“Saint Patrick was a gentleman who through strategy and stealth, drove all the snakes from Ireland. Here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings lest you lose yourself and then Forget the good Saint Patrick…And see all those snakes again.”
(A dram of good Irish whiskey and one of my all-time favorite Pink Floyd albums)
I’ve been fortunate to travel often to Dublin, Ireland often and it’s honestly my favorite city on the planet. The people are friendly the food is vastly improved from my collegiate experience and “Yanks” are most definitely welcome. I love the fact that I now have an office there, so why not go out on a high note. As the clock strikes twelve ten years have now got behind me since meeting the great love of my life and today marks my 38th trip around the sun.
(The Long Hall. Dublin, Ireland)
The first time I tried Teeling I was two pints deep at the Long Hall (which by the way has one of if not the best Guinness pours in the whole of Dublin). This could account for my initial impression of this whiskey being earth shattering. Since sobering up I’ve determined that it’s just really, really good.
(The copper stills at Teeling are even more impressive in person)
Color: Pale Yellow
Nose: Robust. Consisting of a blend of caramel chocolates, salt cured bacon, anejo tequila and dried citrus fruits. It’s like a premium tequila was unknowingly (or mistakenly) poured into a European oak barrel. Spicy, but not overwhelming. Sweet & fruity aromatics as well.
Palate: Sea salt, caramel, coffee grinds, cigar wrapper, tobacco, black pepper, subtle dried fruit notes…clove & cinnamon too. If a 3 Musketeers bar and a Caramello had a baby, it would be a Milky Way and if you distilled a Milky Way and aged it in a European sherry cask this is what you’d get. The more it opens the sweeter it gets.
Finish: Its smooth, but on the thin side…like butter scraped over too much bread. Lacks the oily mouthfeel of its barrel proof American cousin. It is close to being great, but needs something more at the end. As the alcohol evaporates off the tip and sides of my tongue I’m getting red berries, toasted wood, hazelnut, chocolate & a hint of licorice. My wife loves Ferrero Rocher and this honestly reminds me of it a little bit. It’s a little dry too. I feel like I’ve stuffed cotton balls in my cheeks…I think a splash of water would help put out the flames. It’s low in peat, not very oily and its missing the briny seaside ocean characteristic I’ve come to appreciate in my favorite scotch/whiskey producing regions of coastal/highland single malt scotch from Islay & Campbeltown. The one thing I do appreciate is that it doesn’t taste overly peaty or smokey. This is a very solid Irish Whiskey that subtle works well for. There are plenty of people who believe that peat bog & campfire are admirable qualities of their scotch. I’ll add to each their own….your favorite whiskey is the one you enjoy drinking most and most importantly being that I was there for St. Patrick’s Day…”May the winds of fortune sail you, May you sail a gentle sea. May it always be the other guy who says, ‘this drink’s on me.'”
(Taking a moment to breathe the salt air from the Ha’ Penny Bridge on the River Liffey)
All in all I’d say this Brabazon first release was well worth the effort to drag it back from Europe. Hits all the right notes, but I will add that it was by no means the best bottle I brought back from that trip. This is one of the advantages to travel exceeding 130,000 miles in the last calendar year. You have many opportunities to drink, purchase and collect phenomenal juice.