We love a bit of Teeling here at Master of Malt, so it was especially exciting to welcome not one, but three new expressions this week.
Brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling haven’t exactly done things the simple way since founding their own distillery, which opened in 2015. There’s been single malt, pot still, single grain, blends, and peated whiskies, some made at the distillery itself and some sourced well-matured stock, all in matured a variety of casks. Few brands, never mind Irish whiskey brands, can boast all that.
While there’s a big focus on everything that happens pre-maturation too, this week we’re drawing attention to what Teeling does with wood. Ginger Beer Cask Finish, Red Wine Cask Finish, Stout Cask Finish, Amber Ale Cask Finish… That’s just a snapshot of the kind of variety you can expect from the Dublin-based distillers. This week alone we’ve welcomed a Pineapple Rum Cask and a Dark Porter, which we’ll get to in a bit. But first, the Wonders of Wood.
It’s a new series from the brand that focuses on innovative cask maturations and the influences of different wood varieties. What’s especially cool is that the team at Teeling has partnered with the Tree Council of Ireland to support native tree planting. By donating a portion of the proceeds from its whiskey, the organisation will be able to replant one hectare of forest in the Glencree region of Ireland, County Wicklow, with native tree species.
The new arrivals
Teeling Wonders of Wood Virgin Chinkapin Oak is the first expression to join the collection. It sees Teeling’s Single Pot Still Irish whiskey treated to full maturation in virgin Chinkapin American white oak casks. The wood has wider grain than other oak varieties, and has imparted a wealth of sweet spice and soft fruit notes to the creamy whiskey within. It’s not a common variety to see in whiskey so this is an interesting sign of what’s to come.
Nose: Buttery fudge, silky caramel, and crisp wafers lead to bold oak and distant hints of soft stone fruits.
Palate: The creamy whiskey has taken on heaps of sweet ginger cake character, with syrup-soaked banana fritters and dollops of vanilla ice cream.
Finish: Warming spices build gradually, with woody herbs, charred oak, and a sprinkling of cacao.
Outside of the Wonders of Wood series we have our two new arrivals. The first is the Pineapple Rum Cask, which features Teeling’s Small Batch blended Irish whiskey, initially matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Central American rum casks, and treated it to a further 12 month maturation in casks that previously contained the mouthwatering Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy rum. The glorious notes of charred pineapple and honeyed sweetness harmonise with the silky whiskey beautifully, making this a uniquely tropical, and tremendously sippable expression.
Nose: Fruity right away with crushed pineapple and a touch of citrus leading to floral vanilla and syrupy sponge cake.
Palate: Meaty malt and creamy grain mingle, bringing sweet vanilla, fresh stone fruits, and a hint of herbal grist, before earthy charred oak and tangy caramelised pineapples join.
Finish: Bittersweet citrus kicks in towards the finish, tangling with prickles of cracked pepper and aromatic oak. Burnt sugar, juicy pineapple, and earthen vanilla pod linger amongst the spice.
Then joining the Small Batch Collaborations series is Dark Porter. This time Teeling’s Small Batch blended Irish whiskey is treated to a finish in Dark Porter casks from a Dublin-based brewery, Dot Brew, which in turn got those casks from its friends at Teeling. It took a selection of ex-Central American rum casks, previously used to marry Teeling Small Batch, and filled them up with glorious dark beer. Those casks were then emptied to Teeling could pop its Small Batch back in there, to get all those rich, dark, chocolatey malt notes from the porter. A splendid collab between neighbours, and ought to pair very nicely with a good dark beer.
Nose: Rich dark chocolate, treacle, whispers of vanilla, and hoppy malt.
Palate: Burnt caramel and earthen coffee tangle with sweet baking spices and distant, floral berries.
Finish: Hoppy, herbal notes develop in the depths, with crackles of woody spice and zingy orange peels. Hearty malt, sweet toffee, and cocoa linger.