Month: March 2019

Teeling single pot still batch 2

Before saying anything else about Teeling, I want to congratulate them for having the 24-year-old single malt voted the World’s best single malt! I haven’t tasted this particular single malt, but I’ve really enjoyed the other single malts that I’ve tasted from them.

Since I came across my first Redbreast, I’ve always loved single pot still whiskeys. I’m thrilled to see new distilleries produce single pot still whiskey, because it is something unique to Ireland and I think it’s a shame that only one distillery has been producing them for so many years, until Dingle released their first.

If you want an update about what a single pot still whiskey is and some of the history around it, you can read my post about the Dingle single pot still.

I was of course very enthusiastic about the fact that Teeling’s first Dublin produced release was a single pot still. As everyone else has also stated, it was such a victory to see pot still whiskey production back in Dublin. I tasted the batch 1 when I visited the distillery in November last year.

I found the batch 1 quite poitìn-ey, which isn’t a great surprise for a 3-year-old whiskey, but I wondered why this one still had so much poitìn character that other 3-year-old whiskeys don’t.

However, I have been looking forward to seeing what more time in the cask would do to it, and when I read another blogger’s review of batch 2, it sounded like something I wanted to taste. From what I can find online, batch 2 has spent four months more in the cask than batch 1. Interesting that only four months can make such a difference!

The Teeling single pot still is triple distilled, bottled at 46% ABV, and made with 50% malted barley, and 50% unmalted spring barley. It’s matured in ex-bourbon, ex-wine, and in virgin oak casks. It’s an interesting combo, and I like it! I’m quite fond of virgin oak that, when used correctly, gives a nice woody character to the whiskey. Some people don’t like it at all, but I love it.

Orange peel or perhaps grapefruit. The citrus aroma is quite intense. There’s also something minty, and darker fruits as well as a spicy sweetness and something woody.

It has a nice soft mouthfeel. It has spice and sweetness, like from some dark sugar. I get white pepper with a long spicy finish.

When I add a drop of water, the aromas intensify and get more.. homogenous? On the palate it seems sweeter and with more body. It has a nice long finish as before. I really like this whiskey and I’m impressed with how much it has developed in this short time. The Teeling single pot still has lots of potential – and is already a very nice whiskey.

Clonakilty distillery gin school

I’m taking a sidetrack for a bit and will actually write about gin in this post. Irish gin is still an Irish dram, yes?

I’ve never had any interest in alcoholic drinks until I discovered the world of whiskey, and after that I haven’t been interested in anything else than whiskey or certain other spirits that are barrel aged, such as certain grappas or rum. But last summer during the heat wave, I became interested in gin – not in the same way that I’m interested in whiskey, but I simply love it. It’s such a nice fresh summer drink and it’s not as sweet as many other drinks that you’d usually drink when the weather is nice and warm.

I don’t know much about gin and wouldn’t be able to see much difference between gins so far, other than the fact that this gin has more flavour than that gin, and that this gin has a character that I’m not used to (but I would probably be unable to say exactly what character that is). But I may learn about gin flavours and all that too.. who knows!

Clonakilty distillery has opened (and as I’m writing this, they have distilled their first drop of spirit that will become whiskey!!), and a post on social media last week caught our interest – as well as whiskey distillery tours and tastings, they would be offering a gin school – a weekly event where you’ll learn about gin and distill your own. My husband took the initiative, and booked us in. The first gin school session was last Saturday, the 23rd of March. I think a gin school is a lovely idea, and one I haven’t heard of before. If there are other gin lovers who are as geeky about flavours and production as I am, then it will be a success, people will love it. Actually at this first session, there were some people who weren’t really gin drinkers, but they all seemed to enjoy it very much, so you don’t need to be a geek either.

So how do you kick off a gin school session?

Well, what did you think? 😀

We gathered in the bar where we were given a Minke gin – the gin brand for Clonakilty distillery – with tonic. If you haven’t tasted the Minke gin yet, you need to do that now!

In another little room, the gin room, they gave us a little lesson about gin in general, what it is, what it isn’t, different types of gin (such as London dry, blended gin, etc), and some about botanicals. They explained to us what botanicals are essential and why, what to think of when choosing botanicals, and we were given a chart with loads of different botanicals described, what character they give to the gin, and tips about creating a gin recipe.

Every two people shared a tray with the most common botanicals, some empty jars and a scale each, and then there was another tray with other suitable botanicals. This was the most fun part of the process – to create your own gin recipe. I loved this just as much as the whiskey blending exercise at the Irish whiskey academy – I could have spent the entire evening doing this!

While mixing your botanicals and creating your recipe, the gin gurus were there to answer questions and guide you to make sure the recipe wouldn’t be too odd or imbalanced.

The next step then was to distill your gin. The distillery area has a second floor (with a nice view over those famous pot stills) where there is a row of tiny pot stills that are used specifically for the gin school. With the help of the gin gurus we added our botanicals in the still with spirit and water, and they got the distilling process started.

While waiting for the stills to do their job, we went downstairs to see the real stuff – the still that will create the future Minke gin.

We all waited impatiently for our own gin to come out of the tubes, but were served another Minke in the meantime.

The gin guru figures out how much water to add in order to get my desired ABV..

Hi-tech gadgets will calculate the final ABV.

And finally… a bottle with my own gin! And in the bar they made you a G&T based on your own gin.

This was a lovely way to spend a Saturday night! I really enjoyed learning more about gin, and this event was a fun creative activity. It was great experience and I recommend all gin lovers who spend some time in Clonakilty to spend that extra money to do this. It costs a bit more than the whiskey tours, but is absolutely worth it. After all, you have these great people teach you something new about gin, and your own bottle of gin is included.

The gin school is open every Saturday at 18.00 so go to this page to book your ticket(s)!

Now we’re trying to figure out how it would be possible to do something similar with whiskey…

Irish drams revived

Hello, whiskey lovers! I’ve been away for a while.. We have now – as you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram – moved to Ireland. It’s not because of the whiskey, believe it or not! We lived here ten years ago but moved back to Sweden in 2009, for work related reasons and more. But West Cork has always continued to be like home, especially in recent years, and because of changed circumstances and many other things, we decided to come back to live here again. We’re now back in West Cork since about a month, and are enjoying life.

Last summer I had planned to do a whiskey glass review, and had lots of other nice post ideas, but preparing a house for sale, packing down 10 years of living, and preparing to move abroad, simply has eaten up all my time and energy. Now, however, my fingers are itching to write again, there are loads of interesting whiskeys to taste, and interesting news in the Irish whiskey world. Ireland now has 23 working distilleries, and more to come. I haven’t been able to keep up with all the news out there, but will do some reading and some catching up. I plan to visit more distilleries when I can, and I’m definitely looking forward to that.

These are some babes that I’ve purchased and tasted since coming over to Ireland. I’ve finally had a decent taste of the Red Spot, had the nice surprise that the West Cork Dha Casca wasn’t a one-time limited release, I’ve visited the Clonakilty distillery and bought a bottle of their new single grain from the cask, and I’m exploring the world of Irish gins. I plan to visit some distilleries, and I’m looking forward to writing here again.

Expect some decent posts here soon, and of course have a fabulous St Patrick’s day whereever you are!