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Celebrating St Patrick’s Day With the New Teeling Irish Whiskey

Millions of revellers are celebrating Saint Patrick’s day across the globe. A day of mirth and merriment for many – a day filled with lots of laughter and more than a few pints of Guinness and drams of Irish whiskey. Instead of pouring myself a Bushmills or Jameson tonight as my hat tip to the Saint, I’ve gone for something new from the Emerald Isle…

Teeling Whiskey – a small batch bottling from The Teeling Whiskey Company. “Who are they?” you ask.

Teeling Whiskey - Small-Batch, Rum Cask Finish

Let’s wind the clock back to the end of 2011. Wanting to expand its portfolio and capitalize on the rising interest in Irish whiskey, Beam announces its agreement to purchase the last independent whiskey producer in Ireland, namely Cooley Distillery. A month later, mid-January 2012, after settling on a $95m price tag, it’s a done deal. Then a few months later, Jack Teeling (then MD of Cooley, and son of John Teeling – founder of Cooley), exits Cooley stage-left and starts up a new business called The Teeling Whiskey Company with the aim of “bringing back an independent voice to the Irish whiskey category”.

Lofty stuff. And with a proud heritage of distilling Irish whiskey in the Teeling family dating back to 1782, I get the feeling that Jack isn’t messing around.

In 2012 the Teeling Whiskey Company (TWC) released a few interesting expressions, making a bit of a splash and a stir. Fast-forward to February 2013 and the company launches its flagship brand: Teeling Whiskey. A small-batch bottling of Irish whiskey finished in ex-Flor de Caña Rum barrels, non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV. So what’s it like?

As news of the imminent release echoed around the Twittersphere I wondered that very question myself. And then I had to wonder no more as Jack Teeling sent me a bottle with a simple request to let him know what I thought of it. As (quite possibly) the only person on the African continent to have a bottle of Teeling Whiskey so far, I felt it was my duty to share my thoughts with the wider world.

Teeling Whiskey Tasting Notes

Tasting the new Teeling WhiskeyNose: The extra months spent maturing in those rum casks is very evident – toffee apples, raisins, fruit pastilles.
Palate: Smooth and velvety mouth-feel. Sweet spices dance on the sides of your tongue, intermingling with the fruits (apples, apricots) hinted at on the nose. The sweetness is held in check by the higher alcohol percentage and the woody spices.
Finish: A medium-length, prickly finish with an undertone of the sweetness remaining.
Verdict: A really enjoyable Irish blend that will keep you refilling your glass. As I have been writing this piece, I’m on my third dram 😉

Jack Teeling and The Teeling Whiskey Company are going to be having a busy year – what with several more releases planned including three TWC Vintage Reserves and Kinahans LL Irish Whiskey, an Irish Single Malt. With a cracking premium blend to get the ball rolling, I look forward to tasting these beauties in the months to come!

The ultimate goal of TWC though is to get an operational distillery up and running in Dublin again. Then, what is essentially an independent bottler at this stage, becomes a fully-fledged distillery and the phoenix will have truly risen from the ashes. May that day come soon.

Sláinte!

3 Comments

  1. March 18, 2013    

    Nice Review. My question would be, having formed this whiskey company so recently, where is he getting his whiskey? Does he have a filling contract with Cooley?

    Looking forward to tasting this dram.

    thanks, Mark

    • Mark Mark
      March 19, 2013    

      Thanks for dropping by Mark. That’s one of the very questions I put forward in an email to the Teeling Co. I would say that given his close relationship to Cooley before the Beam takeover it almost certainly has to be from Cooley. It raises quite a few more questions as to how much whiskey is going to be supplied and over what time period, etc, etc. That has to be one of your biggest risks right there: sourcing whiskey from someone whose space you want to compete in in the years to come.

  2. April 26, 2013    

    Very good news about Kinahan’s LL Whiskey.The secret recipe for this rectified blend was conceived around 1807 and was in use until 1911, when Kinahan’s went into liquidation. The receipe was a well guarded secret.So Cooley are to be congratulated if this once internationally known whiskey is coming back in the equally well known black bottle

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