When you think of Irish whiskey, odds are one of the first names you think of is Teeling. Until relatively recently, most of the whiskey produced in Ireland came from three distilleries: Cooley, Old Bushmills, and New Midleton. The Cooley distillery was founded in 1987 by John Teeling. While the Colley distillery was purchased by Jim Beam just a few years ago, former manager Jack Teeling decided to start his own brand. And that is how the Teeling Whiskey Company was born. Teeling Irish Whiskey is the flagship product for the brand.
This small-batch whiskey was hand-selected and then matured in barrels formerly used for rum. It’s non-chill filtered and 46% ABV. The rum barrels are noteworthy, since it is far more common to mature Irish whiskeys in barrels which were previously used for sherry or bourbon. As a result, there is a very distinctive flavor to this whiskey. The 46% ABV is also notable, since 40% is much more common for Irish whiskeys. Small-batch production like this is uncommon as well. So naturally, there is a lot to get excited about here, especially backed by the Teeling name.
The bottle is very dark green, almost black, so there isn’t a whole lot to see when you look at the bottle. You can only see the color of the whiskey when you pour it. It turns out to be a beautiful golden yellow. Lifting the glass to my nose, I smell something that immediately reminds me of Christmas. It takes a moment to figure out why, but I believe it is a combination of dessert-type aromas blending with the sharpness of pine. Focusing more closely, I detect vanilla, caramel, and apple. The smell is very much a warm apple pie on a crisp winter day with the Christmas tree nearby.
This whiskey is very smooth on the palate. The flavors are sweet, with vanilla taking the front seat and apple still prominent. There are also elements of lemon and something syrupy and almost floral. I taste hints of caramel and coconut. The finish is a bit of a surprise twist. Instead of staying sweet, the flavor turns peppery, contributing a nice warmth and balancing out the sweet flavors. That hint of pine is there in the backdrop the entire time, contributing a sharp edge. That spicy sharpness keeps the sweetness from becoming overwhelming, and also makes the flavors glow.
You can purchase Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey for around $50 per bottle. While that is by no means cheap, it is also not ridiculously expensive, and the quality is very high. It is a unique blend, and one which is very evocative for me of wintertime and Christmas comfort. If you enjoy sweet whiskeys with balanced flavors, it is definitely worth a try. I will savor this one.
Teeling Small Batch
Color: Rich yellow gold.
Nose: Apples, vanilla, caramel, pine.
Palate: Apples, vanilla, caramel, coconut, lemon, pine, pepper.