Updated March 14, 2016
By Richard Thomas
Even as Teeling opened their distillery this year, taking their first step in transiting from bottler to full-on, all in-house distiller, the company continued to expand their line of Irish whiskeys. Last month they added one more to the collection in the form of the Teeling Single Malt.
Teeling has a trio of other Irish single malts out, all super premium expressions aged 21 years, 26 years and 30 years. With even the 21 Year Old running for north of $200 a bottle, these are the sorts of whiskeys most of us would buy or receive only on special occasions, and then dole out sparingly thereafter.
The new Teeling Single Malt, on the other hand, is a regular premium whiskey intended to occupy that niche of finer, but still regular drinking. It’s a no aging statement whiskey, drawing on stock up to 23 years old and aged in five different types of wood —Sherry, Port, Madeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and White Burgundy — for its one distillery blend. This five wood approach is a new one for Irish whiskey, and the resulting whiskey was bottled at 46% abv.
In the glass, the Teeling Single Malt has a bright yellow coloring. I’m revealing the old, ex-comic book geek in me by saying the color in the vein of Sinestro’s power ring kind of yellow, a real four-color yellow territory. That makes it a marvel to look at in decent lighting.
The nose is a crisp with green apples, and has the overall character of an odd fruit salad. There are those apples, plus melon, ripe figs and a mild citrus note. Add in a little toffee and a touch of musty, old wood and you have it, making it a complex nose, but not one that is hard to come to grips with.
The flavor concentrates on just two fruits, that being now dried figs and tart lemon. The wood goes from musty to dry, and the seasoning picks up with vanilla, cloves and a hotter blend of cookie spice. The finish dry and toasty, with a just slightly spicy afterglow.
I came away from the Teeling Single Malt thinking it would make a nice general purpose sipper, especially with its look and scent. However, I suspect it’s real place might be as an aperitif whiskey, and the next time I get the chance I am going to try it in exactly that role.
Addendum By Father John Rayls
From the start, this is clearly Irish whiskey. The nose is subtle with very little alcohol burn. The slightly more pronounced aromas 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.
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. I like the 92 proof with a “punched up” flavor profile, while retain an easy character. The finish stays mid-mouth with a medium to mostly long fade out. It is filled with honey, black pepper and light oak. It’s a very interesting whiskey, and I would certainly recommend it, having quickly moved to the top of my Irish whiskey rotation.
Addendum By Debbie Shocair
I almost gave it an “A-”, but the finish just lost it. It is very interestin, and I love an interesting whiskey, one that evolves as it sits on my palate.
The aroma is one of ripe peaches, mango – bright honey and an undertone of grassiness. After breaking it with ½ tsp water, the fruit notes were noticeably softened, and a sense of sweet vanilla pastry became apparent. The mouthfeel was strong at the tip of the tongue and front of the palate
The finish was much shorter than expected. A slightly spicy oakiness, a creaminess that’s unusual, and leather. The mango fruitiness stays high in the mouth, but the rest of the finish is short.
In keeping with its intended place, the Teeling Single Malt should be priced at $60.