Sunday, March 15, 2015

Go Irish - Teeling Irish Whiskey

I'm not Irish and don't do a lot of celebrating on St. Patrick's Day but one thing this Irish holiday represents (besides the Irish and great whiskey) is the entrance of Spring.  After a rather long and at times harsh winter, I'm looking forward to warmer weather and with that, digging in to some new whiskey. 

Teeling has a long history of making whiskey dating back to 1792 where Walter Teeling began distilling in Dublin.  Fast toward to 1987 and John Teeling opens up Cooley Distillery which prior to his purchase was making Potato based alcohol.  Since Cooley's opening they became a force in the Irish distilling scene racking up numerous international awards.  Point is, they know whiskey.  In 2011, The Teelings sold Cooley to Beam Global for a cool $95M.  Now, Jack Teeling is kicking off a new venture by sourcing whiskey from his fathers former distillery with the release last year of Teeling Irish Whiskey.  This is a small batch Irish blend that is finished in Flor de CaƱa rum casks for around 6 months.  This is non-chill filtered (NCF) and is bottled at 92 proof. 

This expression interested me as I'm not sure there's another Irish whiskey with a second finish using rum casks.  I'm a big fan of Balvenie and they offer a rum finish 14 year old Scotch that to me is average with the rum not balancing so well with the scotch base.  So, I was maybe a tad skeptical with the Teeling. 

The whiskey is 35% malt whiskey (100% malted barley) and 65% grain whiskey (95% corn and 5% malted barley) and according to Teeling, aged between 4-7 years in first fill bourbon casks.  After that first aging, it's then rum cask finished. 

Color: Very light pale straw
Nose: Molasses (backstrap), vanilla, grain whiskey 
Entry: Grain forward, vanilla just a touch of cinnamon
Finish: Rum notes, mild oak with a touch of pepper toward the end.  Medium in length.  

I like the fact that it's NCF and they didn't cheat us on the proof.  This is an easy sipping Irish and one that I will keep on the bar on a regular basis.  I have quite a few Irish whiskies but this rum finished expression is a nice deviation from the norm.  Teeling has plans to offer future expressions with additional second finish expressions as well as super premium aged single malts. 

The Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch is readily available in numerous markets and runs about $40 a 750ml.  

Note: This whiskey was provided by the PR firm representing Teeling here in the U.S.

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