Teeling Brabazon Bottling 49.5% – Sherry Twist?

For those who make it to Ireland and start to explore beyond the big daddy Midleton, known best for its Jameson brand, there are a plethora of options… yet still only a small yet growing number of distillers.

Teeling is one of them and relatively recently launched a new “Brabazon Bottling” series – to explore maturation experiments with fortified wine – kicking off with this Sherry avatar and then launching a Port version for the 2nd series. Our host had tried both and knew to reverse the tasting order so we had the 2nd first and the 1st second. But what matters more than series and tasting order is what we thought!

Teeling Brabazon Sherry 49.5% (Series 1, 02/2018)

  • Nose – Heavier than the Port, dark plums, fruity, sharp cheddar, direct, liquorice, black olives or capers… and after the 1st sip, it was an explosion of Christmas qualities, dried fruits, cinnamon, cloves, ginger…. then settling into a caramel with a hint of salt and toast
  • Palate – Usual… like a sweet apple and ginger chutney, kiwis, cloves, chocolate… while wasn’t massively complex, it had a strong character, quite tasty with a light Christmas pudding
  • Finish – Beautiful! The finish was really long… really really long… with a curl of liquorice

Early reactions to this one after the 1st sip was “I like it! I really like it!” With comments about how it simply envelops into a nice warm hug… In many ways it was the yin to the yang of the Port with a slower start on the nose, blooming fully on the palate, and slowly tapering into a lingering finish.

Which sparked a lively comparison between the two non-chill filtered Brabazon Bottling boys… Which was preferred? Why?

Some were decidedly against this one. Finding it a bit challenging and lacking in a certain something required to make an appealing tipple. Others had the opposite reaction, really enjoying it.

I’ll admit I was in the 2nd camp and found it an interesting twist on the sociable quality I’ve come to expect from Teeling

And what do the folks at Teeling have to say?

The Brabazon Bottling Series is a limited edition collection of unique Irish Single Malts capturing the full impact and flavour crafted through fortified wine cask maturation.

Series No. 1 focuses on sherry cask maturation and consists of a range of carefully selected sherry cask aged whiskeys producing a full flavoured sherry influenced Irish Single Malt. This bottling consists of a vatting of 6 different sherry casks, carefully chosen for their complementary character. The Brabazon Bottling Series 1 is bottled at 49.5% ABV with no chill filtration allowing for all the natural flavours of this whiskey to be retained. Limited to just 12,500 bottles, this is a whiskey to savour.

Teeling’s Tasting Notes:

  • Nose – Earthy dried fruit and roasted hazelnut, with marmalade, peach, plum and burnt toffee.
  • Taste – A rich sherry sweetness, red berries, nuttiness and toffee, with a hint of of liquorice and clove.
  • Finish – Lingering mixed spice, trail-mix, crisped marshmallow, dry tannins and spice with toasted wood.

What else was picked up Whisky Ladies Irish Trio:

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Teeling Brabazon Port 49.5% – Hot Toddy Time?

After the delightful Glendalough, we were primed and ready for more Irish explorations!

Our Whisky Lady host brought back an interesting duo – a new Brabazon Bottling series from Teeling that explores Sherry in the 1st and this Port in the 2nd. Each series has different bottlings – with month and year on the label.

We started with the Port, bottled in September 2018… What did we think?

Teeling Brabazon Port 49.5% (Series 2, 09/2018)

  • Nose – Cinnamon, wet leaves, wood, musty, camel leather, over ripe apples… then shifted into sweet dry spices of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg… and from apples to citrus orange and apricots… with a lively kick
    • After the 1st sip, became quite sweet – biscuits, a nice custard, lemon chiffon cake. It simply needed time to open into a delicious desert
  • Palate – Hmm… began with quite a bit of oak, tannins, spiced cherries, orange marmalade with bitter orange peel, smooth, shifting between a sour amla and marmalade
    • After some time, we returned and I found it quite bitter, it had a slightly queer or weird character… interesting when it veered more towards a tart marmalade, challenging when it became more like a bitter gourd like karela
  • Finish – Bitter warm spice, like absinthe soaked burnt sugar, a bit sharp…

This one sparked quite a bit of debate. We thought it had an interesting nose that became quite lovely. However the palate was quite mixed.

One lady quipped it was the kind of whiskey that was like a train with a great start but somewhere in the middle “Bro! I need to get to the next station!

And what did we mean by this? Both the nose and finish received a thumbs up. However the taste simply wasn’t for everyone’s palate. Yet for others, this was a clear preference.

For me? I couldn’t help but think of a hot toddy… Something about the finish in particular made me speculate if it might make a rather superb one!

And what do the folks at Teeling have to say?

Jack Teeling, Founder and Managing Director of Teeling Whiskey, commented “Our new Irish Single Malt brings together two famous Dublin family names – the Teelings and the Brabazons. By making reference to the historical Brabazon name, we are telling the story of why our family first came to the Liberties area of Dublin. But more importantly we are telling the story of why we are here now. Our aim with the whiskey was to create a full bodied tasting experience for people who enjoy the added complexity and taste sherry casks impart, and at the same time continuing our goal to expand the spectrum of flavours available from premium Irish whiskeys.”

And specifically anything about their 2nd series featuring port?

Not on the Teeling website that I could find, however the Celtic Whisky Shop folks have these tasting notes:

Taste Smooth and mouth-filling. The fruit characters are fresh and lively with a delicious strawberry shortcake front end backed up by malted grains, vanilla and dried fruits. The finish is drier and oakier with some furry tannins and exotic spices creeping through.
Nose Soft and aromatic with touches of freshly baked fruit loaf, apricots, strawberry jam, dates, fresh figs, honey and malted milk biscuits.
Colour Bright gold with a very slightly pink hue.

We continued on to the Brabazon Bottling with Sherry… and contrasted and compared the duo. Some preferred the Port, others the Sherry. I’d be curious to hear from others familiar with both which they prefer and why?

What else was picked up Whisky Ladies Irish Trio:

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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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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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