Teeling’s array of sourced Irish whiskey released since the inception of the distillery (all intended to raise funds to keep the company afloat until their distillery output is ready for bottling in late 2018) has been hit-or-miss for me. The entry-level Small Batch bottling is a disappointment, while the limited-edition Revival series has been delightful. None of these bottlings has anything to do with the Teeling distillery, as all 2018-and-earlier bottlings have been whisky sourced from other distilleries in Ireland. Still, we’re here to review whiskey so let’s review some whiskey.
The Teeling Single Grain is a grain whiskey which means it is column distilled from a mash of multiple grains, often corn, rye, unmalted and/or malted barley, and wheat and made at a single Irish distillery. In this case, the mashbill was 95% corn and 5% barley and it was distilled at the Cooley distillery (now owned by Beam-Suntory). The whiskey is fully matured in Cabernet Sauvignon casks from Napa, California for “just under” 6 years (legally speaking, that means it is 5 years of age). The whiskey is bottled without chill-filtration or added coloring at a well-chosen 46% ABV. This type of presentation is usually reserved for the nicer single malts, and it’s nice to see a grain whiskey getting the treatment that, frankly, all whiskey deserves.
This whiskey acorn does not fall far from the tree, as the Cooley distillery (founded by the Teeling family) is known for its Greenore single-grain whiskeys. One could be forgiven for thinking of this expression as simply young Greenore aged in red wine barrels. Those must have been some prime casks because unlike Greenore, this is actually pretty tasty. Spoilers!
Nose: Young, fresh fruit notes of green apple, kiwi, and grape jam. Light but sweet vanilla frosting, and only a faint “vodka” note (acetone). Light, sweet, and clean. A rest in the glass reveals a note of coconut water.
Palate: Soft and syrupy body. Low burn. Tons of coconut up front. Faint grape but without any red wine tannin. Simple syrup. Not much else.
Finish: Of medium length. Continues with coconut, now toasty, and fades without bitterness and only a very slight vodka/acetone note.
With Water: A few drops of water muddy the aroma a bit, muting the tart fruit notes and revealing only a vague cereal element. No water needed here.
Overall: Surprisingly good, if somewhat one-dimensional. The red wine cask might be adding some of the fruit elements, but is very much in the background (a blessing, for a red wine cask). Unctuous sweet coconut notes dominate the palate and are balanced by light tart fruit notes only in the aroma. A pleasant but unchallenging drink. I marked it “Recommended” mostly due to its price-drinkability ratio. If listed for very much above $40 I would think twice.