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.
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
Nose: 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.