A visit to Teeling Distillery

Molloys Liquor store on Francis St. is so close to Teeling’s Distillery, that we thought it would be a neighbourly thing to go and say hello. So we did that last week, en masse.
The building phase was very exciting, as was the TV programme that accompanied it, showing Jack and Stephen Teeling’s trials and tribulations in setting up the first distillery of its kind in 125 years. Their father, John Teeling, had built up Cooley Distillery from humble beginnings in 1979, and had sold it to Jim Beam for €73m in 2011. Nice one!
Relative to some of the bigger Irish distilleries, it’s nicely compact and very modern. The minute the distillery door opens, you are greeted by a strong smell of fermentation. You can touch (carefully) the Lauter Tun where malted barley is heated to extract starch, making a sort of whiskey porridge sludge. You can stick your head into the wooden washback to see the swirling mass fermenting. You can see the trickle of whiskey coming out into the spirit safe, from the huge Italian copper pot stills. You can see Alex Chasko and his assistants at work around the stills. We liked the fact that the tour is guided, so you can ask questions as you go, like why the stills are different colours. It’s hard to do that with an audio-guide! While maturation isn’t carried out on site (partly because of the risk of fire to local residents), there’s plenty going on to build up a great sense of anticipation for tasting the final liquor!
So, onto the Bang Bang Bar. Who? Any Dub worth his salt knows about Bang Bang. (ask yer Ma, and if she doesn’t know, email us!). Another guided tasting – this time by someone who is allowed to drink (most staff aren’t - should've read the application form more carefully, guys!).
So what’s good about Teelings? Teelings don’t chill filter their whiskeys – they prefer to leave them at higher strength, around 46%, which adds to the mouthfeel and enjoyment. They distil in small batches, so there is possibly some slight variation in the casks and finishing. The styles produced are quite different to the current norm we’ve become used to in Ireland, but that’s no bad thing. We can easily live with it and learn to love it. Grain whiskey is hugely popular among Americans, and Malt whiskies are something we’ve never really tried before. If the rest of the world loves them, we’ll give it our best shot! Bring it on!
Teeling’s Small Batch is their flagship Irish whiskey.  It has a higher proportion of malt than most Irish. Once blended, the whiskey is aged in rum casks, which give brown sugar and dried fruits to this lovely woody, spicy whiskey.
Teeling’s Single Grain is very distinctive in taste and style, and is one of only a few single grain whiskies in the world. Corn gives certain sweetness, and it’s then matured for five years in Napa wine casks, which adds red fruit character and sweet spice. Like Bourbon? You’ll love this.
Teeling’s Single Malt is a weird and wacky blend of five individual single malts, some as old as 23 years. The blend is then matured in five different wine casks. It’s one that sneaks up on you, and gives off an incredible, complex, layered flavour range, including everything from figs, to melon to citrus, with a generous dash of sweet spice, and a good dollop of toffee and caramel. We loved it.

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