Three samples of the lastest limited release small batch Teeling whiskies from Ireland have made their way to maltmileage headquarters in Melbourne: Teeling 24 year old single malt, Teeling 17 year old single malt Jim Barry Shiraz Cask Collaboration, and Teeling whiskey stout cask collaboration with Galway Bay brewery. Now, with three whiskey glasses sitting ready, it is time to taste these whiskies from the Emerald Isle.
Teeling 24 year old is a particualry special whiskey because in 2019 it was crowned the world’s best single malt! The new make that would become this whiskey was first distilled in 1991 from a wash made with 100% malted barley. That new make was matured for 21 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then aged for an extra 3 years in ex-Sauterine wine casks, to bring the total time ageing in oak to 24 years. The whiskey’s last 3 year stint in oak, during which it soaked up the aromas and flavours from the Sauterne wine casks, seems to have given this single malt a spectacularly sweet and fruity edge that tastes and smells like stewed peaches, lychee and syrupy honey. That sweetness sits beautifully alongside deep wood and spices, dark chocolate and mild wisps of wood smoke, and gently fades into soft lychee, hints of nuts and zesty candied orange with flashes of marmalade. Teeling’s decision to finish this whiskey’s maturation in Sauterne wine casks for three years was an absolute masterstoke. The single malt’s depth of flavours, cultivated from spending 24 years in oak (21 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then 3 years in ex-Sauterne casks), seems enlivened by the sweet Sauterne wine flavours, making for one of the finest whiskies I’ve had the pleasure of tasting.
Teeling 17 year old single malt Jim Barry shiraz cask is the product of a collaboration between Teeling and South Australia’s Jim Barry wines. This whiskey finished its maturation in ex-shiraz oak barrels that held Jim Barry’s 2016 release, “The Armagh” (interestingly, it is the first Irish whiskey to be matured in Australian wine barrels). The whiskey tastes of deep black cherries, dark berries and plums, but it also has a nice layer of honeyed sweeness and creamy vanilla.
Teeling whiskey stout cask finish is the product of a collaboration between Teeling and Irish craft Brewery Galway Bay, which is based on Ireland’s west coast. This is a noticeably younger whiskey, with notes of malt and a spirity kick that leaves the taste of unripened grapes and slightly bitter orchard fruit on the back palate.
All three whiskies are bottled at 46%abv.
*Thanks to Teeling Whiskey and Nicole Archer Communications for the opportunity to taste these whiskies.