Water of Life – Teeling Distillery
Ah, finally! Teeling Distillery is one that almost got away. For too long it has been in the periphery of my whisky vision and it is high time to finally shed light on what they the Irish distillery has to offer.
For anyone following this series, it should be fairly obvious that I am partial to peated whiskies. While this is a characteristic that most Scottish distilleries cater to in some shape or form and there is talk about some distillers experimenting with peated barley in the region, it is not necessarily something that Irish whiskey is known for.
Now, Teeling has a track record for experimenting with different casks, but it was my first exposure to their Blackpitts expression, the name being an homage to the ancient area behind the distillery.
Triple distilled, Blackpitts zeos in at 55 phenol part per million before maturing in ex-bourbon and ex-Sauternes casks to then emerge with an ABV of 46%.
What tickles the nostrils is a melange of subtle peat peppery and fruity nuances, which rest on a backbone of mint , wood smoke and bacon. The fact that what materialize on the roof of the mouth starts with a saline note, had me intrigued. The journey continues with cidery flavours , honeyed malt and lemon peels that culminate in peaty caramel highlights. Delicious.
The finish is not overly long and a bit reduced as it continues with a focus on the spicy oak, caramelly and peaty end of the flavour spectrum. Despite its ominous name this is quite a harmonious and elegant drop.
Ready to step things up a notch or two:
Teeling’s Brabazon series focuses on whiskies that have been matured in fortified wine barrels and the new No.4 expression is a thirteen year old whiskey that has gotten the Portuguese Carcavelos cask treatment. The result is not surprisingly a tour de force in terms of full-bodied spiciness.
Sweet aromas of chocolate and tarty sweetness are married with honeyed malts and hint at the luxuriously smooth apples and woody tannin flavours that unfold themselves on the palate, which seamlessly transition to the elongated, biscuity finish, which finds its crescendo in floral and fruity maltiness.
The highlight of my Teeling tasting experience however, was a dram of the Renaissance Series – the second incarnation of this limited series is an eighteen year old that was first matured in ex-bourbon casks to then be further refined in Australian Shiraz barrels, which contributes majorly to the complexity of this non-chill filtered expression.
Ruby coloured in appearance, on the nose there are cherries, summer fruits and strawberries, which are counterpointed by spicy, dark fruity nuances. On the palate a dance of red berries, pears, spicy tannins and red wine ensues, which gains depth the longer you swirl it around. Fascinating.
The moreish finish is dominated by a oaky, spicy nut flavours that are centred around a core of fruity red wine. Needless to say, it leaves one lusting more.
Given the experience from the three expressions I have sampled, I cannot wait to dig deeper into Teeling’s portfolio.
image from company website