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.

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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

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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

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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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Teeling Single Malt 46% (Bottled 10/2014)

Our May 2015 tasting session included three distinctly different whiskies from Scotland (Deanston), USA (Hudson) and this one from Ireland. As usual, we sampled it blind to reduce any influence of a particular brand or previous experience.
Teeling (Whisky Lady)

Teeling (Whisky Lady)

Teeling 46% Bottled 10/2014
  • Colour – Deep amber
  • Nose – Oh happiness and joy! Deep, strong character, while the first whiff has tar and leather, it soon mellows into a delicious spicy honey, a tart hint of lime, warm vanilla… after the first sip, strong cinnamon, plums, yum!!
  • Taste – Robust with a chewy depth, initially summer strawberries which later deepened into plums, envelops you with a delectable cocoa warmth, sooooo smooth and well balanced
  • Finish – Nice chewy finish that lingers
  • Water – Doesn’t overly dilute the character, however doesn’t reveal anything new either… can be added if you want to extend your sipping slightly…
  • Overall experience – An imminently SOCIABLE whisky.

It was uncanny how after just a few sips, the chatter rose, sparked animated banter with amusing faffery. As a practice, we never re-pour during our initial tasting, however at first one, then another and another reached for the bottle to have just a wee bit more…

In a way, it was hard to pinpoint down precisely why it is such a likeable whisky. It isn’t sweet, isn’t spicey or smoky. It’s simply a most enjoyable dram with a decided “feel good factor.” It also re-inforced our overall positive take on Irish whiskies.
After airing – still yum however wouldn’t pair with food. Instead, this is a whisky to kick back and enjoy with a bunch of mates. Don’t expect wonders but do expect to have a rollicking good time! One I would consider adding to my cabinet if the opportunity arises…
Teeling (Whisky Lady)

Teeling (Whisky Lady)

More about the whisky:
  • Teeling’s single malt contains whiskies aged for up to 23 years
  • Matured in a range of wine casks: sherry, port, Madeira, white Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Small batch production

May whiskies snapshot:

What others are saying:

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