Month: June 2018

WOTW – Teeling small batch

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.

WOTW – Tipperary The Rising

Tipperary Boutique Distillery is yet another new whiskey distillery to open in Ireland. The future of Irish whiskey is truly exciting!

From the info I’ve managed to find so far, Tipperary distillery plans to open next year.Their brand is already alive and kicking though, they have released a few whiskeys, and I came across this one last August in an off-licence shop. I had never heard about the brand or plans of a distillery in Tipperary, and was very curious about this whiskey. Since they are not distilling yet, it’s a sourced whiskey they have selected that reflects the particular style of whiskey they want to produce once the distillery is up and running. It’s a single malt, 11 years old, double distilled, matured in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 47% ABV. It was released in the spring of 2016, and the name celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin.

It’s a nice, sweet and fruity whiskey that I’ll happily drink again. It should also be a nice option for summer cocktails. In the past I’ve despised whiskey cocktails but now I’m becoming more and more interested in them. This whiskey probably has a good character for blending but it’s also good to drink neat.

Banana and something else tropical. A hint of vanilla and possibly cinnamon. Cereals. After a drop of added water there is some grapefruit.

Tropical fruits, sweetness with a small bit of honey. Something minty, maybe rosemary? It has a nice finish with something spicy to it. Some oak and it gives a dry feel on the tongue.

WOTW – West Cork cask strength

This week we’re going for one of my very favourite whiskeys. If you’ve seen me on Instagram you’ll know this by now – I love the West Cork cask strength whiskey. I love cask strength whiskeys generally because of the nice oily texture they usually (not always) have, and because of the concentration of flavours. I like flavour bombs, and if the ABV is too high, there is always water in the tap to add if it’s too strong.

West Cork distillers is a very interesting distillery in Skibbereen, West Cork. They do a lot of interesting things there, and are very nice people who quickly respond to questions if you get in touch. This is something I really appreciate, as well as their whiskey.

I came across their cask strength whiskey when we visited West Cork distillers in August last year. I asked about their core range, and I was delighted to hear that they had added a cask strength whiskey to it. We bought a bottle while we were in Ireland, and since I was unsure about whether or not it would stay in their standard range (at the time it was listed as part of the limited edition cask series), I later ordered two more online.

This beautiful whiskey is a blend of 66% grain whiskey and 33% malt whiskey. West Cork uses pot stills for all their whiskey, also their grain whiskey. I’m curious to find out eventually how much difference it makes – I’ve tasted lovely column distilled grain whiskeys, but it is well known that pot stills give more flavour to the whiskey. This is a topic for more research and an own blog post.

West Cork Cask Strength is matured in first fill bourbon casks and then finished for 6 months in exhausted Irish whiskey casks. It’s bottled at the impressive 62% ABV.

Very floral aromas and some light wood. Clementine, vanilla and almond.

Lovely oily texture!! Some oak character, sweetness, citrus, a hint of dark chocolate, and a nice spicy finish. Obviously this whiskey goes well with some water, that adds sweetness and honey flavours, as well as more malty flavours and soft vanilla. 
It’s strong, but it’s lovely. The oiliness is simply fabulous, and you can add some water and it will still be nice, oily, sweet, smooth, and with lots of flavour.

Because of its high ABV, I tasted this whiskey in the Neat glass which was a very nice experience. I’m also going to taste it in the Túath glass eventually – I will definitely write about it and compare these glasses with an ordinary Glencairn glass. It’s interesting what difference a glass shape makes to a whiskey!

WOTW – Powers 15-year-old single cask

We’re back at Midleton distillery, and Powers single pot still whiskey. When we were in Ireland in March, we went to the well renowned Shelbourne bar in Cork city. Nice surprise, they have hundreds of whiskeys, and all of them are Irish if I’m not mistaken.

We met a nice guy named Mark, and he was that perfect bar person for a whiskey enthusiast like myself. I checked the menu, picked one that sounded interesting, and then he would come with another one, similar to what I had picked, but a step or more up in quality. That was how I came across this Powers single cask.

What he had was the 16-year-old Powers that was released exclusively for the Celtic whiskey shop – a lovely single pot still with characters of oak, dry vanilla, chocolate, toffee and a bit of liquorice to name a few. Sadly this bottle is long gone.

But to my great delight, we received the good news that there were still a few bottles of something similar, a 15-year-old single cask Powers at the Supervalu nearby. Of course we went there. ething similar, a 15-year-old single cask Powers at the Supervalu nearby. Of course we went there.

I don’t have any facts about this whiskey, other that it is a Powers single pot still, most likely a Supervalu release, and matured for 15 years – so a step up from the fabulous John’s Lane release. It’s bottled at 46% ABV and is a really nice one – 15-year-olds are usually nice whiskeys in my opinion.

Oak, apple, raisins, something sweet that reminds of the Italian orange liqueur Aurum. Toffee.

It’s soft and smooth. Soft vanilla fudge, with spiciness and oak further back on the palate. Very nice finish with dark chocolate flavours. The aromas become sweeter with a drop of water but overall there is no point with adding any to this whiskey – it only loses some complexity.

Sadly these single casks releases are very limited, 200-something bottles, and very difficult to get your hands on, and the price goes up of course. But there sure is reason to wait for the next release.