England and the entire British Empire. These events forced distilleries to decrease production and lower stock holdings of maturing whiskeys. When U.S. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, demand skyrocketed. Since the distilleries had cut back on production and aging, there was insufficient stock to satisfy the demand. With the supply of Irish Whiskey slowly disappearing from the world stage, Scotch swept in to fill the gap. Through all of this, Irish Whiskey has stayed a very successful industry, and Tullamore Dew has survived to be one of the world’s top brands.

Tullamore Dew has a lovely golden color to it. The nose is a bit earthy with hints of green apples and pears. It has a nice sweet, almost vanilla taste with just a bit of spice that lingers a while. It finishes very smooth and sweet. This is an easy-to-drink whiskey that is perfect for anyone just getting into it. It’s no secret that I love Irish whiskey. I’d go as far as saying it is my favorite thing to drink, and Tullamore Dew does not disappoint. This is a great everyday whiskey that will set you back about $20-$25. If you like Irish whiskeys, give this one a try. It’s well worth it.

The Comic
After reading and really enjoying D4VE from Monkeybrain Comics, I was very interested in reading more from the digital-only publisher. I was browsing the various titles when this caught my eye: Frustrated with his dead-end career as a traveling animal feed rep, Joe is looking for something. Turns out that “something” is a 4-month-old black lab puppy named Kinski. Being a dog lover, I was immediately intrigued. With a price point of $.99, it was hard to pass up. Plus, Monkeybrain had already won me over with D4VE, so I was hungry for more.

Kinski is written and drawn by Gabriel Hardman. I wasn’t very familiar with Hardman’s work, but I had heard the name many times before. The first issue opens with our central character, Joe, walking out of his hotel to find a 4-month-old black lab puppy looking at him and barking. Joe may not know it yet, but that was the moment the dog had him hooked. Not long after, a crowd of people gather around. Everyone seems very interested in the dog and the whereabouts of the dog’s owner. Joe quickly claims the dog as his own and gives him the name Kinski. His ownership is short-lived due to Animal Control showing up. Joe desperately pleads with them not to take Kinski, but there is simply nothing he can do. Joe goes about his business, attending a pitch meeting where he is clearly distraught over losing his four-legged friend. From there, a plan is set in motion.

Gabriel Hardman’s art is absolutely beautiful. It’s very crisp and clean. The book is entirely in black and white, and it works so well. There isn’t a whole lot of action in this issue. It’s all conversation, human interaction, and Hardman does a great job of translating that. The facial expressions on the characters are perfect. There’s a sequence toward the end of the book where the look in Joe’s eyes says it all. It is a perfect way of telling what he will do next, and even though you see it coming, it is very effective.

Being a dog lover and a comic fan, this issue worked on so many levels. It pulled me in right away with real, relatable characters and situations. Everyone has seen a dog wandering around alone and wanted to help. This is the story of someone following through and doing it. There are currently three issues of Kinski out and all for only $.99. If you are a lover of dogs and comics, you cannot pass this up. So far, Monkeybrain Comics is 2 for 2. I can’t wait to dive back in and see what other treasures they have in their catalog.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.