Teeling, the first distillery to open in Dublin’s city centre for 125 years, is one of several independent distilleries now driving the Irish whisky revival. Unlike big brands such as Jameson, which is owned by French drinks giant Pernod Ricard and sells around 22 million bottles a year, Teeling creates small batches with strong back stories that appeal to drinkers interested in provenance, tradition and the unique.
The distillery, set up by brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling, started producing whisky last May, and the attached visitor centre opened early June. The newly distilled spirit takes anything from three to 30 years to age, so the whiskies now being sold under the brand are blended from stocks that the Teeling family – which has a history in whisky stretching back to 1782, when Walter Teeling set up a distillery in Dublin – have been collecting for decades.
For new whisky, they triple distill one batch, equaling approximately 1,000 bottles, from 3 tonnes of barley every five to seven days in the copper pot stills. They mature their whisky in oak casks previously used to age a variety of liquors, mainly bourbon, but also rum, white burgundy, sherry and port.
The casks are charred on the inside. This layer of active carbon reduces the fieriness of the spirit; allows the flavors in the wood such as vanilla, spice, and woody and sweet flavors to suffuse the spirit; and allows flavors already inherent in the whisky to combine with the flavors in the wood to create new flavor compounds, known as esters.
Interview: Daryl Haldane on The Macallan’s Expanded Repertoire