By Father John Rayls
I was surprised by a recent journey into the magical world of the Teeling Small Batch. It was a surprisingly enjoyable trip (probably a B+). As a result, I was very anxious to get my hands on the relatively new Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey. This is a no age statement, single malt, 100% malted barley vatted together with a range of wine cask aged Irish malt whiskey. Some are as old as 1991 and come from white burgundy, sherry, port, madeira, and cabernet sauvignon casks. It’s a solid 92 proof and is non-chill filtered. Jack Teeling, founder of the Teeling Whiskey Company, says “Our new Teeling Single Malt proves Irish whiskey can have big bold flavours that appeal to Single Malt drinkers without losing its distinctive Irish identity.” In the past, I’ve been reticent to spend much further time exploring the Irish Whiskey world because I prefer a bolder experience and have mainly used it as a subtle break from my regular whiskey routine. This Irish single malt may have permanently altered my reality.
There is something unique about this whiskey. It’s still obvious that this is an Irish Whiskey. The nose is subtle with very little alcohol burn. The distillery suggests a nose that’s “vibrant with notes of melon, figs, toffee and lemon”, but I can’t catch what they are suggesting. The slightly more pronounced aromas do create images of sweet lemon, fresh fruit and a little vanilla down deep. The whiskey has a golden straw appearance leaning towards yellow with some long thin legs on the glass. It’s easy to drink, light and generally smooth like most Irish whiskeys. However, there’s a little bit more of an edge to the experience with more pronounced flavors and some unusual light alcohol burn.
Teeling Whiskey Company suggests “a balance mix of dry fruits, citrus, vanilla, spice and cloves” might very well be your taste experience and, of course, it could be. However, it went a little different direction for me. It was very enjoyable, but not along the lines the company suggested. On first sip, there is a very slight coating of the mouth that feels somewhat thin. The major action happens almost immediately at the back of the tongue and the back roof of the mouth. There is an explosion of fresh fruit flavor, some very nice clove and possibly mixed with strawberries. The fresh fruit is very forward with the berries being very subtle in the background with some periodic apricot making an appearance. The medium spiciness is active throughout the taste experience. You may also get some light oak as the foundation. This is not an overly sweet whiskey, but is a very well-balanced one. The finish stays mid-mouth with a medium to mostly long fade out. It is filled with honey, black pepper and light oak.
This is a very interesting whiskey and I would certainly recommend it. It has quickly moved to the top of my Irish whiskey rotation. I like the 92 proof with a “punched up” flavor profile and yet it is still a very easy whiskey. You will find it retailing for $55.99 to $70.00 so it shouldn’t punish you too badly for wanting to experiment a little.