The Teeling family has been involved in Irish Whiskey for over 200 years; in 1782, Walter Teeling set up a distillery in Dublin and began a family tradition that continues to this day.
The current generation of Teelings – brothers Jack and Stephen – founded the Teeling Whiskey Company in 2012, having both learned the trade at the Cooley Distillery. They have recently announced the construction of their new distillery in Dublin, just around the corner from where Walter Teeling started out. It will be the first new one built in the city for over 125 years, and comes nearly 40 years after the last Dublin distillery closed way back in 1976.
Until those stills are up and running, however, Teeling have been bottling whiskeys from “the Teeling family’s store” – primarily made up of stock from the Cooley Distillery. The range currently comprises two single malts, and the above – a single grain, and a blend.
Teeling Small Batch is a pale golden blended whisky finished in rum casks, and bottled at 46% ABV.
The nose is softly sweet, with vanilla sugar and just a touch of rich, creamy fudge. Watered, much of the aromas are lost and you’re mostly left with alcohol and wet wood.
In the mouth, it’s initially very gentle – sugar sweet and little else, with other flavours taking several seconds to emerge. They’re powerful when they do, however, with warm honey, a lime sharpness, and a woody tannic tone accompanied by a surprisingly strong alcohol burn.
Water shortens the gentle, sugary start and holds back the worst of the alcohol burn without really reducing any of the other flavour components. The honey and the tannic wood are still present, with a longer, more satisfying warm finish to it.
Teeling Single Grain is another 46% ABV whiskey. It’s a single grain whiskey matured entirely in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. I have to confess I’m not entirely sure what the “single grain” of the title is supposed to indicate, as the bottle describes the ingredients as “predominately maize” – surely to be “single” anything, it should be wholly maize?
The whiskey has taken on a nice amber colouring from the wine casks, and there are faint suggestions of it on the nose too – sweetness and redcurrants and a distinct raw grain alcohol.
Water reins in the alcohol, but leaves the sweet, red fruit aroma and adds a touch of honey to it.
In the mouth, it’s sweet like golden syrup with a spicy tingle dancing across your tongue. Beneath that is a strawberry fruit and just a touch of freshly sawn wood.
Watered, the sweetness becomes softer and more honey-like. The spice is still there, but it’s less peppery and more woody and the fruit is a little lost.
Both of these whiskies are seriously tasty, and I can’t wait to see what starts coming out of their new Dublin distillery in a few years’ time!
Many thanks to the Teeling Whiskey Company for sending over these samples.