Pineau des Charentes — grape juice tempered with young brandy, basically — has been on the rise both as a stand-alone aperitif and as an ingredient in spirit finishing. Next up to make use of these unique barrels is Ireland’s Teeling, which has put its latest ultra-limited release, which starts with a single cast of single malt whiskey, distilled in 1990 and aged for 30 years in an ex-rum cask, into a Pineau cask for a spell (3 years of finishing).
At 33 years of age plus an aggressive finish, this whiskey has taken some bold turns one doesn’t often associate with Irish. Boldly fruity on the nose, the whiskey is heavily perfumed though strangely not really “floral,” offering an immediate tropical quality that exudes pineapple melded with allspice and Maraska cherry. There’s a real tiki quality here that I have to say is not something I would ever expect from anything out of Dublin.
As with last year’s special edition, the palate bursts with flavor. It’s dominated by more pineapple — grilled, perhaps — with bursts of lemon candy, vanilla, golden syrup, and a sprinkle of fresh flower petals across the top. Time in glass will temper all of the above, but I don’t recommend it. This whiskey drinks best freshly poured, with its exuberance on full display, before things have a chance to die down. On the finish: Some almond, touch of strawberry, then hot chocolate. Gorgeous, impossible to put down.
All told, this is another huge winner from Teeling. Already I’m salivating over what the distillery might do next year. That said, I’m saddened yet duty-bound to report that the price on this whiskey is equal to its character. Huge. Vaya con dios.
99.4 proof. 316 bottles produced.
A / $3699 (700ml) / teelingwhiskey.com