In 2012 Jack Teeling sold his Connemara distillery for €71 million to Beam Inc. and everybody, especially Jack himself, thought that would be his end in the Whiskey business. Back to buildings and properties or so it seemed. But Jack wouldn’t be Jack and Whiskey wouldn’t be Whiskey, so Jack hatched a new plan for a new brand and a new distillery that has just been opened this month in Dublin. Up ’till now, the standard range consists of a Small Batch release, finished in Rum, a Single Grain, finished in Red Wine casks and a Single Malt Whiskey that is surprisingly not finished! (At least it doesn’t say so on the label). Also three super premium Whiskies are released. A 21yo (Silver, Sauternes finish), a 26yo (Gold, White Burgundy Wine finish) and finally a 30yo (Platinum, like the Single Malt, unfinished). These three don’t come cheap. This year Teeling started to release Single Cask bottlings in Germany, Belgium and this release for the Netherlands for the Specialists’ Choice. All again finished in different casks: Port, Rum, Carcavelos and today’s special: Madeira. By the way the picture on the left is from another Single Cask release, since I don’t have a picture of the new release just yet…
Color: Reddish orange gold.
Nose: fresh air, new wood, not necessarily only oak and definitely notes of a sweet wine. Milk chocolate, mocha and luke warm coffee with lots of milk. Slightly oxidative, spicy and creamy. Paper towel with a tiny hint of soap. Young, spicy and vibrant. With young I don’t mean that it reeks of new make spirit. I mean vibrant, lively. Very appetizing. Lovely nose. It reminds me a bit of Single Malt Whisky, when it was new to me. Barley, sappy oak, grassy, creamy vanilla, some mint, red lemonade and a fresh pot of coffee.
Taste: First is a hot mixture of oak and sweet white wine, biting each other a bit. Its sweet and has notes of acidic oak, but also spicy oak and paper. Another layer contains hints of hard to get red and black fruits, something not quite uncommon to other Irish Whiskey’s like Jamesons 18yo and Redbreast 15yo. It seems a bit disjointed, especially when the sweetness is pulsating and the wine turns from a sweet entry into something a little bit more sharp. But you can’t not like it. It’s really an enfant terrible, but it still charms you into liking it and forgiving it. When it’s faulty it’s a lovely fault. Slightly bitter in the finish soon overpowered by different shades of wood, spicy and acidic, add to that the contributions of the Madeira and you have something you can’t put down, but is not entirely easy.
For me this is an example why Whiskies like this should be cask strength. The aroma’s seem enhanced by the higher strength and a Whiskey like this should bite you back a bit. It’s not your simple entry-level Whiskey. Are you experienced?