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
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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