I’ve written extensively on the Teeling brand, which continues the Teeling family tradition of dragging Irish whiskey, kicking and screaming, into the future after selling Cooley and its assets to Beam-Suntory. The new Teeling distillery, opened in 2015, has not yet released spirit from its own stills, instead finishing and rebranding sourced Irish whiskey to fund operations. I was very impressed by the 15 year-old Revival that I reviewed recently, but I’ve also had a few Teeling whiskies (like the small batch blended whiskey) which I didn’t care for. The single grain was somewhere in the middle.
The Single Malt from Teeling is a vatting of 5 (or more) difference Irish single malt whiskies of different ages (ages undisclosed), consisting of whisky aged in – get this – Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Apparently one of the barrels was filled in 1991 (age approximately 23 years at time of bottling), although I’d guess the rest are in the “slightly under 10” category. These barrels are all likely sourced according to The Internet, Source of All Knowledge – from Bushmills, although the company doesn’t disclose its whisky sources. The whisky is bottled without chill filtration.
Nose: Green, vegetal. Reminds me of aloe vera. Not sweet – only some faint vanilla and pale malt. Shy – I really have to dig around in the glass for the aroma. After a rest in the glass… more of the same.
Palate: Thin bodied. Some elegant vanilla bean and fresh cream up front is followed by a brief tongue burn. Next, a high note of kiwi or starfruit which I recognize from Teeling’s 15-year Revival. Then, an evolution into tutti-frutti bubble gum. Interesting, and not at all what was suggested by the aroma.
Finish: Short. Some of that tropical fruit shows through, along with a hint of menthol. Very nice.
With Water: A few drops of water do absolutely nothing for the aroma. Skip the water here, let that 46% ABV shine.
Overall: A bit of a contradiction. The aroma is – to put it mildly – bad. An unpromisingly bland vegetable quality that even a few drops of water can’t improve. On the tongue, however, the malt comes alive with rare fruits and a continuous evolution that continues through the end of the finish. This is a bit like The Revival that I tasted, but dumbed-down and cut off at the knees. I can’t really recommend this because of the pallid aroma and the plus-$50 price point, but if you find it on clearance you might discover those kiwi notes that I liked so much and feel it was worthwhile.