By Kurt Maitland
KM: First off, let’s talk about how you got into the business.
JT: Cooley gave me my start in Irish whiskey and instilled my own passion for the industry. From my 10 years with them I received a well-rounded experience as I worked myself up from a Commercial role to Sales & Marketing Director to eventually Managing Director. This gave me both a very good understanding of the commercial side of the operation and the distilling side in particular re-enforcing the importance of product but also how it is presented. I have tried to apply these learnings to the new venture to avoid many of the mistakes we made and to build on what worked during our Cooley days.
KM: What do you feel the new Teeling Whiskey will bring to the current Irish whiskey landscape?
JT: The Irish whiskey industry is dominated by Multinationals but its currently lacking the breadth and choice that most other whiskey categories can offer. Our goal is to be the leading independent Irish whiskey company in particular taking the lead in driving choice and selection of unique handcrafted small batch expressions.
KM: What do you think are the main/best characteristics of your whiskeys?
JT: That they are different and also highly drinkable like any good Irish whiskey should be.
KM: Who do you want to appeal to with this release and what is your thinking about future releases from Teeling?
JT: With our Teeling Small Batch Irish whiskey we were trying to produce the most flavorsome interesting Blended Irish whiskey we could. We took a lot of learnings from different maturation projects we had been involved in and applied this to the Blended Irish whiskey segment. We used the guys in the Irish Whiskey Society in Dublin as a sounding board on many different expressions but the one that shone like a star from these tastings was our higher proof non-chill filtered Rum married blend and our Small Batch was born. The unique marrying and bottling process used in the Small Batch allows us to retain the smooth taste profile people enjoy from Irish whiskey but layer on top delicate and more flavorsome dry raisin Moorish rum notes to compliment this. We think this appeals to people who are looking to discover a more interesting expression of Irish whiskey and hopefully will lead them to discover future releases of Teeling whiskey as we have plenty more unique expressions to come.
KM: What’s your vision for the growth of Teeling? i.e. do you just want to focus on your core three spirits or do you want to add even smaller specialty batches to your release schedule?
JT: Our goal is to eventually have a portfolio of Teeling bottlings that will give people a very different and unique ladder of expressions of Irish whiskey to discover. We are currently examining the possibility of doing a range of Single Cask/Barrel bottlings to showcase a few other projects we are currently working but once we are back in production are aim is to real push the boat out in terms of innovation. We are very excited to be able to revive long forgotten old mash bills that would have been commonly used during the last golden era of Irish whiskey in the 19th century when Dublin was at its epicenter.
KM: What does it mean to you personally, to be the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years?
JT: To able to go right back to where our family first got involved in the industry back in 1782 and at the same time revive the distilling industry in Dublin means the world to me. The last Dublin pot still ran cold back in 1976 when all production was consolidated into Cork and since then the history and stories around centuries of distilling in Dublin started to slip away. We are very proud and honored, as born and bred Dubs, to be able to revive the Teeling family involvement in Irish whiskey and to forgo a new future for distilling in Dublin.