Friday 20 September 2019

Teeling 24yo heads up a trio of new releases for Australia [Tasted #465 - 467]

Teeling is a distillery that's been featured pretty heavily on the blog in the past, and with good reason. They bottle (and distill) a range of unique, varied and fantastic whisky, and seem to have a knack for clever cask finishing, which was clearly on show with three whiskies that recently showed up at HQ...

The first probably needs no introduction - Teeling Whiskey 24 Year Old, judged "World’s Best Single Malt 2019" at the World Whiskies Awards (one of the few competitions whose judging process I respect). The whisky spent 21 years in ex-Bourbon barrels, before undergoing 3 years of finishing in ex-Sauternes casks. This is actually the second time we've tasted the 24yo on the blog, with an earlier batch being tasted back in 2016.

Personally, my interest is always piqued when I see a respectable distillery finishing in something (relatively) obscure like a Sauterne cask, as the results can be hit or miss, but I figure with a whisky like this it's much more like to be the former.

The second hits a little closer to home for Aussies. The Teeling 17-year-old Single Malt Whiskey – Jim Barry Shiraz Cask Collaboration sees Teeling finished (for an unspecified period of time) in barrels which previously held red wine - specifically Jim Barry’s 2016 release of “The Armagh” Shiraz, a "Super Premium" Aussie Shiraz retailing for over $300AUD (the whisky itself comes in at only $200AUD/bottle).

Rounding out the trio is another collaboration and another interesting finish - Teeling Whiskey Imperial Stout Cask Finish, a NAS collaboration with the Galway Bay Brewery based on the west coast of Ireland. Described by Teeling founding brother Jack Teeling as a collaboration coming "full circle", the casks used to mature the brewery's "200 Fathoms Imperial Stout" were originally Teeling Small Batch casks. After maturing the beer once, they were then used to mature Teeling's much-loved Small Batch (see here for our review way back in 2013) once again.

Samples of each were kindly sent our way recently, and despite a leakage incident during shipping (impacting the 24yo sample no less!) there was just enough for Hendy and I to each review and give our thoughts. So without further ado...

Teeling Whiskey 24 Year Old (46% ABV, 24yo, Ireland, $600AUD)
Colour: Rich bright Orange Gold

Nose: Martin: Passionfruit with a dusting of icing sugar, followed by richer notes of maple syrup & blackberry and rounded out with some lemon citrus notes.
Hendy: A strong whiff of pineapple, tropical juice, breakfast cereal or perhaps barley. There is some honey and creamy vanilla mixed on the nose. The nose is light, especially compared with the extremely fruity 17yo.

Palate: Martin: Rich, creamy and mouth-filling beyond what its 46% ABV might suggest.  Passionfruit tart hits you first, then guava, then vanilla essence. There are hints of other tropical fruits (as are so often evident on good Irish drams of this age) - pineapple and kiwifruit. Just a delicious, rich fruity dessert.
Hendy: The palate is velvety and smooth, almost grandeur with layered fruits. The pineapple and tropical juice comes on the palate only very subtly followed by light berries jam. Pop rocks popping candy without the pop (is that possible). The palate is very very creamy, quite viscous and laden with vanilla and subtle hints of those tropical fruits. There's a tiny bit of citrus note that follows & comes through quite late, though the palate remains light and delicate.

Finish: Martin: Long, fruity and slightly smoked. Passionfruit lemon tart, with an almost-burn baked crust, and then some residual oak that hangs on until the end.
Hendy: Very gentle, very long, the fading of the notes is nice and slow and only soft fruity notes linger on.

Rating (on our very non-scientific scale):  93/100 (Hendy) & 92/100 (Martin).


Teeling Whiskey 17 Year Old Jim Barry Shiraz Cask Collaboration (46% ABV, 17yo, Ireland, $199.99AUD)
Colour: Orange gold.

Nose: Martin: Fruity! Oranges and passionfruit, then red berries. Slight hints of banana integrate well too. Fruit salad in a glass.
Hendy: The nose is very fruity. There is creamy mango with some bananas and topped with Ribena juice. There's that homemade danish pastry that have been topped with loads of berries. This nose is amazingly delicious.

Palate: Martin: The red berries are the first thing to hit you. Then there are some oats - creamy breakfast oats. Really creamy. In fact, you know those Uncle Toby's Strawberry Yoghurt muesli bars that Aussie kids often had in their lunch boxes as children? Exactly those. Then there's some white chocolate orange slices to round things out.
Hendy: I'm a big fan of tasting what you nose and this expression does not disappoint. The berries come through prominently with some vanilla and creamy mango ice cream. This is a real fun palate and followed by a slight oak bitterness that's there but does not detract from the fruit notes. After a while, the palate gets a little chalky before some spices hit the back of the palate.

Finish: Martin: Long, ever so slightly dry with notes of strawberry chocolate to the end.
Hendy: Dry and long, the sweet notes remain with slight tingly spices, almost like Pop Rocks popping candy (berry flavours). Overall, very enjoyable and very delicious.

Rating (on our very non-scientific scale):  93/100 (Hendy) & 91/100 (Martin).


Teeling Whiskey Small Batch Stout Cask Irish Whiskey (46% ABV, NAS, Ireland, $79.99AUD)
Colour: Light yellow gold.

Nose: Martin: In a word (or two): yellow fruits. Pear and peach at first, then some banana.
Hendy: Fruity and sweet, there's fresh honey dew and light citrus notes with quite prominent bright and hop nose.

Palate: Martin: Unusual. There's a hoppy, slightly astringent bitterness, then sweetness, then some lemon coming through, but more like lemon-scented cleaning products (that sounds bad, it's not in reality) and white grapes.
Hendy: Creamy and milky, there's a hint of roast coffee beans mixed with some milk chocolate followed by a subtle bitterness, perhaps more of that hops though the hops does not overtake the palate. The creamy stout profile comes through after a while and the bitterness stays on the palate for a while longer.

Finish: Martin: Short to medium in length, with that hoppy, subtle bitterness remaining to the end.
Hendy: The stout remains and becomes prevalent but it's a nice after taste, almost like the after taste you get after that first sip of a fresh cold lager. This is delicious stuff and is very different to the usual fruity Teeling notes.

Rating (on our very non-scientific scale):  91/100 (Hendy) & 85/100 (Martin). Clearly Hendy liked this one more than me!


1 comment:

  1. Beautifully balanced and deserving of its title of single malt whisky of the year. Great dram