Type: Blended whiskey
Price: $A49.90 (Aus), US$32-38 (USA)
Teeling Small Batch is a no age statement whiskey from Ireland. It is a blended whiskey that is non chill filtered, finished in rum casks and then bottled at 46% abv. The kind of barrels used for the maturation of the whiskies that comprise Teeling Small Batch do not appear to have been made public.
On the nose menthol cough drops meet herbal schnapps with a refreshing menthol nip, but underlying the herbal notes are bread and butter pudding, raisins, banana chips, vanilla cream, raw sugar and coffee drops through unfortunately sweet ethanol pierces through the centre of the bouquet and smells like rubbing alcohol. It seems to me that the sharper piercing alcohol collected (which is collected earlier in a distillation run as “heads” and sometimes merged with some of early “hearts”) have not had time to be sufficiently mellowed by oak which means that they, on my nosing, pierced through the bouquet and snapped aggressively with the cutting smell of ethanol.
Sweet tropical fruit emerge, especially lychee in syrup, accompanied by herbal smoke and underlying floral notes, cinnamon, rose Turkish delight, cooked apple and peaches, honey, citrus and a mild creaminess; a symphony of flavours that are unfortunately interrupted by a somewhat rough and sharp bite of alcohol, which seems similar to the cutting burn of a polished vodka or younger whisky.
The finish continues the sweet tropical theme, as papaya and pineapple merge with dark chocolate, star anise, honey, Irish Moss and herbal medicinal cough drops though that lingering burn of ethanol remains.
Cautiously consider it, if you are after an Irish whiskey under $50 that you are more interested in drinking with company rather than analyzing closely. This whiskey strikes me as a no frills offering from Teeling which, despite some lovely flavours, is disrupted by rough and sharp bites of ethanol. This might disappoint the whisky aficionado. Despite its excellent price, I would not buy it. This whisky is a shadow of Teeling’s other (age statement) products, of which the Teeling 21 year old sits at the very top.