The month started on a high with the ‘Green Spot’ bringing an entourage of depth and flavour to the playing field. And considering we’re midway through the month and St. Patrick’s Day is pretty much around the corner, it only made sense that I too embrace March as the Irish month of malt. Open curtains – Teeling’s Single Grain Whiskey!
The Teeling’s Small Batch was my first expression from the Irish distillery, and one of my first rum cask finishes. Long story short – a frown upside down and a reminder of how good Irish whiskey can be!
Made with a high proportion of corn, approximately 95% the Teeling Single Grain is undoubtedly almost all grain with only a small chunk of malted barley used in the mix. The higher corn content leads me to expect a rather sweet profile while the column still distillation indicates the resulting wine to be lighter with floral-fruity hints.
Now here’s where the folks have added that touch of uniqueness, when most distilleries would use Ex-bourbon and/or European sherry casks for aging their distillate, this distillery has gone completely renegade with their idea of maturation by leveraging Californian Napa valley Cabernet Sauvignon barrels exclusively from start to end. And considering the whisky isn’t really aged much, somewhere in the vicinity of five years, it does look quite robust, harnessing in all those flavours and woody goodness!
Eye: Deep Gold – Non chill filtered
Nose: Vanilla and cremé brulee with the fruitiness of bananas, poached cherries and strawberry, all held together by the mild earthiness from the wood. Quite a rich influence of wine – decadent raisins, butter, dried fruits and cocoa with the spice of ginger shards and cinnamon twirls towards the tail end.
Taste: Mildly dry with a medium body. Rich and sweet on the palate with dollops of caramel rum cakes, dark grapes and vanilla essence. Definitely spicey on the tongue from the cinnamon and maybe some nutmeg too.
Finish: Medium to long; sweet, dry and mildly spicy.
For a young spirit it does pick up heaps of character from the wine casks. The sweetness from the corn is quite evident and the higher ABV, typical of Teeling expressions is a breath of fresh air. If I were to be critical, it would be the sweetness, which can get a bit over the top but that could be a limitation owing to its sole grain content.
The Teeling Single Grain should in general please the vast majority though might not necessarily pull crowds who prefer heavier and peatier genres. It can easily find its place in a cocktail but does run the chance of being lost if over diluted or taken for granted.
This whisky is surely worth a dash to the liquor store and keeps up with the Teeling tradition making it a must try Irish dram.
Sláinte! And Oh yes – Happy St Patrick’s Day!!