Thanks to /u/cantbelieveyoureddit for being a great bartender.
For awhile now I’ve been slowly collecting Teeling whiskies to eventually do a multi review. I have a decent amount of them.
When planning for the trip, I had looked around at a lot of “Internet v.1.0” websites that directed me towards various whiskey bars in Dublin. The odd one mentioned Jameson Distillery, what with the new upgrades, and they also pointed me towards Guinness’ storehouse.
So when my wife started searching for things to do in Dublin, she was shocked and appalled that I had left out a visit to Teeling Distillery. We quickly amended that and ended up there for a tour.
I’ll discuss the tour at a later date, as well as a basic overview of the distillery. Given they only started in 2015, it’s fair to say they’re transitioning from sourcing whiskey to producing their own, however they still add different cask finishes that set them apart.
As part of the upgrade I purchased, I was given 4 drams to enjoy: Teeling Small Batch, Teeling Single Malt, Teeling 13: The Revival Vol. 2, and Teeling 9 Single Cask Port Cask. I also sauntered up to the bar, finished my lengthy review process to get out of the way of the great workers at Teeling, and ordered another, the Teeling 4 Single Cask Stout Cask.
Let’s see how these taste, shall we?
Teeling Small Batch is up first. This is a blended whiskey that has a very high malt content. Also it’s been aged in rum casks, which is different, especially in Irish whiskey. It’s unchillfiltered and NAS.
This is one of three of their standard lineup. Unfortunately they ran out of glasses, so I’ll have to revisit this one in a glencairn. However the glass did have somewhat of a chimney on it, so I was able to pick out some good nose notes.
Price: $55.95 CAD at the LCBO
Cask Type: Rum Casks
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Vanilla, orange, allspice, passionfruit, coconut
Sweet. Has a Creamsicle note that I’m liking. Lots of fruit, dry coconut, and allspice.
If I was having this blind, it’d be hard to pick it out as a rum cask aged. Which let’s be honest, is a compliment. It’s more like a virgin American oak. Quite nice.
Taste: Vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, orange, cashew, lime
Watery, sadly. Even at 46%, which is too bad, because I really, really do enjoy the flavour profile.
This sums up Cinnabon quite well for me. Every time I smell it, I think it’s amazing, and want to buy one. And then I buy one, and the flavours are muted. And I’m angry because I’m one of the few people who loves way too much cinnamon.
So yeah. It has all the amazing flavours of a cinnamon bun but a commercial one.
Finish: Brown sugar, nutmeg, dry, orange
Short finish. Again, starts to have those great fall flavours of brown sugar and nutmeg, and then like my wife I’m sad after a few minutes.
Conclusion: I think this is the type of whiskey I’d call a tease. It has this great profile overall, and a nice nose, but everything is either muted or short. I did enjoy drinking this, but it’s short. Short, short short.
All the man-children out there are having PTSD now. Sorry.
I want them to put out a version of this that is cask strength and has an extra 6 years on it. I want all of it to go on more. As it is? I enjoyed it, but not too much.
Teeling Single Malt is up next. There’s no gimmicks to this whiskey: No finish, no blending, and nothing else about it. Single Malt, and that’s all.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: $87.95 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Pineapple, vanilla yogurt, nuttiness, buttery
Creamy, nice amount of bitterness, and nutty. The yogurt is the main element here, so you have that sour, vanilla, and cream note on the nose. Eventually takes over like Cena with a steel chair.
Taste: Orange, allspice, pepper, butter, cereal
Orange is the main note. There’s some spice, butter, and cereal. It’s okay.
That said, I’m not the biggest orange fan. And I’m not just making a political statement. It’s too much on this one, and doesn’t borrow from the other flavours enough to build itself up.
Oops, made a political statement anyway.
Finish: Nutmeg, brown butter, oak, floral
Finish is longer than the last one, but ends up being very simple, very floral, and mostly oak forward. Simple, nice finish.
Conclusion: This is a pretty simple Single Malt. I don’t hate it, but I prefer the blend more, as the flavours are balanced quite well. This feels like each section has the limelight on one flavour, and that flavour is being a ham. Not tasting like ham, but it’s being a ham.
And while it’s not bad, it’s not old enough or impressive enough to me. I’d recommend other Teelings over this one.
The Teeling: The Revival series was created in celebration of being the first distillery to have launched in Dublin in 125 years. Also Teeling existed before, started in 1782, which is why this isn’t called “The Inception” or “New Beginning” or “The Dublining”.
Teeling 13: The Revival Vol. 2 is the second volume and thus the 37th ever in the series (that’s a joke). The previous was 15 years old and in Rum Casks, I’ll post the next one later, and this one (which you came to read about, presumably) is the youngest at 13 years and finished in Calvados barrels.
For those of you not up on your Brandies, Calvados was in the second season. Wait, maybe I’m getting Brandies mixed up.
Calvados is French Apple Brandy. From Normandy. Only made by a guy named Phil. Maybe not that last one. Regional naming laws are crazy, yo.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Number of Bottles: 10,000
Cask Types: Ex-bourbon and Ex-Calvados barrel finish
Colour: 2.5Y 8/6
Nose: Brown sugar, tropical fruits, oak, pine oil, BBQ
So the previous brown sugar/molasses notes are here, but immediately they are taken and developed into better, stronger notes. The Calvados mixed in makes a BBQ sauce, the extra time adds some nice wood notes, and overall it’s quite nice on the nose.
Bigger than the 46% would normally denote.
Taste: Grape Kool-aid, ginger, tea, cinnamon, rum butter sauce
Odd. Okay, let’s start over.
Okay, so it’s odd to start off. There’s this initial fake grape flavour that throws me right off. Eventually more tannic, spice, and then back to the molasses and butter notes.
Finish: Wood fire, pineapple, fruit tea, brown sugar, plum, wine gum, dry
Finish is an odd mish mash. It’s drier than the taste, there’s veins of fruit, then mixes of light sweet and stronger, molasses sweets.
The Calvados and whiskey is fighting, and we, mere mortals… Are basically in charge because we’re conscious and drink it.
Conclusion: This is more unique than it’s good, which isn’t a bad thing. I think there’s some off notes, but not “bad notes”. It’s odd. It’s weird, it doesn’t all work together, but I like drinking it.
Odd doesn’t mean bad, or good. Unique doesn’t as well. Overall this was tasty. I like it, but I can’t ignore some flaws it has. So if you like unique whiskies, this will be up your alley.
Teeling 9 Single Cask Port Cask is one of the current whiskies you can purchase and fill your own bottle. I’d show my bottle, however I wasn’t 100% sober at the time of filling it (thank you so much for helping me guy at the front) however I forgot to ask for the labels, and was too busy trying to buy everything I can’t get anywhere else.
Suffice to say, this is 9 year old single cask whiskey, from Teeling, that has been fully matured in Port Casks. I have had a half ounce of this prior, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Let’s see if a little bit more time has changed my mind.
Price: €100 from the Teeling Distillery
Fill Date: 06-Aug-2007
Cask No. 11650
Cask Type: Port
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Floral, savoury pastry, pine, metallic
Very different than the previous whiskies. This one is like a Lowland. Almost exactly like a Lowland. Simpler though. But not? Let’s start over.
It smells of pastry and floral notes. There’s some pine, telling me I wish I could have it in a few years. But the floral and pastry are the main sides. A little water helps, but then a metallic element comes out, which is odd.
Taste: Plum, brown butter, brown sugar, floral, dry wine
Now we’re cooking with gas. This is what I want from a floral, dry whiskey. It has those brown sugar/brown butter notes that screams “TEELING” to me now. The plum works really well.
So basically the pastry breaks into it’s components and the floral aspects stay the same, eventually developing into wine notes. Like I said before, if you like Lowlands, this may be up your alley.
Finish: Butter, nutty, petunias, ginger, dry, rosemary
The ramping up continues! Now the nuttiness is separate from the butter, the dry and fruit notes leave with just some herbal newness, and there’s a distinct “taste when I smell them” flowers note.
This is a roller coaster. Quite odd.
Conclusion: What an odd dram. It’s like if you tried to explain a Lowland whisky to someone and they said “Yeah, I can do that with port casks!” And you’re like “Wait, what?” and they’ve run off.
The nose is not great. Let’s not dance around this. It’s simple, but not super simple, and may turn you off the whiskey. The taste and finish are good, tasty, and don’t have rough notes. If you love floral, dry but not too dry whiskies, this is for you.
However if you came into this thinking “Port Casks are tasty and have these dark fruit and cocoa notes” and then had this, you’d be confused. Watch out for that. I’m happy I poured my own bottle.
Finally we have Teeling 4 Single Cask Stout Cask. Now if you’re a hardcore Teeling fan, you’ll be asking “which stout cask whisky?” and I’d be shocked.
Specifically this one is available at the distillery, and was aged in ex-Galway Bay stout casks. The interesting thing is I can find out that Galway Bay used ex-Teeling ex-Rum casks for one of their stouts, and ended up with a free bottle of it with my purchase of the whiskey.
What I can tell is Galway Bay sent back some casks to Teeling, who then dumped some alcohol in there and let it sit. And sit. And then pulled it after 4 years and 7 months.
I know, I know. Why would I buy a young whiskey when I’m surrounded by other whiskies and older samples and all that? Because I’m a visionary. Oh, wait, no, I’m some fuckhead who says dick jokes in whiskey reviews and just happens to keep posting reviews. And knows a little about whiskey by now.
So I ordered a sample, had a half dram, liked it, was surprised at the age, bought a bottle, got a free beer, and generally enjoyed Dublin. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price I may have been drunk when I purchased this and cannot remember
Fill Date: 05/2012
Cask Type: Galway Bay stout cask
Cask No. 14771
Colour: 2.5Y 7/6
Nose: Yeast, floral, hot chocolate, ginger, cookie, sugar pie
The initial notes go back to the port cask one, but the yeast, ginger, and cookie really scream “Stout”.
It also helps that 3 hours before arriving at this distillery I was at Guinness storehouse drinking stout. That was oddly fortuitous.
Very sweet, very stout forward. My wife, who doesn’t like beer at all, wasn’t a fan. Too much yeast for her. But yeast means different things for women.
Taste: Bitter butter cookie, orange, brown sugar, stout
Interesting sweet notes mixed with bitter ones. It’s hard to separate the two. Love that even after a full maturation, the brown sugar notes of Teeling still come through.
Also the orange seems to work now. Maybe that’s part of their malt.
Finish: Wood, stout mouthfeel, caramel, hoppy, cereal, honey wafter, orange peel
The oddest part of this is the mouthfeel as you swallow it (said me after these distilleries let me in). It’s exactly like a creamy, stout beer.
There’s enough dick jokes, let’s move on.
The stout comes through here with lots of hops, cereal, and caramel notes. If you’re a stout fan, the finish is for you.
Conclusion: So we take a beer, we distill it, then we pour that into a cask that used to have beer, so that the whiskey we made from beer tastes like beer. Gotcha.
It is stout forward. This has the developed characteristics of a stout beer without lots of the hops and with some of the whiskey to it. The whiskey shines the most on the taste.
Yes, there’s moments of confusion. And yes, this is a niche whiskey, so take my score with a grain of salt, because I’m biased as fuck to stout beers. But I really liked this, and am impressed. Try before you buy at the distillery.
World Whiskey reviews #232-236, Ireland reviews #50-54, Whiskey Network reviews #1051-1055