By Richard Thomas
Dubbed the “world’s oldest Irish whiskey” (and certainly the oldest commercially available today), Teeling’s Platnium Reserve was double distilled back in 1983 and sat in ex-bourbon barrels for 30 years. To put that in perspective, this Teeling bottling was made before Jack Teeling’s father founded the famed Cooley Distillery.
As one might expect, this Teeling 30 Year Old commands a steep price, and has packaging to match. No mere cardboard box or even a metal-capped canister for this aged whiskey, but instead a sleek black case that has a push-button latch.
Assuming one had the wad of cash this large to spend on a single bottle of whiskey, the question an even semi-skeptical whiskey fan is always justified in asking is “is it worth that amount of money.” One step down the Teeling super premium ladder is the 26 Year Old Gold Reserve Single Malt, and the answer for that whiskey and its price point is “if you can afford it, yes.” But as we shall see, this one is three times more expensive, and realistically speaking it can’t possibly be three times as good.
In the glass, this 46% abv Teeling 30 Year Old Single Malt has the look of a white wine leaning into yellow. The nose is rich and creamy, loaded with tobacco and vanilla-tinged orange zest, with a hefty note of musty old wood. It’s truly a delightful whiskey to have in the snifter and nose.
The flavor starts with the dry, musty wood with a dash of sandalwood, followed by an unfolding of citrus, vanilla, and just a little apple. Then those flavors get elbowed aside by a resurgent current of tobacco, and that is what sits there at the end and carries over into the finish, which is mildly warm and quick to down. Compared to the nose, the palate and finish are almost effervescent, but still packing plenty of character.
Compared to the 26 Year Old, this Teeling Single Malt isn’t as novel, but is a degree more sophisticated. The problem is that it’s price point puts even having a dram beyond the reach of most drinkers.
The Teeling 30 Year Old commands a staggering €1,500 (£1,200 or $2,000) price tag, shooting it out of the category of the pricey collectable a diehard whiskey fan with some resources might buy, and into that airy place where only well-heeled drinkers looking for a special luxury project might shop. Such a person might want to consider buying two, since they only made 250 bottles of it.