It’s about time that I write about Teeling on this blog, isn’t it? I haven’t so far because – don’t hate me now – I haven’t been overly impressed by their whiskey. But I’ve changed my mind recently.
Whiskey making runs in the Teeling family, starting in 1782 when Walter Teeling established a small distillery in the Liberties, Dublin. His descendent John Teeling opened the Cooley distillery in 1989, and in 2012, the Teeling brothers Jack and Stephen moved on from Cooley and launched Teeling whiskey company. The new distillery opened in 2015, and this year we’re awaiting the first whiskey produced in their own distillery – Teeling whiskey making is back in the Liberties.
I came across Teeling for the first time in late 2016. I had never heard of them, but their small batch blend was in the standard stock at our Swedish Systembolaget all of a sudden. I bought a bottle, and really liked it. Since I came to know about Teeling, they have impressed me greatly with their marketing skills, because since 2016 the name Teeling whiskey has been EVERYWHERE. As I stated in the beginning of this post, for a while I wasn’t too excited about Teeling whiskey. I wanted whiskey at cask strength, amazing flavour bombs, lots of complexity, and I didn’t think the Teeling whiskey I had tasted at the time fell into that category. When I now take a sip of the small batch blend I don’t understand what my tongue was doing earlier – it’s a fabulous whiskey.
My taste has evolved quite a lot since I started exploring the world of Irish whiskey, I now appreciate also the more simple whiskeys, as well as the very complex, older, or stronger whiskeys. They are just different whiskeys that can’t be compared. I’ve also found that there are many Scottish whiskies that I’m not interested in anymore because they lack the sweetness that Irish whiskeys have.
I’ve now had the opportunity to discover more from Teeling, some of their older and more complex whiskeys. The oldest I’ve tasted was the 15-year-old though, so I still have some Teeling tasting to do!
My visit at Shelbourne bar in Cork in March this year was the starting point for my renewed interest in Teeling whiskey. If I remember correctly, I told Mark about my opinions about Teeling and asked him to give me something that would prove me wrong. And he sure did.
This 12-year-old single malt finished in Merlot cask was a real beauty, and definitely one in the flavour bomb category. Later at the beer & whisk(e)y fair in Göteborg, I tasted their very nice 15-year-old from the Revival series. I’ve also fallen in love with the Teeling single grain whiskey, that is a more simple whiskey but still gorgeous. The small batch blend has been ignored on my shelf for a while, but when I had a dram of it last night, my palate sang with joy.
Recently I bought a sample of another single cask bottling distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2016 – a sherry cask matured whiskey that also was a beauty.
So as my taste in whiskey has evolved, I’ve changed my mind about Teeling whiskey. I’m excited to get the opportunity to taste more from them, as well as the ones I didn’t like in the past to see if I’ve changed my mind about them. And of course I’m enormously excited over their first Dublin distilled whiskey that will – to my great delight – be a single pot still.
So what about the Teeling small batch? It’s a nice blend that has been finished for 6 months in rum casks, and bottled at 46% ABV. It has won several awards, the best blended Irish whiskey €60 and under, Irish whiskey of the year, and many more (see them listed here).
Something spicy, cereals, grass or hay, citrus or possibly pineapple.
Beautiful soft vanilla, a hint of honey, perhaps a small bit of tropical fruits. Spicy finish with some dark chocolate. With two drops of water the aromas are more intense and there’s more wood and something medicinal to the nose. It becomes sweeter and softer to the palate and possibly has a longer finish, but the flavours are more interesting without adding water. In case you wonder, when I do my tastings, I first taste the whiskey neat and then I always add water, but only 1-2 drops. Even whiskeys at 40% can change character with a drop of water, and curious minds want to know. As a conclusion, the Teelings know what they are doing, and this small batch blend is a very nice tasty whiskey that you can get at a very nice price.
This is the last Whiskey of the week or review for a while – I’m very busy right now but I have lots of ideas for other types of articles, and hope to be able to make time to write them. Occasional reviews will show up if/when I come across something fabulous.