The fine folks at Teeling Whiskey Company have proven to be not only superb crafters of whiskey, but canny businessmen as well, parlaying previous successes into the goal of rebuilding the glory days when Teeling was one of the biggest names in Dublin whiskey. They’ve shown they have the skill of impeccable timing by entering the expanding global whiskey market with precisely the right product at exactly the right moment for maximum effect.
First we saw the impressive, attention-grabbing Teeling Irish Whiskey Rum Cask Finish in their Small Batch Series, with savvy bartenders and whiskey critics across the country impressed by their daring exploration of flavor. It was a new style of Irish mellowed by rum cask maturation, just when Irish had made a comeback, and it was electrifying.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Teeling has now released two more whiskeys that are bound to have the same effect: Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey and Single Grain Irish Whiskey. But there’s more to the story than that…both are whiskeys of singular and outstanding character, something you’ve not quite seen before from Irish whiskey producers.
Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey
The Single Malt is just that: 100% malted barley whiskey, triple pot distilled, rich and hearty. But this malt whiskey is finished in five separate and distinct barrel maturation regimens prior to blending! This Single Malt is a complex combination of pot-still whiskies from a wide age range, and thus no age statement (although Teeling states that some of the whiskey dates back to 1991). The use of Sherry, Port, Madeira, white Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon finishing barrels contributes an amazing density and complexity of flavors, with even more intense focus from non-chill filtration and a hearty 92 Proof delivery. There is a definite tang of blackberry and cassis, raisin and prune, a bit of cinnamon-clove spice, and a luscious combination of wine, dried fruits and subdued vanilla-oak in this delectable and almost savory whiskey.
The traditional Irish barley malt structure is there, but the intricate multiple barrel maturation and multiple age blending give this whiskey a character like no other Irish malt you’ve had. It is an instant collector’s edition for any whiskey aficionado.
Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey
We’ve all heard of them, but few have actually tasted Single Grain Irish Whiskey, and that’s because there are only a handful available, and those not widely available. Following their penchant for over-delivering on expectations, the Teeling is unique even among single grains.
As one might expect the Single Grain Whiskey itself is bright, lively, almost citrusy. Take that single grain base (the name is confusing as the “single” refers to the distillery, and the grain refers to, in this case, 95% corn with 5% barley) however, and add the unexpected finishing touch of California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, and you have a lovely amber whiskey with red berry color and flavor. There is a definite hint of blackberry to deepen and darken the essential citrus notes. Though perhaps an unfamiliar note initially for whiskey fans, it is nonetheless delightful and charming in an almost whimsical way. As the whiskey continues to expand, it develops an almost chocolate malt character, unexpected but entirely charming. Given the naturally lighter structures of single grain whiskeys to date, this might be an admirable template for future taste explorations for the category. We’ll see.
So there you have it: a dynamic family company that specializes in impressing and astonishing whiskey fans the world over with that most traditional of whiskey, Irish whiskey, and adding unexpected explorations of flavor discovery through complex blending and barrel finishing techniques.
Is it hyperbole to suggest that Teeling Whiskey Company may be pointing to the future of what whiskey will be? Perhaps; perhaps not. Only time will tell. One should never underestimate the Irish though.