Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Irish whiskey
Showing posts with label Irish whiskey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish whiskey. Show all posts

Friday, 10 March 2017

Teeling Whiskey - Dublin

In the heart of Dublin's famous Liberties sits Teeling: the first distillery to open in Dublin city for around 125 years. The grey stone exterior matched the slightly lighter sky as we walked under a burnished copper phoenix furnishing the glass entrance doors. We were met by welcoming faces in the lavish yet cosy visitors' centre and booked on our tours.

The tour itself starts in a museum of sorts, portraying the history of Dublin's distilling past, then onward to a slick marketing video before moving on to the actual production floor. One unit houses the entire production cycle, from modern mash mixer and lauter tun through to the fermenters, a mixture of modern stainless and more traditional oak vessels. Finally, across on the back wall are the three copper spirit stills (named Alison, Natalie and Rebecca after Jack Teeling's daughters), oh so slowly changing from their current burnished rose gold colour to an eventual algae green over time. This tour of the compact distillery differs from many facilities of similar volumes of spirit, us being used to the more sprawling distilleries of rural Scotland.


Teeling as a brand itself is still new to the scene, established in 2012 with the distillery opening in 2015 - however, the Teeling family itself has been prolific in the whiskey industry since 1782. Stephen and Jack Teeling, the two brothers heading up the distillery, were initially part owners of Cooleys, but opted out when it was bought by Beam Inc. in 2011. With them, they brought a stockpile of aged whiskey over to the Teeling brand, the oldest released at the moment being 33 years. This means that the distillery can release well aged and kept whiskey and not be forced into rushing out young spirits.

Whilst in a lot of distilleries you are able to look around a warehouse of rows upon rows of wooden barrels, at Teeling this is not the case. Restrictions were put in place due to a great fire in 1872, where rivers of flaming alcohol flowed into the streets from a duty warehouse and malt store, destroying the best part of £5million of whiskey in today's money, as well as houses and animals in the tenement of the working class around. All spirit is now stored safely outside of the city.

Our tour guide, Eve, was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the company, sharing family history alongside local Dublin lore and a clear passion for the product. Once our tour was complete, we moved into the tasting area for some sampling.


We opted for two different tastings - Laura going for the Small Batch release which was served with a Winter Spice cocktail.

The Small Batch is based on a 75/25 corn and barley blend, aged in bourbon and subsequently finished in Nicaraguan rum, releasing waves of spicy creaminess, vanilla warmth and a rum character worthy of pirates. The cocktail comprised a Small Batch base with Teeling's own vanilla liqueur, a homemade cinnamon and apple syrup, and chamomile and lavender "Put the cat out" tea from local suppliers Wall and Keogh. The result was a warming, floral delight that was perfect to brighten up a dull winter's day.

Despite it being but early in the day, Jim decided to go for the top tier of tastings, sampling the Single Malt, Revival II and a port wood single cask. The Single Malt was a delightful blend of 6 casks: bourbon, madeira, port, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Burgundy and sherry. Figs and forest berry massive on the nose, with a canteloupe freshness following up. The finish was reminiscent of sweet port, but with a dry finish and a touch of saltiness towards the end.


The second release of the Teeling Revival was aged for 12 years in bourbon and then for a final year in calvados barrels, resulting in a wonderful vanilla sweetness and a rounded body that is rich and smooth on the palate, and an apple pie finish.

Finally was the distillery exclusive single cask - an eight year old whiskey finished for a year in port wood, and bottled at 60% cask strength. A pale and delicate colour, but with bold flavours of dark chocolate and rich fruits with a huge black forest gateau character.

We completed our trip with lunch in the cafe, delicious sandwiches and more Wall & Keogh tea rounding off a great experience. A highly recommended destination for anyone fancying a break from all that Guinness!

Slainte!

Jim & Laura

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

St Patrick's Day: Irish Whiskey Tasting

We're pretty much novices when it comes to Irish whiskey, so decided to use St Patrick's Day as an excuse to explore a little. Rather than go out to face the inevitable monstrosity of annual Guinness drinkers, we stayed in, and ordered a bundle of treats from the Emerald Isle from the folks at Flaviar. Among them was the "Whiskey in the Jar'ow" tasting set, comprising the following five drams...


Greenore 8 Year Old - 40%

Colour: Sunlit straw
Nose: Candied walnuts drift initially with a little spice that breaks from the glass after a moment. An interesting sweetcorny note acts as a base to the harmony of aromas.
Palate: Strawberry and cream boiled sweets, super smooth and drinkable.
Finish: A tart lemon meringue pie to close the flavours.


Redbreast 15 Year Old - 46%

Colour: Sun-kissed beach
Nose: Opening with a spicy dry rye character that is carried well with a treacley hum. A dry essence of hay provides contrast and balance.
Palate: Oily and rich sweetness of lavender honey, with a pecan pie and maple syrup stickiness.
Finish: The wonderful character is lifted with peppermint that freshens the mouth delightfully.

Bushmills 16 Year Old - 40%
Whiskey to shout about!

Colour: Burnished amber
Nose: Oddly savoury in the background with woody dried herbs. Autumn fruits and pruny sweetness come to the fore alongside a prominent oak characteristic.
Palate: Leathery ash, well spiced, with strong pine oil.
Finish: Berries and tree sap continue afterwards, filling the mouth with a continued resinous nature.

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve - 40%

Colour: Vibrant amber
Nose: Classically Irish... vanilla, smooth fruity caramel, and oak. A hint of white chocolate ripples under the surface.
Palate: Smooth and gentle, with a sweet and salty contrast.
Finish: A light rosewater tang develops on the aftertaste, with a long aromatic finish and continuing briny character.

Connemara Peated - 40%

Colour: Spun gold
Nose: Definite peat! Fresh seaweed, reminiscent of being on a beach as the tide goes out. A tiny floral note of freesias is just apparent in the background.
Palate: Creamy and smooth, with dark chocolate and rich coffee.
Finish: A slight wisp of smoke comes in right at the end. It's peaty alright, but not as we usually know it.

We absolutely loved the packaging of the tasting set, which included tasting notes and "instructions" for a tasting night in. The sample sizes were just right for either a little taste of all five between 3 people, or a larger drink to ponder over for 2. The speed and quality of service from Flaviar was also exceptional. We understand the website is still in development, with some features lacking at the moment (such as no option to view open orders) but our email queries were responded to speedily and helpfully. Definitely one we'd recommend.

Cheers,

J&L