One of the best parts about The Whiskey Women is meeting and connecting with so many incredibly, amazing, like-minded women from around the world.
Eimear Kelleher is one of those amazing ladies. A Dublin raised, Brooklyn based lover of whiskey, Eimear holds the coveted role of Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. Her passion for her job, her brand, Irish whiskey, whiskey and women, and curing breast cancer ooze out of her. But don’t take my word for it, read on!
Let’s start with the basics, how did you get into drinking whiskey?
I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been drinking whiskey since I was able to legally order it or some other far-fetched story. I properly began when I got this job. I had drank it before from time to time but had no real appreciation for it. Since I began working for Tullamore D.E.W, I’ve had such an awakening to the wonders of whiskey. From Irish to Scotch and Bourbon, I now understand the different taste profiles and build-ups. I never thought I’d know enough or enjoy it enough to be able to pick a favourite. In case you’re wondering, it’s the Tullamore D.E.W 12 Year Old.
So, you’re a Brand Ambassador for Tullamore Dew. What’s that like? How did you get into doing that?
It is honestly a dream job. Almost to the point that it shouldn’t be legal. How can one job be so much fun? I’ve yet to wake up and dread going to work. It’s hard to explain this job because there is so much involved. No two days are the same. I could be training staff and distributors one day, giving a whiskey tasting to consumers the next or travelling to another state the third for an event. There’s never a dull moment that’s for sure.
I got the job through a lot of hard work and typical Irish banter. As I was approaching the end of my time in college, I was applying for different jobs and graduate programmes. To my absolute delight I got a call from the Irish Business & Employer’s Confederation (IBEC). They have a graduate programme that pairs Irish students with Irish companies in different parts of the world. Thankfully, the people at Tullamore D.E.W were impressed with my profile and invited me for an interview. After 45 minutes of questions, chat and ‘craic’ (the Irish version of the word means good fun), I walked out of the room feeling confident and hopeful. Two days later, the job was mine! As you can imagine, I was over the moon. It has been non-stop work and fun ever since.
Speaking of Tullamore Dew, can you tell us a little bit more about the spirit? Flavor notes, history, mashbill, best way to drink it, etc.
Tullamore D.E.W focuses on the power of three. We’re a triple blend whiskey - it’s made from grain, malt and pot-still. The grain we use is corn, the malt is 100% malted barley and pot-still is a blend of malted and un-malted barley. We’re also triple distilled which means we’ve achieved a smooth and friendly spirit.
There is so much history behind our brand. The D.E.W actually stands for Daniel Edmond Williams. He’s the man behind our beloved drink. He began working in the B. Daly distillery when he was 14 and by the time he was 25, he became general manager and ultimately, owner. He renamed it after his hometown of Tullamore (Co. Offaly) and lent his initials to every bottle. So the D.E.W is not a reference to the moisture on the ground, it’s his initials.
We have an eclectic range of whiskey that includes a 12 Year Old Special Reserve, a 10 Year Old Single Malt and a Limited Edition Phoenix but to tell you a bit about our original product…
When you nose it, you can get the sweetness of the vanilla and the fruitiness of a green apple. Upon tasting, you will notice a blend of citrus, dried fruit and nuts. This combination results in a marzipan-like finish.
Our motto at Tullamore D.E.W is that our preference is your preference so whatever way you enjoy drinking it is fine by us. I usually opt to drink it neat but I do love it in a cocktail or with apple juice.
How would you describe an Irish Whiskey?
I would describe an Irish whiskey to be light. They’re definitely not as strong or peaty as Scotch or Bourbon. Irish whiskey boasts such great flavour and a rich heritage. You can never get bored with either the drink or the history.
As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, you guys are hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness event in New York on October 26th. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Raising awareness for Breast Cancer is something I’m very passionate about. I feel like everyone at one point or another has been affected by it. Either personally or through a loved one. Women need to be more aware of the importance of screening and early detection. So, as an ambassador, my job is to promote Tullamore D.E.W and I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone? We’re having an event in Whitman & Bloom to celebrate women and whiskey. The insanely talented Irish designer, Sinéad Lawlor is creating customised bottles of our whiskey in honour of breast cancer awareness. The bottles will then be donated to the Susan G Komen foundation in order to raise more money. We have also created an amazing whiskey cocktail for the event that’s called the Irish Belle. It’s as delicious as it is pink. My hope with this event is for women to come out and celebrate other women and learn about the importance of regular examinations. Obviously, it’s also a great opportunity for people to become Tullamore D.E.W fans but my main focus is on raising as much money possible for the charity.
Tell us about Sinead Lawlor.
I’ve been so lucky to meet Sinéad. She’s actually from the same town as me at home but we first met in New York two years ago. Since then, she has been a great friend. Sinéad earner her degree in Fashion Design from the Limerick School or Art and Design. She then received her MFA from Parsons in New York. Her resumé speaks for itself. She has been involved in so many great projects such as working for Marks & Spencer in Turkey, DVF in New York and now she is the head designer for Öhlin/D. She has been featured in Vogue and shown in New York Fashion Week too. Her talent knows no bounds.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what the bottles are going to look like or is that top secret?
Oh that’s top secret. I have to keep some suspense. All will be revealed at the event on Sunday.
Tullamore Dew’s latest campaign is centered around this “Glasses Up” theme; what do you raise your glass up for?
It can be anything. From Ireland doing well in football to Beyoncé’s amazing-ness but mostly, I raise a glass to my friends and family, both here and back home in Ireland.
One thing I love about Irish whiskey, or the Irish heritage in general is the beautiful tradition that it holds. What’s your favorite thing about Irish whiskey compared to say American or Canadian whiskey? What’s your favorite Irish tradition?
My favourite thing about Irish whiskey is how it’s more than just a drink for us. It’s a culture. People are so passionate about their whiskey of choice for all sorts of reasons - family preference, religion, location, etc. Choosing a whiskey is quite like choosing a sports team. Once you commit, that’s it. My favourite Irish tradition is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Mainly because it’s my birthday so presents are always great, but I also love how everyone is always in such a good mood. Our tradition in Lucan is to get to the village early, get a seat in the local bar and kick off the day’s festivities.
We at The Whiskey Women are obviously pretty passionate about ladies drinking whiskey. Why do you think more women should experiment with the spirit?
I think more women should drink whiskey in order to break down the stereotype that whiskey is a man’s drink. Women have been involved in whiskey since it’s inception so it’s such a shame to see that it holds a masculine tone.
What’s your favorite thing about being a Whiskey Woman?
My favourite thing about being a whiskey woman is that there’s almost a sisterhood among other female whiskey drinks. It’s like being in an elite club. We’re always impressed by other woman that are strong enough to order it at the bar.
Anything else you would like us to know?
I could rant on about Tullamore D.E.W and women in whiskey until I’m blue in the face but the main thing I want to get across is the importance of breast cancer awareness. I for one am sick of losing people to this disease so please, please donate to the Susan G Komen foundation. They’re fighting for the lives of the ones we love. Let’s unite and help them kick cancer’s ass!
How can we follow all of the amazing things that you are up to?
You can follow me on twitter - @TullamoreEims and on Instagram - @eimearkelleher.
Of course the Irish are known for their toasts and chants. We at The Whiskey Women typically end all of our post with a toast. Will you share your favorite Irish toast with us?
I’d be happy to. There’s so many that I love but one of my favourites is this…
“May the roof above us never fall in and the friends below never fall out. Glasses up”.