The Teeling family, founders and former proprietors of the Cooley Distillery and now running the new Teeling distillery, have released a series of sourced rare whiskeys to commemorate the opening of the distillery, the first in Dublin in 125 years. This, the first of four (so far), is a 15 year-old Irish single malt that is almost certainly a Cooley malt (it pretty much has to be that, or Bushmills). Although, word is their baseline NAS single malt is from Bushmills, so who knows.
The whiskey was distilled in 1999 and matured exclusively in Caribbean rum casks and bottled without chill filtration at 46% ABV. Only 10,000 bottles of the limited edition were released, and retailed in select countries (not the US) for £85 to £100.
Nose: Dripping with rum notes (vegetal sugar cane fibers, molasses, raw cane juice) and tropical fruits (kiwi, orange peel, pineapple), and a touch of menthol, there is still a layer of barley grain under all of the adornments. Very nice.
Palate: Syrupy body. Passionfruit up front, with bubble gum (tutti-frutti), cane sugar, and fruit punch. Light tongue burn, but no further development.
Finish: Medium-long. More fruits, now accompanied by tropical flowers, usher out the finish. No off notes.
With Water: A few drops of water initially mute the aroma, requiring a rest. The water does seem to perk up the fruity notes and adds a bit of nondescript perfume. Water optional, but the whiskey can handle it.
Overall: A pleasure. This is what Teeling’s flagship rum cask finish should have tasted like. A barrage of tropical-ness that makes you feel like you’re sipping good Irish whiskey on a beach near the equator, with no heavy cloying dark rum notes. Practically a pre-made whiskey Mai Tai (is there such a thing? There should be…). A pity this is sold out basically everywhere.
Anyway, if you find an opportunity, this is a good example of the “right way” to finish something in rum casks. That makes it a “Must Try”.