When Dublin’s Teeling released its Chinkapin Oak aged whiskey last year, I don’t think it was intended to be the first in a series — or at least I didn’t realize it at the time. Now the company is out with a follow-up in what it’s calling the Wonders of Wood (WOW) series — all single pot still, limited edition expressions that will explore some of the most unusual wood types you can use to make barrels.
This time up it’s oak again, sourced from Portugal. Portugal has plenty of trees, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of Portuguese oak being used for anything in the wine or spirits space.
Ready for the details?
The second edition of the WOW bottlings consists of Single Pot Still crafted from a recipe of 50% malted barley and 50% un-malted barley, which has been triple distilled in the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin and then matured in virgin Portuguese oak barrels. Portuguese oak is native to the Iberian Peninsula and has a higher tannin content than other oak variants normally used in the Whiskey industry. When used for maturation it produces a distinct savoury marmalade flavour with warming hints of tobacco and pepper unique to Irish whiskey. This follows on from the first edition of the series which was honoured at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards for its quality, picking up the title of the World’s Best Single Pot Still, building on Teeling Whiskey’s global reputation for producing some of the best whiskies in the world.
Teeling Whiskey has always taken great pride in its ability to give back to its local communities. As part of this mission, each bottle of Wonders of Wood purchased will facilitate us to work with the Tree Council of Ireland in the reforestation of a designated area of woodland with exclusively native Irish trees. The first release allowed for an acre of native oak trees to be planted in the Glencree region of County Wicklow just outside of Dublin. The second release will allow for a second acre to be planted this time in County Dublin, again in partnership with the Tree Council of Ireland.
Jack Teeling, Founder and Managing Director of Teeling Whiskey commented, “Wood is an amazing, sustainable and environmentally friendly material that plays a huge role in developing the flavour and character of a whiskey as it matures. We are truly in wonder of the role wood has in crafting our Teeling Whiskeys as well as its impact on the wider environment, so as part of our new series we wanted to do our part in helping the replanting of our native Irish forests.
This is another top shelf release from Teeling, taking the Irish whiskey formula and spinning it enough to become something entirely different — and exciting. The whiskey starts off as quite racy on the nose, redolent of warm grass and tons of baking spice; you could easily mistake this for an American rye whiskey and for me the aromatics tend to boggle the mind. It’s nothing like any other Irish whiskey I’ve ever experienced.
On the palate, the whiskey doubles down. Big fruit notes find counterparts in fistfuls of baking spice, loads of gingerbread, and a serious layer of spicy, toasted oak. What does Portuguese oak bring to the table? Cracked black pepper, pipe tobacco, a layer of dark chocolate, and plenty of oily furniture polish to bring up the rear. It’s bracing, touched with mint and a pinch of asphalt or pencil lead. This earthy quality tempers the aggressive attack, leaving the drinker with plenty to think about.
Teeling’s been knocking it out of the park lately, and this release only continues that impressive run.
A / $99 / teelingwhiskey.com