Teeling Irish Whiskey Review


Updated March 14, 2016

By Richard Thomas

Average Rating: B-

Teeling Irish Whiskey

Teeling Whiskey and Patrick O’Brian
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

Irish whiskey is the narrowest of the traditional whiskey regions, and one of the narrowest in general. Until recently, almost all whiskey production in Ireland was limited to just three distilleries: New Midleton (Jameson, etc.); Cooley; Old Bushmills. Once upon a time, all of Ireland’s many whiskey brands were either owned by or sourced from these three, but that has begun to change with the opening of a new batch of Irish distilleries and whiskey-makers. The story behind Teeling Whiskey is a case in point.

Few names are more firmly embedded in Irish whiskey than Teeling. Walter Teeling got into the Dublin whiskey business by starting a distillery in 1782, and the Cooley Distillery itself was founding by John Teeling in 1987, when he converted an old potato alcohol plant into a whiskey distillery. Jim Beam bought Cooley in January 2012, a move that shut the door on many an independent Irish whiskey label, since Cooley no longer intends to source whiskey for them. Beam’s muscling into the Irish whiskey picture has spurred many of the micro-distillery plans in Ireland, and it also prompted Jack Teeling, the former managing director of Cooley, to start his own brand, the Teeling Whiskey Company.

The standard bearer, Teeling Irish Whiskey, is a blend of sourced whiskey for the time being. Jack Teeling has ambitious plans to start the first distillery to operate in Dublin in 40 years, but Teeling distilling its own spirits is something for the future.

The Whiskey
Teeling is a sourced, blended Irish whiskey, married and finished in ex-rum casks, non-chill filtered, and bottled at 46% abv. The rum casks are a particularly unusual note, as bourbon and sherry barrels are much more common in the Irish whiskey business, and most Irish whiskeys of this type are bottled at 40%. Teeling is also a small batch, one of a small handful in Irish whiskey.

The look of Teeling grabbed me right from the start. The dark green glass of the bottle is very close to black, and smacks of an old Port bottle. I usually disdain green and brown glass as a cheap device meant to hide a whiskey’s lack of color, but Teeling’s Port-like bottle and Edwardian-style label are just plain classy.

Besides, Teeling isn’t hiding its color. In the glass, the whiskey has that straw yellow color that bespeaks of Irish whiskey character. The nose is something like an apple pie with rum thrown in for seasoning: sweet, fruity, lightly spicy. A tinge of piney wood imparts a crisp, bracing aspect to the scent.

The flavor is syrupy and mellow, and hints at dark, spiced rum. This is sweet whiskey, but a little woodiness and pepper in the taste keeps it from becoming too sweet. The finish flows out of the peppery note and into a nice, warm glow.

Addendum By Debbie Shocair

The aroma is of sweet milk, vanilla, malt and fresh orange. After breaking it with a ½ tsp water, vanilla-orange came to the forefront, with a hint of grassiness. The mouthfeel was spicy, and all over the top of the tongue. The finish carried bright orange zest, cinnamon, fading to lovely sweet marmalade on toast.

The Price
The recommended retail price for Teeling Irish Whiskey is around €35 ($46).

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  1. After reading this review, I would love to try this whiskey. I am a Soldier stationed in Germany, does anyone know where I might be able to find this?

    • Just bought a bottle at The new Vons in LaCosta, CA. The new store didn’t have a price so I waited 30 minutes while we discussed the potential price. The price wasn’t in the computer. Finally agreed upon 75% of the average price we could each find on the internet. Looks like I stole it at $30 with an additional 10% discount for buying six bottles of wine. Otherwise, suggest a quick trip to Dublin or ask the Class 6 to order some for you.

  2. Charles — I know most of Teeling’s products are in distribution in Germany, but Germany is a big country with a lot of high end liquor stores. Offhand, I can point you to an online retailer in Hamburg, Finlays Whisky, that carries this whiskey.


  3. I bought this for $40 US. It’s not good at all. Rather drink powers.


  4. Bought this at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY and am rather disappointed. Going to a hunt meet tomorrow and this will be my contribution to the tailgate.

    • I love Liquor Barn. I think the rum-finish rubs some people the wrong way, with is a different strokes, different folks kind of thing. You’ll notice I wrote it up as a B-, but contributor Jake Emen gave it a B+. He digs that rum-finish effect even more than I did, but others don’t like it at all. Enjoy the hunt!

  5. I think this one is fantastic, especially for the price. I can find it for $28 if I look hard. Most stores have it for $34. I find that you either love the rum finish or else you don’t. I prefer this to Black Bush, which is the closest comparable I could find.

    • Dan, good comment. I found this in the UN Commissary in Nairobi and bought it out of interest. Am enjoying a tipple right now. Funnily enough it was sitting next the Black Bush, which is one of my very favourite go-to whiskies.

  6. Got this as a Christmas gift. A bit strong for a Straight shot, but nice over an ice cube. Will not make my list of Single Malts to buy as it plainly states it is a blend of several single malts. How does this qualify as a Single Malt?

  7. After to listening to the “The General”, Cigar Dave’s St. Patrick’s Day radio broadcast, I went to purchase Bushmill’s 10, which he preferred to the Black Bush product. Winn Dixie Liquor, did not have the Ten, but only the regular and Black Bush. I started looking at other Irish Whiskeys on the shelf, and came across Teeling’s Small Batch Irish Whiskey. Reading the label, as I always do, I found of particular interest the process of aging in Rum Casks. I thought this was rather unique, and after looking over other Irish Whiskeys, and reading their labels as well, I couldn’t let go of this unique distinction. So I made the purchase($32 – $36, depending on whether it’s on sale). Let me tell you, what a find. This quickly became my favorite whiskey in the cabinet. It has a subtle sweetness due to the rum cask aging, is extremely smooth, and the warmth and spiciness don’t appear until it is well settled in the belly. This one gets an A from me. A matter of personal preference I guess.

  8. I had a shot of this at an Irish bar in Denver a few months ago and really liked it. I planned on buying it when I had the cash and need for more whiskey, but ran into it cheap. I am super happy that I ran across one bottle (all they had) for $20!!!!! (At an Italian deli in SF!)

  9. Very much enjoyed the review, which I read while drinking a glass of this fine and enjoyable whiskey. Agree about the classy presentation – often these devices are gimmicky, but this just works. An excellent warming evening drink – full of strong aromas and flavours but beautifully balanced.

  10. Not up to date with this type of Whiskey because I usually drink Scotch. I received this for my 72 birthday as a gift. Cant waite to try it with my 2 boys. After reading the articles above it should be to my liking.

    Here in Australia its around $65-00 bucks because tax on alcohol is ridicules here.

    Cheers to all.

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