Dublin’s Teeling Whiskey continues its run of ultra-limited, crazy rare bottlings, the latest being this, a single malt aged distilled in 1990, matured in bourbon barrels for 28 years, and finished in a single Portuguese Purple Muscat French Oak cask for an additional four years, bringing the grand total up to 32 years of age. Purple Muscat, you ask? It’s really just one of dozens of synonyms for Muscat Rouge, a red variety of the more familiar Muscat grape, though clearly this wine was made in Portugal — specifically the Setubal region near Lisbon. 283 bottles were produced, all for sale only in the U.S.
Miraculously, we scored a sample, so let’s dig in.
Intensely amber in color, there’s no mistaking you’re getting into something well-aged and special when you tuck in here. Nutty and fruity in equal measure on the nose, overtones of mellowed oak wash over you, tempering notes of honeyed grains, vanilla, and graham crackers. That said, the aromatics are restrained; despite the age and the wine barrel finish, this whiskey never bursts out of the glass in earnest. The palate is another story. Here things are downright explosive, first with slightly sweet wine notes — red berries, a clear Muscat wine note, juicy raisins, and some floral incense notes. It’s enveloping and beautiful, but as the finish arrives the whiskey falls back on its Irish roots, giving airtime to notes of honey and fresh grains, brown butter, and lingering vanilla notes.
No, it isn’t easy (or cheap) to make a 32 year old whiskey like this, but damn if the results don’t speak for themselves.
A / $3500 (700ml) / teelingwhiskey.com