About a year ago, before disaster broke out in the world, I was invited to a Teeling whiskey tasting at Shelbourne bar in Cork. A nice treat that evening was a not-yet-released peated single malt - their first single malt made in the Dublin distillery. And not only that, it was a peated single malt too. We were informed it was to be released in the autumn, and I was very excited about it. The good news is that I now have a bottle of it on my shelf - the Teeling Blackpitts.
My first impression when it first appeared in my Twitter feed was, “Blackpitts? What kind of name is that?!”
It appears that Blackpitts is an area in the Liberties in Dublin, near the Teeling distillery, that in the past used to host some large barley malting houses. There they used peat smoke to dry the barley, which gave it a smoky flavour character. For many of you, this method is well known, and you may also know that I’m a big fan of said whisk(e)y style.
Here in Ireland we have seen a few peated whiskeys hit the market recently, thanks to the brilliant Great Northern Distillery - you’ll recognise names such as Dark Silkie, Bill Phil and Hinch peated whiskey. In addition there’s of course the older, well established, Connemara whiskey. Peated whiskey used to be common in certain areas of the Irish whiskey industry in the past and it's now being reintroduced, which is welcomed by many and gives a good variety to the Irish whiskey category.
For Blackpitts, Teeling uses peat from the Scottish lowlands, which - as well as the triple distillation - gives the whiskey a different kind of smoke character than what you'll find in the typical peated Islay whiskies - softer, less medicinal, lighter.
Teeling Blackpitts consists in malt whiskeys matured in bourbon casks and in Sauternes casks - two thirds bourbon and one third Sauternes. The components have then been blended together, and the final whiskey is bottled at 46%.
Medium, very nice nose. There's a mix of fresh and baked fruit; apricot, pear or baked apple, mixed with dark chocolate, hay, leather, and hints of pecorino wine with light dry smoke.
It has a light mouthfeel but with lots of flavour. There's an initial blast of ginger type spice, then dark chocolate, pear, an earthiness I'm unable to define, leather (ok, I haven't actually tasted leather, but what I feel in my mouth when smelling it!), and light dry smoke.
The finish is medium, very pleasant, dominated by baked fruit with dark chocolate and some mint. It reminds of a dessert that was very popular in my youth - oven baked pear with After Eight on top! Back in the early 90's.. yes I know I'm old!
I really like this whiskey. It's energetic, full of flavours, with a nice mix of fruit and more earthy flavours as well as a little smoke and chocolate. I wonder why I always get chocolate in Teeling whiskeys?
It looks like the Blackpitts is going to remain a part of Teeling's standard range, and you can buy it at Irish malts and at Celtic whiskey shop, for around €60. A good whiskey for what at least I think is a good price, compared to many others out there.
Well done Teeling, and keep up the good work!