Origin: Dublin (Ireland)
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Ageing casks: Ex-bourbon, finished in ex Rum
Added coloring: No
Owner: Teeling Whiskey Company
Average price: € 33.00
Official website: teelingwhiskey.com
Today I’m talking about Small Batch, the flasgship of Teeling, a very young brand from the Green Isle that has contributed to the renaissance of Irish Whiskeys in recent years.
Teeling is the new company of two veterans of the field: brothers Jack and Stephen opened it in 2015 after the historic Cooley distillery, founded by their father in 1989, was bought by Suntory in 2011.
The story of the Teeling family’s love for whiskey actually goes back much further, at least as far as 1782, when ancestor Walter Teeling threw himself headlong into the business of Irish whiskey, then the world’s best-selling whiskey.
Small Batch was Teeling’s first attempt to revamp the somewhat too conservative (downwards) Irish whiskey sector: it’s a typical Irish blend of corn and barley (75%/25%) distilled three times in pot stills, but not chillfiltered, aged separately in ex-Bourbon casks for six years before being blended for six months in Flor de Caña ex-Rum casks, and finally bottled in small batches at 46% proof (instead of the usual 40%). All at a fairly affordable price.
The success has been remarkable and not at all predictable. Let’s see how it performs on closer inspection.
The appearance is a delicate straw yellow, presumably natural (although this isn’t indicated).
The nose offers notes of hay, fresh grass, a classic background of vanilla and festive spices, and some warmer tones of ripe citrus.
On the palate it’s smooth, quite warm and pleasantly spicy: the typical Irish whiskey drinkability is combined with an unfiltered texture that’s far more interesting than usual. We find notes of exotic fruit, banana bread, lemon cream, some hints of herbs, lots of vanilla.
The finish is quite creamy, not too long, but nicely satisfying with a hint of caramel sugar.
Personally, I find the influence of the Rum cask finish minimised, but that’s not something I’m complaining about. The result is in fact a nice twist on the classic Irish profile, but without overdoing it.
It could be argued that at €30 there is already a lot of much more famous competition, but this is a reward for an innovative operation and a limited production. For the lovers of the genre it will represent a real delicacy, considering that few other products of the Irish New Wave start from such low prices (just the Writer’s Tears, which will be soon on these screens).
The Whiskey Jug