A trip to Teeling!

In November 2016 I was travelling and missed our original tasting group’s session. However our host stepped up to the role to ‘chronicle’ the sampling experience.

She went well beyond merely jotting down tasting notes… she visited the distillery and documented observations from there too! What follows is a blend of both for your reading pleasure…

“The Irish invented the stuff. The Scotts perfected it.”

Whiskey was first recorded in Ireland in 1405 then 1495 in Scotland. Old Bushmills Distillery claims to be the oldest (started in 1784) and Irish whiskey is most popular in the USA. Prohibition, independence war and trade disputes with Britain all impacted the Irish whiskey industry.

In 1966, there were only a handful of Irish distilleries. By the 1970s, only two – Bushmills and New Middleton. Yet now, in the last 20 years, Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing spirit in the world. There are currently 12 distilleries with more being set-up yet to release their whiskies.

Teeling was the 1st new distillery built in Ireland in the last 125 years. Its character comes from their approach:

  • Triple distilled in old copper pots making it a lighter, smoother spirit
  • The pot stills used are short, fat, large stills with a round base (thrice the size of normal copper post stills), again helping contribute to the softer character
  • No peat is used – instead wood or other fuels are used to dry the grains
  • They use both raw and malted barley and do mix other grains with it too

2016-11-13-teeling

And now to the tasting notes:

Teeling Single Grain 46%

  • Nose – Vanilla, orange, sweet
  • Taste – Sweet like SWEET (more sugary sweet), smooth, had body / oil / viscous-y, light body
  • Finish – Some thought no finish, another found it bitter

Speculation on the strength ranged from 40% to at most 43% to a lone voice suggesting 45%.

Overall conclusion was this is not a sipping drinking, but a drinking whisky. While it lacks complexity and body, if someone served “I would enjoy it!”

This whisky is matured in California red wine barrels and known for its spice, red berries, grapes, with a dry, woody, spicy finish.

Teeling Single Malt 46%

  • Nose – Light – like a fast car that doesn’t even attempt to promise body, citrusy, mild dry fruits, honey water and figs in water
  • Taste – Spice, sweet but not as sugary sweet as the 1st one – instead more dates and raisins, fruit chocolate sweet, one found the lemony quality on the nose extended to the taste too. Fills the mouth a bit
  • Finish – No comments

One shared he certainly preferred this to the 1st whisky as had more character.

The Single Malt is from 100% malted barley of different ages, typically a batting of five different wine casks – sherry, port, madeira, white burgundy, cabernet – hence the raisin, fig, toffee and dry fruit notes.

Teeling Small Batch 46%

  • Nose – Jackfruit, curdled milk (yes – that’s spoilt milk folks!)
  • Taste – Very nice, a ‘happy taste’, lots of spice notes, lemony, more body than the 2nd Teeling
  • Finish – A spice finish, and considered much “nicer” on the finish

Overall the conclusion was that none of the three sampled so far were complex.

What makes this whisky distinctive is it has further maturation in ex-rum barrels adding a vanilla spice to the whisky.

Teeling Cask Strength (02/2002 – 12/2015) Madeira Cask No 933 55.2%

  • Nose – Lemony, dry
  • Taste – Finally a complex, balanced whisky! Dry, then became buttery, spicy and back to dry, oily in the beginning then dry as simply evaporates! One found a little jasmine on the tongue.
  • Finish – Pepper spice

In reading her notes, I felt like I was there at the session… even more so it transported me back to my Whisky Live Singapore tasting with Teeling’s Single Grain, Small Batch and Single Malt.

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Whisky Live Singapore – Teeling Trio Tasting

My Whisky Live Singapore tasting experience kicked off with a decided Irish air with a trio of whiskies from Dublin’s new Teeling distillery established near Walter Teeling’s old distillery from 1782.

2016-11-13-teeling

Tasting notes are sparse as my approach was to sniff, sip and spit… then move on to the next dram. A sacrilege to many, but worked for me. Hence most of my scribbles are more impressions than proper tasting notes, providing more of a teaser of what is in store than proper evaluation.

2016-11-12-teeling-single-grain

Teeling Single Grain Wine Casks (08/2015) 46%

  • A sweet light fruity breakfast dram with a nice viscous mouthfeel, though soft has substance with a dry finish
  • The Teeling gent shared that the wine cask in question was a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon

2016-11-12-teeling-small-batch

Teeling Small Batch Rum Casks (11/2015) 46%

  • Another sweet easy going dram, vanilla spice on the nose, a bit sweet spice sour on the palate, with a finish that is there and gone
  • Matured in ex-Nicaraguan Rum barrels

2016-11-12-teeling-single-malt

Teeling Single Malt (09/2015) 46%

  • Lots of dry fruits, toffee, citrus, sweet spices, dry finish
  • A vatting of 5 wine casks – Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon

2016-11-12-teeling-trio

A light, sprightly start to tasting adventures…

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Whisky Archives – Oban 14 year, Deanston 12 year, The Six Isles and Yellow Spot

Another from the archives… from June 2013 and my 1st whisky post on EverydayAsia. Hope you enjoy!

Tasting Notes from 20 June 2013

Following our standard format, we blind tasted before revealing the whisky. This month featured: Oban 14 year, Deanston 12 year, The Six Isles and Yellow Spot.

“Oh us fortunate few! What an evening it was!”

Oban 14 year – Golden amber colour. A light fruity sweet nose. Unexpectedly oily, chewy body with a spicy bite yet smooth. Short finish. Felt familiar, nice yet not exceptional.

Oban 14 year (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Deanston 12 year – A little ‘extra’ brought out by our host for those who missed trying it in an earlier meeting. Nuanced nose with over ripe fruit, sweet and spicy on the palate, lovely finish with a hint of spice that slowly dissipated. Delightful!

Deanston (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

The Six Isles – A vatted malt with single malts from the Scottish Islands: Islay, Jura, Mull, Arran, Skye and Orkney, this one kept us guessing! Quite peaty on the nose with hints of spice and other elements. Burnt ash, rich, oily on the palate yet with only a drop or two of water transformed into an exquisite smooth sweet whisky that would even pair well with desert. A lovely mellow finish. What a wonderful surprise!

The Six Isles (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Yellow Spot 12 year – From Ireland, a single pot still Irish whisky produced for Mitchell & Son of Dublin, matured in bourbon, sherry and Malaga casks. The nose was fresh and sweet with hints of a complexity to come. On the palate, initially a blend of sea salt and honey, it rounded out with chocolate to fruit, supported by a woody robustness. The finish was particularly superb! Complex, with a gorgeous flavour that lingered…

It has garnered some very well deserved praise from Jim Murray (and us)! An exceptional whisky that hit all our favourite counts for a wonderful malt.

Yellow Spot (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Any different opinions? Any recommendations along the lines of Yellow Spot?

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Perplexing peat? Connemara NAS 40%

1st up in our original Mumbai whisky tasting group‘s October session was a no age statement dram from Ireland. Unlike most Irish whiskies, Connemara uses peat, hence it was an interesting choice to start the evening with.

We sampled it blind, the bottle freshly opened, and didn’t know what to expect!

connemara

Connemara NAS 40%

  • Colour – Bright pale yellow
  • Nose – Initially quite pungent, harsh, wood varnish, sour curd, then as it aired took on some vanilla, spice, hint of citrus while still retaining a sharp quality and dash of sawdust, settling down further it became increasingly sweet
  • Palate – Salt caramel, peat or coal (for some), wood, unidirectional, very oily. As our palates became better acquainted with it, there was an almost dry waxy quality
  • Finish – There was a finish, however surprisingly subtle. It retained some of the oils, with a sweet pine after taste

Overall we found it relatively thin, so assumed it must be 40%, no more. While it lacked depth, there was an oily quality which gave it some character.

Now here is the thing… there was a bit of a debate on the peat element. One of our members simply did not get a trace of peat whereas others found hints, but not a clear stamp.

During the reveal there was surprise. Those familiar with this whisky recalled a much more direct “in your face” type peat, not this gentle tease. Leading to speculation that perhaps Connemara has been tinkering with the recipe? Or something else what at work?

After sampling all three whiskies for the evening, we returned to the Connemara to see if we could solve the perplexing peat question.

This time, when another glass was poured, instant recognition of peat.

Now… was it in contrast with the Glenlivet? Did we not all have our peat detectors fully switched on with the initial go? Or did it need time to fully reveal its peaty character?

While it still did not have a strong peat quality, there was no doubt it did indeed have some peat.

For a previous review on Connemara, check out what fellow Whisky Lady Lina Sonne has to say:

What all did we try in our October session?

  • Peat – Connemara NAS 40% (this post)
  • Sweet – Glengoyne 18 year 43%
  • Light – Glenlivet Master Distillers Reserve NAS 40%*

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Mixing things up – Connemara, Glengoyne, Glenlivet

After more than five years, our original Mumbai whisky tasting group has become known for pushing the boundaries with a focus on discovering new and different whiskies.

We’ve had home-made experiments with aging, phenomenal food pairings, independent bottlers, country specific themes, unique blends and more!

Which meant it was high time to revisit slightly different avatars of well known whiskies, completely blind to avoid the influence of advertising and pre-conceived notions.

glenlivet-connemara-glengoyne

What did we try?

No strangers to these brands, we’ve even previously had a session focused on Glenlivet, a couple of Glengoynes over the years and most have separately sampled Connemara.

What made it interesting is the order…

Traditionally, we would start with the lightest (Glenlivet) then sherry (Glengoyne) and close with a peated whisky (Connemara).

Here we did the exact opposite – peat, sherry, light! With some interesting results.

*Tasting notes coming soon

Related tasting sessions:

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Irish Night – The Wild Geese, Knappogue Castle, Teeling

I’ve shared the genesis of this blog was a whisky tasting group started with friends in Mumbai in 2011…

We are rather particular about adherence to our pre-set dates and have been known to plan a year in advance who hosts which session. The evenings are blocked and the commitment sacrosanct…. except… when unavoidable things get in the way.

Like a change in dates for my Canada / UK trip which meant I missed the June session. Oops!

Teasingly photos were shared and exclamations about what a fabulous night it was…

(Photo: Ashok Gulati)

(Photo: Ashok Gulati)

The group sampled:

  • The Wild Geese Rare 43%
  • Knappogue Castle 14 year 46%
  • Teeling Small Batch 46%

Alas no tasting notes were made though apparently much enjoyment was had!

And when I pretty please requested to pop over for a wee side sample… was gently informed all three bottles were polished off. Double oops!

Guess I truly missed the treat this time however have no doubt it was a merry night of most sociable Irish malts!

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Irish Night – Connemara NAS 40%

Just to ensure we didn’t miss Ireland’s peated offering, the lads n lasses evening included Connemara!

(Six Mumbai 2015)

(Six Mumbai 2015)

Lina Sonne is our last Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer for our Irish Night… 

An escapee academic, Lina heads the Mumbai office of Okapi and its consulting portfolio on innovation and entrepreneurship. Her work focusses on enabling inclusive innovation, social entrepreneurship and start-ups across South Asia and she has traveled widely across the region.

Lina has developed a bit of a reputation for preferring whiskies with a bit more ‘hair on the chest,’ veering towards more robust and peated profiles. On a recent trip back to Sweden, she zeroed in on Mackmyra’s peated Svensk Rök as THE whisky she wished to share with Mumbaikars. 

Here is what Lina has to say about the Connemara….

  • Nose – Definitely seaside, distinct peat and plenty of wood.
  • Palate – Smooth and very light on the palate – a puff of wind on your tongue and it finishes! Where did all that peat go?
  • Finish – Light sweet finish, but with some bitterness and maybe a walnut hiding in there somewhere.
  • Water – Add water and old wood comes out, with a little spice to tickle your tongue.

Overall we found that the Connemara had a great peaty nose promising plenty, but failed to deliver on the palate, with the peat all but disappearing. While still an enjoyable dram, we had hoped for a bit more drama. Instead, it’s quite dry and makes you want to go looking for water.

brandImageConnemara

Kilbaggan website

Here’s what the folks over at Kilbeggan distillery have to say about their Connemara:

Inspired by Ireland’s ancient distilling traditions, Connemara’s smooth sweet malt taste and complex peat flavours makes it a truly unique Irish whiskey.

Connemara is the most decorated Irish whiskey with a huge collection of Gold Medals and has been honoured as the “Worlds Best Irish Single Malt”. Connemara allows you to unearth the Peated Pleasures of Ireland.

Last but not least, more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai:

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Irish Night – Bushmills Steamship 40%

Our Irish lads n lasses evening moved on to Bushmill‘s newer offering to the travel retail market – Steamship!

Susan Dias is our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer… 

(Susan's LInkedIn profile)

(Susan’s LinkedIn profile)

What does a Chartered Accountant with a fierce pride in Indian traditions and keen interest in local spirits do? Naturally start a venture, Native Brews, with a dream of celebrating traditional artisanal Indian spirits in a contemporary context.  

After a year of extensive exploration and research into remote corners of India, Susan returned to Mumbai to begin playing around with the distillation of Mahua, a flowering tree found in central India. While still in the early stages (so be patient!), exciting experiments are already under way!

Having focused more on native Indian spirits, Susan is newer to exploring the world of whiskies… however this lass is fast catching up! 

Here is what Susan has to say about the Bushmills Steamship….

Bushmills Steamship – Sherry Cask Reserve is part of Bushmill’s first ever travel retail exclusive, ‘The Steamship Collection’. The collection is inspired by the historical SS Bushmills steamship and celebrates its maiden voyage in the 1890s. Story goes that after being commissioned by then owner the Boyd Brothers, it sailed to America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, and returning with refilled casks of rum, fortfied wine and Bourbon.

The Steamship Sherry Cask Reserve is a no-age-statement single malt Irish whiskey exclusively matured in Oloroso Sherry casks.

(Bushmills)

(Bushmills)

Susan’s Tasting Notes

  • Color: Medium rich gold
  • Nose: An intriguing almost spicy aroma, burnt sugar sweetness
  • Palette: Sweet, dried fruits, vanilla
  • Finish: Medium finish, sweet
  • Water: Brings out spice. Opens it up and after sitting for a while becomes more enjoyable.

It is quite evidently a young whiskey. The first launch under new owner Jose Cuervo’s expansion plans, it has the characteristics typical of the brand, but lacks the maturity (pun intended) of its older siblings.

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at The Old Bushmills Distillery, said about the Steamship Collection

“For centuries distillers have experimented with different barrels so naturally I was inspired by the adventures of the ship and the opportunities it opened to experiment with various casks from around the world. So, together with Master Blender Helen Mulholland, we created a whiskey with a rich, complex flavour and a smooth finish – a characteristic synonymous with our range of triple distilled whiskeys.”

The experts at the tasting gave the Steamship a thumbs down although quite a happy one. This is because at some point (I don’t know how it came up – I was quite a few drams down by then) it was compared to a gay lad on the Love Boat. I will let you figure that one out yourselves!

PS Poor wee whisky, in the consumption contest, Steamship lagged behind all the other Bushmills…

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Here are more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – Bushmills 21 year 40%

Our Irish lads n lasses evening continued with the Bushmill‘s 21 year!

(www.tripfolk.com)

(www.tripfolk.com)

Shruti Sutwala is our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer… 

With a background in marketing, Shruti took the plunge to transform her passion for travel into a profession. Her company, TripFolk, curates unique travel experiences with like minded travelers, tapping into local bloggers, travel writers, wine and food enthusiasts, art curators and more….. 

Given that Shruti travels extensively (plus has a partner who shares her whisky explorations), she can always be counted on to have a good whisky bottle (or more!) kicking around in her cabinet.

She’s particularly fond of more nuanced whiskies with a wide variety of profiles. Shruti has introduced us to Japanese whiskies like the yin yang Nikka Blended and the subtle Nikka Coffey Grain.

Here is what Shruti has to say about the Bushmills 21 year

(Bushmills official website)

(Bushmills official website)

  • Colour – Dark Amber
  • Nose – Woody & spicy (hints of pepper) with some freshness of citrus fruits like orange
  • Palate – Sweet, sweet, sweet as you sip it! Gets a little nutty and spicy as you let it sit on your palate for some time!
  • Finish – It has a spicy finish which balances the sweet palate overall, however overall it’s not complex as expected
  • Water – You should try this with a few drops of water if you are really looking for some complexity in this 21 year old! It does bring out a few caramely notes..

Overall we found this to be the most “Irish” of the other expressions of Bushmills. A fun easy going whisky to drink which gives you a few nuances to experience, without making it too complicated and serious. One of the gentleman actually said “you almost feel like breaking into an Irish dance along with this whisky!”

Here’s what the folks over at Bushmills have to say about their 21 year:

Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 21 year old is aged for a minimum of 19 years in former Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon-seasoned casks, then transferred into Madeira casks for a further 2 years. The result is a whiskey awarded ‘Best Irish Single Malt 2013’.

It has huge depth that interweaves dried fruit flavors with spicy, aromatic maltiness and subtle nutty raisins notes.

PS The Bushmills 21 year clearly won the consumption contest!! An entire bottle was polished and could see eyes coveting the 2nd bottle waiting in the wings…

Here are more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Irish Night – Bushmills 16 year 40%

Pindadaan-Marathi-Movie-Poster

Next up in our Irish lads n lasses evening was Bushmill‘s 16 year!

Fellow Canadian Paula McGlynn is our 1st guest whisky reviewer…

In addition to her blog & experiments with Pollywood Vlog (now discontinued), Paula is a film maker with her partner (Gulbadan Talkies) and actress, recently making her Marathi film debut.

What matters to our Whisky Ladies in Mumbai, is she’s the kind of lass that will track down a new whisky experiment from Canada, take an hour off from shooting in Goa to zip over to Paul John to collect a coveted bottle of Peated or pop into WhiskyLive when in South Africa… just because… whisky!

Here is what Paula has to say about the Bushmills 16 year….

Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 16 year old is aged for 16 years in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon-seasoned casks, then matured for several months in port wine barrels.

(Photo: www.bushmills.com)

(www.bushmills.com)

Paula’s Tasting Notes

  • Color: Amber
  • Nose: Sweet and subtle nose. Burnt sugar, toffee, citrus, overall restrained.
  • Palette: Cinnamon, caramel, marmalade, orange peel, star anise.
  • Finish: It hangs at the back of the tongue. Fennel and spice.
  • Water: Leather and more spice. Not recommended. It damps it down, but it was noted that after sitting for a while, the water brings out more of the Port notes.

Overall it is reserved and subtle but clean. Retains the distinct sweetness characteristic of Bushmills expressions.

Here is what the folks over at Bushmill have to say about the 16 year:

“The unique maturation process gives this single malt its distinct notes of juicy fruits, nuts and spice, as well as a hint of ruby redness.

It’s best enjoyed neat or over ice.”

It was also awarded Gold at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

PS In the consumption contest, Bushmills 16 year was 2nd!

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