Whisky Advent Calendar 2015: Day 14

14 12 2015

Ireland!!  The Whisky Advent Calendar visits its 4th country in 14 days today, and the first to spell “whiskey” with an “E” (standard rule of thumb: if the country has an E in its name, it usually spells whiskey with one too, like IrEland and the UnitEd StatEs).  Irish whiskey is represented by another familiar face from last year’s calendar, but this time we’ve been upgraded, from the Teeling Whiskey Small Batch blend from 2014 to tonight’s Teeling Whiskey Single Malt.  Irish whiskey is generally similar to Scottish whisky except that it is almost always triple-distilled (as was last night’s scotch, the Hazelburn 12 Year, which is anomalous in that regard for Scottish whisky, usually only double-distilled) and unpeated.  The same rules apply in both countries to the single malt designation, so this Teeling is made from 100% malted barley that was distilled by Teeling itself.  The component Teeling whiskies that make up this bottle date back to 1991 and have been matured in a borderline crazy FIVE different types of barrel:  sherry, Port, madeira, white Burgundy (??) and Cabernet Sauvignon casks.  Contrast that to the base Teeling blended whiskey, which was aged only in rum casks and tasted like it.  At $70, this is on the cheaper end of the single malt world.


The nose on this whiskey is the epitome of “pleasant”:  vanilla, banana cream, white flowers, black jellybean and Fig Newtons, all sweet-tinged and ready to enjoy.  This core of sweetness is paired with a luscious textural softness on the tongue, which makes the whiskey feel like it’s just floating in your mouth, weightless.  Wine Gums, chamomile, anise, hot chocolate and marshmallows use the pleasantly simmering 46% abv to warm you up on a cold winter’s night like tonight.  This is like the golden retriever of whiskies, friendly and unthreatening and dependable.  It isn’t as complex or challenging as some of the Scottish malts, but it is immediately gratifying, without any flavours that take some getting used to, making it a great intro whiskey for newbies to the spirit world.  And what a rock star bottle and label to boot!



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