A couple years ago, Dublin’s Teeling put out a single pot still bottling made from a 50/50 blend of malted and unmalted barley, which was triple distilled and matured in a combination of American virgin oak, bourbon, and sherry casks. Now Teeling is back with a twist on the formula, aging the whiskey in full in virgin Chinkapin American white oak barrels. (Chinkapin oak, aka quercus muehlenbergii, is native to eastern and central North America. It is not commonly used in barrel-making.) No age statement, just like the earlier single pot still.
Side by side with the earlier single pot still bottling — which I am liking quite a bit more now than on its initial release — you can immediately see how much darker the whiskey is. Virgin oak will do that, of course. The nose is 180 degrees different, too: Heavy with wood instead of malt, it is enveloping and peppery, with curious overtones of eucalyptus and licorice. It leans heavily on the barrel, but it feels like it works much better here than in young American whiskeys. The palate is laden with spice. Traditional cinnamon and nutmeg notes push into a nuttier gingerbread character, really building in power as the finish emerges. The fade-out sees clear spiced walnut elements balanced by notes of dried banana chips and subtle notes of milk chocolate.
If you see this limited edition bottling on the shelf, grab it along with a bottle of the distillery’s peated Blackpitts release.
A- / $99 / teelingwhiskey.com