Distiller: Teeling. ABV: 46%. Age: five years. Price: $40.
As we’ve gone through this Axis of Whisky experience, I continue to be amazed by the stories behind the whiskies. Whether it’s a legend of a great uncle once removed who ran a moonshine still for Capone, or the rich history of Islay, most of my favorite pours have a great story behind them.
And it’s only fitting that the stories should be good, because whisk(e)y is meant to be sipped with friends while you debate the weighty issues of the day. Or at least bring those friends a little closer.
Dublin’s Teeling Distillery gets this as well as anyone. The story behind the distillery and its master distiller Alex Chasko is a ripping yarn, one that I’ll lay out in detail in a future full-length piece.
But the stories don’t matter if the drink doesn’t stand on its own.
And brother, does the Teeling line stand on it’s own. I’ve been drinking the Single Grain recently, and maybe it’s the American Oak and Cab Sav barrels they use to age the juice, but this and the Single Malt stand alongside Green Spot and Yellow Spot in my class photo of great Irish whiskies.
The Single Grain has a caramel-y nose that offers up vanilla, almonds, and spice around the edges. The palate is where this one really sings for me. There’s a nutty base to it, one that balances out lashes of toffee, vanilla, apricot, and loam. The finish is delightfully sustained. The caramel makes an encore appearance, along with dried apricots and dark cocoa.
These guys are doing some great stuff and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. Sláinte, friends! – TM