This past weekend we had what I like to call a Very Dublin Weekend. On Friday night we went out to dinner at Fade Street Social with a bunch of Alan’s co-workers and closed down the place. Walking down the road to The Long Hall, we also closed down that place. While there people were talking about what they were going to do with the rest of their weekend and I announced we would be heading off to The Liberties to explore Teeling Whiskey Distillery the following afternoon.
Back when we still lived in Oakland, I was feeling under the weather and had asked Alan to pick me up a bottle of Jameson so I could make a hot toddy before bed. The spirits store near his office only dealt in high end spirits and so he arrived home with a bottle of Teeling Whiskey, something I’d never heard of before. We opened it and it was a revelation. I declared myself a fan. Since moving to Dublin, we’ve picked up a couple of bottles, including a bottle of the Teeling Single Madeira Cask Irish Whiskey (something I haven’t seen other distilleries do; sherry casks are all the rage right now), which we’ve been enjoying greatly. With the distillery literally right down the road from our house, we decided to bundle up on that cold, wet Saturday and head out for a tour and tasting.
Many people outside of Dublin who aren’t huge whiskey connoisseurs likely haven’t heard of this brand, but I guarantee you will in the coming years.
Teeling is the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, focused on bringing the craft of distilling back into the very heart of Dublin’s city centre. The new distillery is right back where Teeling started in 1782 and only a stone’s throw away from where Walter Teeling’s old distillery was. Located in an ancient market square called Newmarket in the heart of the Liberties of Dublin – an area long associated with brewing and distilling – the distillery is a three copper pot still operation reviving the traditional style of Dublin whiskey distillation.
Teeling whiskeys stay true to the family tradition of quality over quantity and our belief that it’s what is in the bottle that really counts. While being respectful to the past and our own provenance we are confident enough to forge a new future for Dublin and Irish whiskey through innovation and daring to do things differently. From grain to bottle many hands are involved in our small batch production process to ensure that each bottle of Teeling is crafted to the highest standard possible. Each bottle carries the signature of Jack Teeling along with details of the casks used and when bottled reinforcing the hand crafted nature of Teeling Whiskey. Our goal is to retain the drinkability of Irish whiskey but bring in new and interesting flavours to compliment the naturally smooth and sweet taste of Irish whiskey.
We started the tour in the gallery space where we were treated to a self-guided history of whiskey making in Dublin, which goes back to 1405, up to 1782 when Walter Teeling set up his distillery, and then through the heyday of Irish whiskey and crash around the time of prohibition. I loved seeing the old bottles and thought the way the information was presented was both informative and stylishly done.
Teeling isn’t your grandpa’s whiskey distillery. These guys know both their craft and how to market it to a savvy, sophisticated audience.
Once we were given enough time to go through the exhibition, we were greeted by a Teeling employee (whose name I regretfully cannot remember), who welcomed us to the distillery and started the tour. We learned about the history of the whiskey, the distillery, and its return to Dublin. From there we were walked through the heart of the distillery where we were immediately surrounded by the luscious, tantalizing scent of fermentation. Yeah, I kind of love that smell.
And then it was on to our tasting. We’d signed up for the Teeling Single Malt Tasting which included (as you might guess from the name), the Teeling Single Malt, The Revival Single Malt, and the 23YO Single Malt. The tasting usually includes the 21YO, which we’ve had a few times and absolutely, freaking love, but for some reason they’d adjusted the tasting to focus on a different bottling year. We’re familiar with the single malt, but I was really looking forward to trying the Revival, which did not disappoint. The 23YO was interesting – it had a very sweet flavor profile and felt more viscous in the mouth than others we’d tried. I liked it more than Alan, but compared to the 21YO, there was no comparison in my mind.
We wrapped our our visit with a special tasting of a white burgundy cask that was available for self-bottling. Or at least I think it was … the guy sitting at the bar next to me said it wasn’t available, but when I ordered it, the brand ambassador hadn’t indicated as such. They also had a very old sherry cask available to taste, but since we weren’t going to buy it, we decided to skip it. The white burgundy cask was really interesting. Fruity, sweet, tempting on the palate. In the end, we walked away with a bottle of the 21YO because … well, I couldn’t help myself.
This Silver Reserve bottling consists of 21 Year Old Irish Single Malt whiskey matured firstly in Bourbon casks then allowed to marry in Sauternes wine casks for an extra twelve months to provide a full flavoured Irish whiskey taste experience. Consisting of only hand selected casks chosen for their distinctive taste qualities this small batch bottling is limited to just 5,000 bottles and was honoured as the Best Irish Single Malt in the World.
Spending a couple of hours at Teeling was a great way to while away a cold, rainy Dublin afternoon. I can’t wait for people to start visiting us so I can drag them back.