In the far north of the Scottish Highlands you’ll find Teaninich, a quiet distillery that is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. Teaninich single malt is virtually unheard of, because Diageo uses almost all of it for blending. In fact, this is the first time that Teaninich has ever appeared in the Special Releases lineup. This release was distilled in 1999 and aged in refill American oak hogsheads.
While this isn’t a bad whisky by any stretch, upon sampling it’s easy to see why it’s not widely released as a single malt. Hot, grain-forward, and heavy with wood, it tastes like it could be from just about anywhere. The nose is indistinct, boozy, and a bit rustic. Water is a big help at evening out the experience, bringing out notes of ripe banana, green vegetables, heavily roasted grains, and mushroom — none of which may sound overly appealing, but all of which are better than raw alcohol notes. The finish is on the bitter side, echoing the granary, with a touch of orange peel on top.
All told, this is more of a curiosity than a collectible, the odd man out in this collection, though were it priced at about 90 percent off, it would be a perfectly serviceable daily dram.