I can't forget my two brothers who fell on the field of human dishonour in 2015 and with whom I discovered my first drops of TEELING in Dublin when the distillery was being created (see here):

To Titi and Steph! 🤘



Like a treasure hunt, when you're passing through Dublin, all you have to do is wander from pub to pub, follow the black casks flocked with the white letters TEELING and let yourself be guided just behind the majestic Saint Patrick's Cathedral to the distillery through which the whiskey has once again flowed in the Irish capital.



The sight of a large white phoenix, representing this rebirth, will tell you: ‘This is it, you've arrived at the right port’: the TEELING distillery.


Today I'd like to take you on a journey back in time, to discover the genesis of the Irish distillery and 3 of its products: TEELING SINGLE MALT, TEELING WONDERS OF WOOD Second Edition and TEELING BLACKPITTS BIG SMOKE.




Once my good old BRAD PEAT had calmed down at the idea of discovering new things and was parked on Newmarket Street, it was into a modern distillery that I went and met JOHN TEELING, the family patriarch who had brought the phoenix back to life.


After a suitably warm Irish welcome, like a good academic, he decides to tell me about his ancestor, the mysterious golden triangle of Dublin whiskey and the history of his family.



He sends me back to 1782. He explains that it was in that year that his grandfather Walter Teeling began producing whiskey and built his single pot still distillery in the heart of the capital on Marrowbone Lane. It was here that she worked for 140 years to develop Irish whiskey, until the Pattison crisis swept across the Irish Sea and also affected the distilleries in the Shamrock.


‘Professor Teeling tells me that, at the time, the distillery was far from the only one in the town, as there were around forty distilleries. It was located in what is commonly known as Dublin's Golden Triangle: the Liberties district.



At the time, it did business with names that are still well known today. John (and William) JAMESON (whose distillery remains can still be visited in Bow Street), John POWERS (whose large stills still stand on Oliver Bond Street if you're curious), George ROE (now owned by Guinness), and John BUSBY (now known as the Dublin Liberties Distillery). In the same way, the Liberties district was home to millers, brewers (Guinness already) and coopers, making it the nerve centre of the city's whiskey industry. 



At the end of the 19th century, Ireland dominated the whisky world (80% of world production), well ahead of the Scots.



Being the good academic that he is, John tells me about a dark hour in the history of Dublin.


He explains that on 18 June 1875, a fire broke out in a Malone whiskey warehouse in the heart of the Liberties district, causing the crushing or explosion of nearly 5,000 casks of distillate.


The resulting whiskey river fire was only contained by barrages of horse manure!


The fire has gone down in Dublin's history. The old Irish counters you meet in the pubs are delighted to tell us that on that summer's evening, the burning whiskey flowed through the streets like lava. Some of the locals were swimming and drinking from this river of alcohol in every available container (hats and shoes included). And the only 13 victims of this event died from ingesting the burning alcohol and not from the fire itself (which caused no casualties).


On the other hand, this disaster highlighted the risks of having distilleries and, above all, their stocks right in the middle of the city. 



But back to John. His name is Teeling, like Walter his ancestor, and whiskey runs through his veins! So it was only natural that in 1987, when distilleries in the shamrock island were being counted on the fingers of one hand, he decided to take part in the revival of Irish whiskey and set up a distillery. 



He set his sights on County Louth, on the south-eastern border of Northern Ireland, and created Cooley Distillery on the peninsula that bears his name.


He replaced potato distillation with grain distillation and in 1989, the first drops of his 100% Irish distillate flowed from the 3 stills. It was in this distillery that he created the distillates known as Greenore, Tyrconnell, Connemara and Kilbeggan.



As I said, in the Teeling family, the veins are a mixture of blood and whiskey, so it was only natural that he hired his two sons Jack and Stephen to teach them the trade.


In 2011, the Cooley distillery came under the ownership of the American group Jim Beam, but a good number of casks remained the property of the family (clever John).


This sale is far from the end of distilling for the Teeling Familly! On the contrary, in a way it was the beginning of the adventure.



John Teeling bought the former Great Northern Brewery from Diageo and transformed it into a distillery, which he naturally named Great Northern Distillery Ltd. He diversified his production by offering Irish single malt, Irish Pot Still, Irish grain whiskey, Gin and even Poitin (which I'll let you discover!!) and offered them wholesale. Since 2017, he has even been offering his own single malt Burke's Irish Whiskey (14 or 15 years in cask strength).





In 2011, Jack and Stephen set themselves the challenge of reviving the phoenix created by Walter Teeling in 1782 and extinct since 1923: the TEELING distillery.


Graca to the family production, they offer distillates from the first years. But the project really came to fruition in 2014, when the first stones of the distillery were laid a stone's throw from the historic site in Newmarket Square where I am today (in the Golden Triangle, so to come full circle).


Its stated aim was to produce quality whiskey and revive whiskey production in the heart of Dublin. It has been a pioneer in this revival, bringing in its wake the revival of Roe, Dublin Liberties Distillery and the birth of Pearse Lyons Distillery.... 



To achieve this, they have installed a steel brewing vat, two pine fermentation vats and, above all, 3 large copper stills of Italian origin.


As family is king here, they will bear the names of Jack Teeling's three daughters. ALISON (15,000 litres) transforms the wash into low proof alcohol. NATALIE (10,000 litres) is responsible for purifying and boosting the distillation process by separating the heads and tails. Finally, REBECCA (9,000 l) takes care of the third pass, transforming the distillate into Irish whiskey. Now isn't that family work?



As the distillery is located right in the centre of one of Europe's major tourist attractions, it had to have an attractive visitor centre worthy of the name. And that's exactly what we've done here, with a wide range of historical and, above all, tasty discovery areas and a Bang Bang Bar where I recommend you take a break!


It was in this setting that the two Teeling brothers (and their teams) began producing whiskey in June 2015, and were able to fill their first casks (the very first of which still sits in the distillery, sheltered by a grille). To avoid a second river of whiskey in the event of a fire, the distillate is then stored in a location outside the town.



As you can see, this is a family business. Since 2015, the distillery has been in charge of Irish single malt under the direction of Alex Chasko (master distiller) and sources its Irish single grain from John Teeling's distillery. The blends are then made by the distillery's own teams.


As in the world of whiskey, time is everything, the two brothers have had to be patient? While waiting for the first products to age, Teeling was able (thanks to their father's supplies) to offer a Single Grain (a blend of a lot of corn and a little malted barley, aged in American red wine casks) and above all the one that was to be called Small Batch (a blend of malt and grain whiskey aged in bourbon casks, then blended for 1 year in rum casks).



However, thanks to the stocks set aside when the Cooley distillery was sold, the Teeling brand has long been offering products with more than respectable age counts. 



Once I'd had a tour of the estate and seen some of the fine displays designed to showcase the Irish angels' share and the different types of casks used in production (ex rum casks, ex Bourbon casks, sherry casks, port pipes, Madeira casks, white Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon casks, and ex Californian red wine casks...) or to discover the ultra-private cuvées made to mark the arrival of descendants, John led me into an alcove in the visitor centre for some fine tasting sessions. ) or to discover the ultra-private cuvées made to mark the arrival of descendants), John took me to an alcove in the visitor centre for some fine tastings, which I will present to you here. 








Teeling's single malt is one of the new distillery's first releases (subtle annotations on the labels attest to its provenance). Since 2015, it has been produced 100% by the Teeling teams from malted barley and spent 5 years in a wide range of wine casks before bottling: Cabernet Sauvignon, white Burgundy and Madeira casks, as well as Port and Sherry.



It is a light gold colour with some more pronounced highlights.


The first nose of this whiskey is a veritable basket of fruit, hidden behind the fresh, slightly woody notes of youth.


Once the woody notes have faded, the second whiff reveals peach, ripe melon, plump figs and, at the end, tagada strawberries.


On the third pass, there's a hint of vanilla sweetness and a very light hint of spice, bringing us back to the initial woodiness.



On the palate, the first notes are sweet and fruity, with more red fruit than on the nose. This is followed by light spices on the tongue and woody notes on the palate. The finish reveals its age, with velvety notes of green wood and cloves.


The finish is long, with tannic notes that remind us of its time in various wine casks.


The empty glass retains a few fruity notes at first, but reveals woody, lemony and above all cereal notes.






Teeling's Wonder Of Wood series celebrates the wood used to make the casks in which whiskey is stored. It allows you to taste whiskey aged in new casks of different species.



The first episode showcased the American oak CHINKAPIN and was widely acclaimed as the best Pot Still 2022.


The second instalment, which we will be tasting today, features Portuguese oaks.


The third and latest volume features Swedish oak.


Teeling's approach to this series of bottlings is also environmentally friendly, as trees are replanted in Ireland on land belonging to the distillery.


The distillate chosen for each episode remains the same. It is a single pot still (50% malted barley and 50% unmalted barley) at 50% ABV.



The colour of this whiskey will of course be marked by its time in new casks. Deep gold, almost brown.


The first part of the nose is marked by citrus notes that are quite recognisable from Irish Pot Stills, but which seem to have been preserved by the time spent in Portuguese oak casks. The orange scents are cooked.


On the second pass, the notes are more woody, but also toasty (we can imagine that the new oak was well toasted before housing the distillate).


The third passage retains its traces of burnt wood but with added spices (pepper and cloves).


The wood has pride of place, but that's more or less what was expected.



The palate is largely dominated by toasty woody notes, but with sweet citrus jam notes (a blend of orange, kumquat and ginger). Then there are spicy pepper notes. At the end there are even notes of roasted cocoa beans and nutmeg.


The finish is long, with hints of dark chocolate and even smoke. 


The empty glass retains its scent of roasted barley.






As a good Peatdream, how could I pass up TEELING BLACKPITTS?


As is often the case at Teeling, the distillates on offer make references and pay tribute to DUBLIN.


In the case of the atypical BLACKPITTS, the reference is twofold. 


The distillate chosen for each episode remains the same. It is a single pot still (50% malted barley and 50% unmalted barley) at 50% ABV.



First of all, because it is a peated whiskey (in a world of rather fruity Irish whiskeys), it refers to the symbol of the city (and I'm not talking about the Spire, which somehow found its way to the centre of Dublin): the 200-metre-high chimneys of Poolbeg, which dominate the port and the city in the distance, and which belched out their smoke from 1971 to 2010 (before being extinguished in favour of the country's energy sobriety).


Then there's the name, because Blackpitts is a part of Dublin located just behind the distillery. Far from the haven of peace it is today, the area was once home to the city's tanneries, where you could find tanning pits with blackish water. 



As TEELING likes to keep things varied, we're offering BLACKPITTS in two diametrically different forms, even though they have the same barley base (55 PPM announced before distillation).


There is a version based on an Irish Single Malt (distilled 3 times), aged in bourbon casks and then in Sauternes casks, and which is 46% ABV.


There is also a more typical version, offered as a brut de fût (56.5% ABV), which is the result of DOUBLE MATURATION (in order to retain as many peaty flavours as possible). Luckily, this is the one we'll be discovering here.


With a view to offering the rawest juice possible, we also opted for a complete ageing in bourbon casks. 



Peated whiskey lovers, now's your chance!


This expression of peated whiskey, which is likely to put everyone in agreement, is dressed in a light gold colour that Teeling has decided to hide in a black bottle.


The first impression on the nose is of earthy smoke from a campfire on the edge of a lough in the Wicklow mountains. Charcoal, grilled bacon and smoke on your clothes.


On the second pass, in the background of these fumes, we discover a smell of citrus fruits and ripe fruits (which are more pronounced in the normal version).


But rest assured, the choice of only two passes on this pot-still limits these citrus notes, and it is indeed notes of field fire that we find on the third pass.


This nose could make many a peat lover move to the other side of the Irish Sea (the crown be damned).


On the palate, the smoke is still there. The apple-orange jam seems to have been cooked over a wood fire. The sweet notes are heightened by the omnipresent peat, to which is added the strength of a 50% ABV distillate. There are a few floral notes at the end, but here too they suffer the wrath of the peat and are swept away by the winds.


The finish is logically long and carried by cold smoke.


Your empty glass is....unusable 😉!    



I hope you enjoyed your visit? In any case, if you're ever in Dublin, I'd definitely recommend a visit! I don't think we've heard the last of the TEELING distillery, especially now that it's being supported in its development by a certain Bacardi group!



I'll tell you all about it! In the meantime, you can find TEELING at your favourite wine shop, on the Buy Irish Whiskey In Our Shop | Teeling Distillery website (yes, there's no Brexit for Ireland) or simply on the Dugas club Expert website. 


If you'd like to experience this visit on video!