Teeling Taster Set - St Patrick's Day 2019

Earlier this month we were lucky enough to receive a taster set of Teeling Whiskey in the post to review on Twitter on St Patrick’s Day. The drams were shared out between Andy and Stu, with the Small Batch blend going to Andy and the Single Malt/Single Grain samples left with Stu.

The Teeling Distillery on Dublin’s banks of the Liffey River have spearheaded the resurgence in Irish whiskey production, the first new distillery to open in the Irish capital for 125 years. Although the Teeling family involvement in the whiskey business spans back to 1792, the new city centre distillery under the management of brothers Jack and Stephen opened in 2015. Along with the core range sampled in this review, they also produce two Brabazon finish malts and a Revival and Vintage collection.

Teeling Small Batch, 46% ABV

Andy let the side down by arriving late to the Twitter tasting (sometimes a 3-year old’s bedtime tantrum just can’t wait) but he soon poured, opened up and tucked into this blend. To give this blend a unique edge, once blended from select casks the whiskey is given some extra maturation time in ex-rum casks. Here are Andy’s “tasting notes”:

Nose: Toffee, malt and banana on the nose with the hint of something darker and spicier from that rum cask finish

Palate: The 46% ABV is appreciated on the palate and it has all the hallmarks of Irish whiskey with dark spice. This is the goth teenager of the range, loitering outside George’s St Arcade no doubt.

Finish: The heat and spice fade away on the finish, leaving a nice trail of nuttiness, banana bread and treacle pudding. Slainte!

Single Grain, 46% ABV

Moving on to Stu who started with the single grain, here are his thoughts. The Single Grain is fully matured in Californian red wine casks and like all Teeling whiskies, bottled with no chill filtration.

Nose: It’s always the nose that captivates me on a single grain… and this doesn’t let me down. Instant hit of honeycomb. It’s light, fresh (lavender maybe?) green fruits to reflect the country’s colours. Demerara sugar. Bit of time to open up and it gets quite earthy/grassy!

Palate: Quite subtle on the palate, the honey remains, the alcohol isn’t too big on this one at 46%, so it’s light and easy, with lots of sweetness.

Finish: It tingles for a while on the tongue with a bit of honey and earth, but the flavours fade fairly quickly. Like St Patrick’s Day itself, it’s over all to quickly… but it still leaves a positive impression, unlike the hangovers!

Single Malt, 46% ABV

Last but not least, the Single Malt. This expression is a vatting of whisky distilled as far back as 1991 and matured in five different wine casks (Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon). Stu’s consummate professionalism abandoned him somewhat at this stage, as his lubricated fingers (stop sniggering at the back!) let the sample bottle fall into the dram. Not one to let minor calamity worry him, he soldiered on with the tasting notes.

Nose: Ah that’s the stuff! Spiced chocolate, apple juice, and a similar grape note to the single grain. Some rich unsmoked tobacco in there too.

Palate: Unlike those stumbling out of the bars after too many pints of Guinness tonight... this is a well balanced palate, with a nice amount of malt, fruity sweetness, and peppery spice. Very enjoyable!

Finish: Sweet and lingering, like malt loaf with a nice chunk of butter on there! Very nice indeed.

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So there you have it, our round-up of Teeling’s core range was both a delight and a joy to us on a fine St Patrick’s Day evening. Thanks to Teeling Whiskey and Drinks By The Dram for providing the samples. Get in touch on Twitter if you have tried any other Teeling’s that have knocked your shamrock socks off and stay tuned for more podcasts very soon.

GUEST BLOG: A Whiskey that gives you Flaming Lips!

Guest blog by Aiden Bertie (Thanks Aiden!)


So here I am, sitting writing my first ever blog, listening to the band “The Flaming Lips”, and drinking a limited release of FEW rye whiskey as I do. It’s no coincidence that I’m listening to this particular band while I drink this though, as this whiskey is a collaboration between FEW Spirits of Evanston, Illinois; and the rock band The Flaming Lips!

Flaming Lips 1.jpg

FEW Spirits, craft distillers of American whiskey and gin, are the first distillery in Evanston since Prohibition and use ingredients from within 150 miles of their distillery to create this whiskey. Rumour has it that they’re named after Francis Elizabeth Willard, a local woman and part of the temperance movement that ultimately led to Prohibition in America, but they stick to the story that they chose the name FEW as they produce spirits for the few. We believe you… This rye whiskey is bottled at 40% which is lower than their other ryes and comes in a bottle with the most amazing artwork, only 5000 have been produced.

Ok, time to ‘fess up’. Before getting hold of this whiskey, I had only briefly heard of the Flaming Lips due to the This is my Dram podcast, apparently they’ve been around since the 1980’s! Shame on me. Why have I never listened before? I’m asking myself that right now while I nod my head and tap my foot to the tune “Brainville”. Which leads me nicely onto the point of this blog, FEW Flaming Lips Brainville Rye!

Flaming Lips 3.jpg

The nose is dominated by a particularly spicy, youthful and grainy aroma, one I think is really unique to FEW bourbon and ryes whiskies. There are some slight orange and toffee notes the more I poke my nose in the glass, maybe a little maple syrup too.

On the palate that same rye spice dominates and there’s a sweetness there but it doesn’t push its way through the spice, it just sits there being sweet and pleasant. There’s mint, not like a mint sweet, but more like a sprig of fresh mint leaves, leaving a herbal note as it disappears.

There’s not much of a finish to speak of, just a little bitterness from the oak lingering on the tongue as the flavours fade.

Overall, it’s a really enjoyable whiskey and one that’s a little different to the other whiskies in my cupboard, a very easy drinker for me.

Back to music, this is a music and whisk(e)y website after all! I was asked to choose an accompanying music video for this blog. After much deliberation, and because I couldn’t easily find a video for Brainville which would have been ideal (it’s a great track, check it out), I have chosen She Don’t Use Jelly. On first listening to this track I was instantly transported back to the 90’s, a time when I was discovering music. It just had that 90’s sound for me and I’ve since listened to it several times! It’s one of a few (pardon the pun) songs that I’m really enjoying lately. Now you can enjoy it too:

A huge thank you to the guys at This Is My Dram for inviting me to write a guest blog for their website, it’s a little different to the reviews I’ve done for our mutual friends down the road in Nottingham, the Bourbon Gents but hopefully you’ve enjoyed it all the same. Also, thanks to Maverick Drinks who ran the Instagram competition that led to me winning this bottle!

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, go and listen to The Flaming Lips. Find me at the following:

Instagram: Bobafett2k6

Twitter: @Bobafett2k6



Caol Ila 18 and 34 year old Mackillop’s Choice single cask

Ramblings by Stu

Taking a vertical tasting very literally... 

Taking a vertical tasting very literally... 

 

Caol Ila is close to our hearts here at This Is My Dram HQ for many reasons. Not only did their 12 year expression become the focus of our first ever podcast (... safe to say we were getting used to the podcast game back then, more one for our more devoted fans... hi Mum!!), but also the name is Gaelic for “Sounds of Islay”! Is there a better choice for a Whisky and music Podcast?

However, whilst I know and love the 12 year expression, the 18 year is less familiar, and the rare 34 year single cask with the moniker “Mackillop’s choice” is totally unfamiliar territory. I’m lucky enough to have a wife kind enough to seek out such expressions as a present for me. She’s a keeper, aye!

Whilst the 18 year expression is widely available (£85 at Master of Malt, though we encourage you to see if you can dig it out at your local whisky shop, see here for our “buy local” map of whisky shops!), the 34 year old Mackillop’s choice seems to be sold out in most places, and a bottle would set you back £280-ish! There are still samples available from Drinks by the dram for £21-22 from Master of Malt if you really want to try it.

Anyway, onto the tasting notes!!

IMAGE.JPG

 

Caol Ila 18 year old

Nose: that classic Caol Ila nose, sweet and subtly peaty, smokey bacon crisps (always get this since Andy mentioned it as a tasting note when we first tried it!), slight honey and liquorice. The wood comes through after it opens up a bit.

Palate: thick, rich, oaky and peaty. It’s like the 12 year old but with added oomph!

Finish: prickly alcohol warmth and sweet peat continues, delightful

 

Caol Ila 34 year old 1980 cask 4962 Mackillop’s Choice

Nose: ok, bear with me on this one... imagine putting some salty smoked mackerel into half a fresh melon... that’s what this smells like, as pretentious as it sounds! The aging has removed some of the peat. It’s fresh, grassy, floral and earthy. Smoke comes across very subtlety and more as the salted smoked mackerel I mentioned. Leaving it to open up further gives a sweet peppery malty spice. Very complex and interesting!

Palate: smooth rich and sweet. The peat is still subtle, perhaps due to the age, which is really satisfying. Melon returns, this time with honey and aniseed.

Finish: long and sweet peaty tingliness, quite drying

Final thoughts...

If you are a massive Caol Ila fan, I recommend you try and get hold of some Mackillop’s choice while you still can just to sample how different, complex and interesting an old single cask tastes from Caol Ila. However if you want a solid Caol Ila expression that is reasonably priced and will always impress, you can’t got too far wrong with the 18 year.

...and the all important tunes?... 

Music to accompany these has to be the sounds of Islay with a song about and island in the sun... fitting for those crisp Islay sunny days, lounging around drinking a dram... it has to be Weezer’s mellow and melodic Island in the Sun. Enjoy.

Palm Ridge Reserve

- by Andy

A big thanks to Ben 'A Dram A Day' Bowers for kindly passing on a sample dram of this whiskey. Find out more about A Dram A Day and please consider making a donation to a very worthy cause here.

Tucked between Orlando's Disney parks and the Ocala National forest, sits Florida Farm Distilleries producing Palm Ridge Reserve, a bourbon-style whisky from the coastal South. The distillers (and cattle farmers) Marti and Dick Waters only produce 500 cases of this whiskey every year, at US 90-proof strength (45% ABV), non-chill filtered and aged for what seems a paltry 9 months - to someone who is usually a Scotch drinker, at least - in small oak casks.

Thanks to some changes to Florida legislation in the 2012 - namely the repeal of House Bill 347, a Prohibition era statute preventing micro-distilleries from selling or tasting whiskey on-site, a number of craft distilleries have been freed up to make a go of it as independent businesses and many are thriving.

In the glass, the Palm Ridge Reserve dram has a rich amber colour, darker than most bourbons. On the nose it strikes me as a young, sharp spirit with a surprising amount of depth for its age, filled with light fruits, dark sugars and cut grass. The palate is chewy, just the right side of astringent with oak char and sweet orange. The finish is a creamy vanilla with a little hint of spice and a background hint of ripe grapes.

This is a really unique and complex whiskey that has given me much to think about in terms of short cask-aging. I'll admit I was expecting to dismiss this as a bit young and lacking in depth, but true to its Orlando origin, it's a veritable Disney parade of rich flavours. I doubt you'll see a bottle on your local shop shelf any time soon given their limited output but it's well worth seeking out if you can find it.

Dram-a-long Song
The Allman Brothers Band - Soulshine
- Florida natives, high achievers at a young age who could be relied on to choose the right notes.

A Dram A Day review
For a considerably more eloquent and informed review of this dram, watch Ben's own review video below.

A Drink At The Old Local

I grew up about 10 miles away from the oldest whisk(e)y distillery in the world – Bushmills 1608 in Northern Ireland. In an industry obsessed with pairing up the sometimes unhappy bedfellows of a whisky’s age its resulting quality, you might expect Bushmills to have all the heritage and resources to turn out some of the finest drams known to humanity. If that were true, of course, the entire craft of whisky distilling would be reduced to a protracted game of chicken to see who could hold their nerve, and their whisky casked, the longest.

I am familiar with Bushmills Original, Black Bush and Bushmills 10 from before I ever fully appreciated whisky and have grown to appreciate each of them on their varied and specific merits. In the meantime the distillery has undergone a high-profile change of ownership, witnessed a resurgent Irish whiskey industry and faced more competition in the last couple of decades than it probably saw in the prior few centuries.

I’ve enjoyed the distillery-only release 12-year single malt, as much for the personalised labels printed on site at the distillery shop marking my wedding and the birth of my son, as for its gentle spice and citrus notes. The 16-year malt is a very fine dram; much-celebrated, increasingly hard to find yet almost mourned in some quarters for not being what it once was, if they’re to be believed. I’ve even enjoyed the hot toddy presented to you in the distilllery foyer as you wait to be drawn into a tour that lingers a little too long in the industrial bottling plant before finally sitting you down for a tasting.

It was only recently that I found both the opportunity and the careless slip of the wallet required to try a measure of the top-of-the-range 21-year single malt, in the eponymous Inn at Bushmills. What is certainly true is that this is a very fine glass of whisky, if you can tear your mind away from the pound-to-millilitre ratio provided by the bar’s price list. The sweet toffee nose leads into a complex array of spicy fruit and nut flavours with a rich menthol-tinged, liquorice finish. It is in turns both violently rich and subtly decadent, like a Mafia interrogator who pauses between each flurry of gut punches to fetch you another Macaron.

What struck me most was how much the aromas and flavours were profoundly evocative of the rugged and precise coastline where I spent my childhood. I can say I’ve drank better whisky, sure, but Bushmills 21 was the closest thing to Proust’s madeleine that I’ve experienced – if we aren’t counting White Lightening cider and acute nausea. It seems that in the world’s oldest distillery, age and quality have indeed learned to live side by side very well over their two decades in bourbon, Oloroso sherry and Madeira casks.