Teeling. The spirit of Dublin and grain whiskey.
Teeling Distillery. Easily accessible by public transportation in Dublin, this place was swarming with visitors. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Teeling brothers have a deal for Guinness to send people over to the Teeling Distillery after they go through the infamous Guinness Experience. It also helps that the Jameson Experience, located not too far away, is being remodeled and won’t re-open until March 2017. The Teeling facility is very modern for the industrial “Liberties” area it is located in. They began rebuilding this location in 2015, but have been officially back in the whiskey business since 2011. The owners, Jack and Stephen Teeling, are not new to the industry. They have deep ties with Cooley and Teeling itself dates back to 1782, but was one of the unfortunate casualties of the Irish whiskey decline. The history of Irish whiskey is quite interesting. In 1782 there were 37 distilleries just in the city limits of Dublin. Irish whiskey controlled 60% of the global market and due to multiple factors including prohibition, exiting of the crown, column still adoption and many others, the Irish whisky scene quickly declined and almost disappeared. Over the last 40 years as new distilleries begin to produce and old distilleries re-open, they are now calling it the “revival of Irish whiskey”.
Now to focus on the actual distillery and what they are producing. Their facility is quite pristine. All the equipment is stainless steel and well-polished. There are 4 stainless steel washback’s and 2 wooden. Each hold about 30,000 liters. As you might know about Irish whiskey, they classically use a mix of malted and unmalted barley along with other grains. From what I have heard, most distilleries get their malt from maltsters down in Cork. They have a lauter mash tun and a mash takes about 6 hours to run. They only run one water of about 15,000 liters at 64 degrees Celsius. Once in the washback they pump in liquid distillers yeast and have about a 3-5 day fermentation period. The washbacks are large enough that they do not need to agitate or use a solvent to control the foam. I hadn’t seen the triple distillation set up at a distillery since Auchentoshan, and now that I was in Ireland it would be all I would see for the next few weeks! They were going to use Forsyth’s to make their stills, but apparently it was a 3 year waiting period. They ended up going with another supplier from Italy called Frilli. All three of their stills have a name. The names are Allison, Natalie and Rebecca. At the end of their triple distillation process they not only have new make spirit, but this is what they also call Poitin. Poitin is basically equivalent to American Moonshine.
There are obvious concerns of storing whiskey in a city environment for fire and health reasons, so aging does not happen on site. They have maturation facilities about an hour outside of Dublin. Ireland has similar maturation laws as Scotland. Their new make spirit must be aged in Ireland, in oak and a minimum of 3 years to be called Irish Whiskey. Ireland has quite a moderate climate so the angel share doesn’t go about 2-3% and they typically will use casks about 2-3 times. They have quite a range of young bottlings at this point, but the most popular brand that you will find easily in the states is the Teeling Single Malt. I was able to try a few drams while I was visiting. I must forewarn you that the glasses they offered the drams in were far too large. It really altered how the nose was coming off and unfortunately left me with some pretty bad tasting notes in regards to the nose. I had tasted a few of these before and the nose lacked much to be desired regardless in my opinion.
Teeling Single Malt
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Peanuts, malt and hay.
Palate: Chocolate raisins, malt balls and apricot.
100% Malted Barley
Aged in 6 different kinds of wine casks. Boasts that there are whiskies of up to 23 years old in here. I don’t see it.
Teeling Small Batch
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Pear and citrus notes. Maybe banana.
Palate: Dry, leaves, grass, lemon and herbal tea.
Contains about 80% corn and 20% barley. About 6 years old and spent most of its life in bourbon barrels and finished in rum casks.
Teeling Single Grain- Non Age Statement
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Biscuit, grainy, kinda sweet.
Palate: Spice, fireball candy, oak.
95% corn and 5% barley.
Spent 7 years in a red wine casks.
I'm hoping to find a bit more depth in my Irish Whiskey exploration. I wouldn't rule these drams out, but I would definitely drink on ice or in cocktails. I guess since their target market is still young Americans, they are hitting the mark. Not quite right for a dram neat with friends by the fire, that's for sure.