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It's March 17 at 11:25pm and I'm pretty much ready for bed. But being St. Patrick's Day, I cannot slumber until I write up an Irish whiskey - and a new one at that!
Well, at least new to Ontario. New Irish whiskey upstart The Teeling Whiskey Company (ok, not that much of an upstart since the Teeling family has been making whiskey since 1782) have bottled a single grain. This has been fully matured in Californian wine barrels, non-chill-filtered and bottled about a year ago, in March 2014. This is a newly opened bottle for this review.
The colour is a fairly light amber-gold. The nose is both sweet and a little rough: tropical and stone fruits mingle together (peach, mango, pineapple, papaya) overtop industrial alcohol, linseed oil and menthol. Strange bedfellows. Quite herbal. Light butterscotch, with some wine tannins in the far background. Don't add water; it just dilutes everything. Interesting and complex but not altogether successful.
On the palate the combination is similar: tropical fruits with custard, light vanilla and caramel fight for dominance over rough alcohol. A little more gentle than the nose, however. Forget what I said earlier; water improves the palate (though not the nose), smoothing out the rough edges. At the end, the sweetness wins out - becoming a more pleasant dram. Needs more time in oak, methinks, but still enjoyable.
The finish is long but rough, with more peach and apricot, while drying to tobacco ash and coconut. Interestingly, water closes the nose while opening up the palate, turning it into a simple but more-than-drinkable dram. I prefer it to the Greenore 8 Year Old, which may be a fairly close comparison, but I'm not sure I would buy it again. A little rough around the edges, perhaps it needs some time to oxidize in the bottle (I guess we shall see...) Winner of World's Best Single Grain at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards (beating out Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky from South Africa, which I prefer.) Worth a try, you may enjoy it more than I.