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Tullamore D.E.W.'s New State-of-the-Art Distillery

The first new "from the ground up" distillery in Ireland in over 100 years

by David Graver in Food + Drink on 18 September 2014

Distilleries, Dublin, Irish Whiskey, Tullamore, Tullamore DEW, Whiskey, William Grant & Sons

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Back in 1954, the distillery for Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey shuttered its doors in midland Ireland's town of Tullamore. Production didn't cease, but rather shifted to the famed Midleton Distillery, home of many other Irish whiskies. When the family-run independent distilling organization William Grant & Sons purchased the brand in 2010, they knew it deserved its own home—in its origin city. Some €35 million later, the new state-of-the-art Tullamore D.E.W. pot still and malt distillery opened yesterday on a sprawling 58 acre site, awash with green grass and surrounded by forests of evergreens. And so, production commenced in a new home for one of Ireland's most popular global products.

The facility represents a marriage of the brand's 185-year-old history and an increasing demand for product. While the copper stills are sparkling and new, each is a replica of the original models used to produce the spirit. In fact, all technological advances incorporated into the new location are designed to preserve the taste the brand has become known for, as the latest computer technology simply oversees balance and consistency (first and foremost) across what will become over 1.84 million liters—equivalent to 1.5 million cases—annually.

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Tullamore D.E.W.'s Master Blender Brian Kinsman—the nose behind the consistency and the imagination behind product development—offered plenty of insight into the value of a new distillery, from the ability to master consistency to the opportunity to explore the next great flavor profile for their roster. Balance is what's most important to Kinsman, "We've built this facility to make the spirit quality we need in order to produce the best Tullamore D.E.W., but over the next few months we are going to have to spend a lot of time on each stage making sure everything is just right. By December, we can say 'This is how we will run the distillery.'"

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Longevity, he tells CH, is the end game. "All the new distillate, some of it will be kept for 10, 12, 20 or 30 years. So we need to be doing the right thing today. It's quality control, but with an eye for what we'll need to use it for: interesting things that we think someday someone will want to buy." He further notes that there was a great impetus for having their own distillery for true exploration in flavor—outside the limitations of producing in someone else's location.

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Sometimes the chemical analysis says it's a pass, but sense tells us it's a fail. Sometimes sense tells us it's a fail but the chemical analysis says it's a pass. Sense always wins.

Despite all advances though, Kinsman makes something very clear: "We do a lot of analysis on the whiskey before bottling. Sometimes the chemical analysis says it's a pass, but sense tells us it's a fail. Sometimes sense tells us it's a fail but the chemical analysis says it's a pass. Sense always wins," he shares. As for their offerings, Tullamore D.E.W.'s core expressions are the only in Ireland to be triple distilled, triple blends. The latter means that most of their core expressions are combinations of three types of whiskey: a very fruity malt whiskey, a sweet and oaky grain whiskey, and the spice of pot still whiskey. (Each of which has been aged for at least four years in either an American oak bourbon cask or a Spanish Sherry cask.) He explains the process behind blending as "thinking of each flavor as a spike, when you want to build a ball. You place them opposite one another and then you fill in the gaps and build on that."

Tullamore D.E.W. produces six expressions: four core offerings, one available only in their Bonded Warehouse visitors' center and one limited release accompanying the distillery launch. Of their four widely available offerings, bothTullamore D.E.W. Original and Tullamore D.E.W. 12-Year-Old Special Reserve most closely embody the true spirit of traditional Irish blended whiskey—spicy with citrus notes, complex yet smooth. Last year's warm, rich release Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix, one of our eight favorite fall expressions of 2013, clocks in at a much higher proof, but doesn't sacrifice any of the complexity. The fourth, the Tullamore D.E.W. 10-Year-Old Single Malt, foregoes the other two base spirits and impresses with a remarkable four cask aging process.

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Irish whiskey is not Scotch. Ireland's offerings are generally lighter, leafier and fruitier, with greater notes of green apple and cream. As worldwide interest in Irish whiskey continues to revitalize, Tullamore D.E.W. has invested in their longterm future with an eye for production, innovation and quality. That's something whiskey drinkers can raise a glass to all around the globe.

Images by David Graver

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Trek Bikes' New Commuter-Focused Model: Lync

Powerful built-in head and taillights for a more convenient and safe ride

by Nara Shin in Design on 18 September 2014

Bike Lights, Bike Safety, Commuter Bikes, Cycling, Urban Cycling, Commuting, Trek, Wisconsin

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For those looking for an excuse, a laundry list of potential struggles certainly exists when commuting by bike: weather, reckless drivers, flat tires, the looming fear that your accessories or bike itself will get stolen. Though Trek Bicycles' new urban commuter-focused model, Lync, aims to tackle many of the aforementioned issues—and make the ride to and from work (or anywhere) as enjoyable, low-maintenance and safe as possible, reminding riders why they love cycling in the first place.

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We recently tested out the feature-filled Lync 5 model (an entry-level version is also available)—which hit bike stores at the end of last month—on the unforgiving streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Lync's most marketable feature is its weather-resistant integrated LED lighting system. The powerful headlight illuminates the road ahead, making it easy to avoid potholes, gravel and the other unfriendly debris, while two taillights embedded in the rear drop outs (where the back wheel connects to the bike) make your presence known. Though clip-on lights have come a long way in recent years, they still need to be removed after each ride. Built-in lights, on the other hand, eliminate the opportunity for thieves with zero added effort by the rider.

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The wires are hidden inside the frame, for a seamless look. Underneath the top tube are two buttons: headlight can be set to low or high mode, while the two tail lights (three lumens each) can be set to on, off or flash. The 550 lumen front light—whose angle is adjustable with a common bike tool—creates a pool of light brighter than the average 200-300 lumens found in popular consumer bike lights, but isn't overkill (at above 700 lumens, you'd blind oncoming traffic).

In lieu of a self-recharging dynamo hub, a removable and rechargeable (via micro-USB) lithium ion battery pack is docked on the lower end of the down tube, near the bottom bracket. On its brightest mode, the battery will last for at least two hours. While some might argue that this isn't theft-proof, a Trek Lync-specific battery is probably not as attractive (or recognizable) to thieves as universal bike lights.

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"Our mantra is 'We ride the ride our riders ride.' That usually starts with interviews with people riding a bike for a specific motivation: fitness, utility or commuting. While the concept of Lync was born from observation around 'the ride'—in this case, commuting," Darren Snyder, Product Manager for Trek city bikes, tells CH. "The problem we solved is an age-old one. Through our observation, it was very easy to understand where we could improve this [lighting] experience. The research phase of this project went quickly while the design, prototype and refinement were arguably the longest parts of the process. In its entirety, Lync is the culmination of more than two years of R&D and engineering. 'The ride' in the end is the decision-maker. We don’t settle until it is defined by 'the ride.'"

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It's comforting to know that Trek designs and develops each and every bike at their US headquarters or Netherlands design facility—and manufactures more bikes in the US than any other company. In fact, the Wisconsin company manufactured roughly half of the total 56,000 bikes made in the US last year; though this is still only about 1% of their entire production.

As a bonus, the Lync is compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. Though it's somewhat heftier than the sleek single-speeds you'll likely see ripping by in the bike lane, it makes up for it in stability. Plus, the Lync is still light enough to carry up and down a flight of stairs without a sweat. Ultimately, the Lync made us look forward to hitting the road at night, and solidified our bike as a go-to source of transportation. Night rides—evidently—really let riders experience a city from an entirely new perspective.

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The Lync comes in to two models: the Lync 3 ($990) or Lync 5 ($1320). The latter upgrades from mechanical disc brakes to hydraulic, from 1x9 to a 3x9 speed drivetrain and has a custom rack with a U-lock mount. And with multiple frame sizes available, the unisex models are designed to fit most any adult. Visit Trek's online store locator to find a nearby independent bike shop to find the nearest Lync.

Images by Nara Shin

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Test Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang

The all-new Pony does the brand proud, inside and out

by Evan Orensten in Design on 18 September 2014

Ford, Road Test, 2015 Mustang, Cars, Design, Mustang, Test Drives, Test Rides

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In late 2013, a first look at the 2015 Ford Mustang with its design team impressed us, and since then we’ve been anxiously waiting to get behind the wheel. Finally, yesterday was the day—and it was everything we had hoped it would be. The all-new Mustang does American muscle proud, as dealers worldwide will see in the coming weeks.

Design is always a give-and-take process, and when briefs like, “It’s time to make the next generation of a 50-year-old favorite” come along, they are both the easiest and most difficult to execute. Kudos to Ford’s design and engineering teams, as they’ve delivered on all counts. This Mustang—available in both fastback and convertible models—offers three engines (each supplying more than 300 hp) and multiple options successfully achieve the “most things to most people” mandate that typically results in a product that makes nobody proud and few customers happy. However, there’s something here for most drivers to desire and enjoy.

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The new Mustang’s exterior won’t surprise anyone; it’s a nicely evolved silhouette much improved by a lower and wider stance. It still looks like a Mustang, though one that better features its historical lines within a much more modern presence. The interior has had a major update and a dramatic improvement in materials, style, fit and finish. Under the skin the car is mostly new as well, from improved engines to a first-ever independent rear suspension. So far, that’s three checks in its favor.

We drove both the new 310hp 2.3l four-cylinder turbo Ecoboost engine with Premium package as well as a manual GT, with its 435hp 5.0l Ti-VCT V8 and Performance package. (The standard V6 wasn’t available and won’t be the car's biggest seller, but it does allow customers to get into a Mustang for around $27,000). All three engines are available in either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission—a rarity in the sports car world these days. The Ecoboost, with its 30mpg rating is clearly positioned as the Mustang's mainstay. The V6 will appeal to carefree drivers, rental fleets and those on a budget, while the GT will likely draw those who crave performance.

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Starting out the day in the manual GT, we found it handled its duties with aplomb, ably steering, accelerating, cornering and braking. The tight gearbox was a pleasure and made shifting through its six gears effortless. It sounds good too—rumbling with pride until it settles in on the highway where it drops its noise level to make the commute a little more pleasant. We threw it around the great roads outside of LA and it seemed to want even more. The Ecoboost was spirited, but not surprisingly equally so, though we overheard other drivers saying the Performance pack helped deliver. It was softer all around and, while adequate, it made us appreciate the GT and the Performance pack all the more.

CH's friend Jason Cammisa, a Senior Editor at Road & Track, wrote in his review of the 2015 Mustang that he always had to qualify his opinions of previous generations with, "It’s not bad '…for a Mustang.'" This new Mustang doesn’t need that qualifier anymore. It delivers, and it’s great fun to drive.

We’ve spec’d out two versions of the new Mustang—an Ecoboost and a GT—in both Guard (a greenish-black color that is new to Ford and the Mustang) though we’re equally fond of the Triple Yellow. Each costs around $37,000 and $44,000 respectively.

Images by Evan Orensten

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