Recently (as in a month ago) I visited Dublin during their summer, which lasted for 6 days. Your welcome Ireland, I brought the sun. I control the weather, like a pudgier, more dick centric, and a lot more pale version of Storm.
Before I get into anything else: All pictures taken were taken by my amazing wife. Please check out her flickr account here.
Now that I’ve ruined one of the best X-men characters who’s been ruined by the movies, let’s move on to the distillery I visited: Teeling Distillery.
Thinking of Ireland and what their known for, the first thing most people eventually come upon is their contribution to drinking culture. That’s putting it as culturally sensitive as I’d like to say. They are known for great beer (Kilkenny, Guinness), and for inventing whiskey (which is still a sore point they have with Scotland).
So it’ll come as a surprise to find out the history of Irish whiskey, which the start of the Teeling Tour does an amazing job of filling you in.
Before that, let’s talk about the tour prices.
Upon arriving, you find out that Teeling has three options for tours: My wife took the Teeling Small Batch & Seasonal Whisky Cocktail (€15) and I did the Single Malt, Single Cask, and Vintage Distillery Exclusive (€30), of which they added in some of the Teeling Small batch, due to me being pretty (Citation needed)
You usually have time before hand, and the cafe at the front is quite nice to eat at. Good coffee and free wifi. Given the location, it’s a good idea to hit it up, as the distillery isn’t in a tourist heavy area (however it is on various tour bus routes and is a 15 minute walk from Guinness’ storehouse).
The first leg of the tour brings you to a full background of the distillery, as well as Irish whiskey in general. For instance, even though Teeling Distillery was established in 2015, it’s the first distillery in Dublin in 125 years.
Yeah. Somehow Toronto, who hates alcohol and has horrible laws concerning distilleries (which have since improved), beat out Dublin.
Why is this? Well, as you find out, in 1875 there was the Liberties Whiskey Fire. As you can guess, it occurred in the Liberties, a place once known for distilleries, as it was outside the city’s walls and not subject to taxes. It was also known for cheap housing for the working class. Luckily known died in the fire itself: However 12 died from drinking the flaming whiskey
which had flowed through dung.
Thus the smart individuals involved decided that it was better to no longer allow people to age whiskey in Dublin. Teeling, for instance, ages their whiskey in Greenore, which is north of Dublin.
In addition to this, you find out that Teeling was actually originally started in 1782. At the time there were 37 other distilleries in Dublin. This started off a 230 year tradition of distilling within the Teeling family.
Ireland was putting out so much whiskey due to their extreme popularity. 100 years ago 60% of all whiskey sold in world was Irish; Currently the amount is 5%. It dropped for multiple reasons, including American prohibition, Ireland becoming independent from the British empire (and thus the English started embargo), as well as Canadian distillers selling poisoned whiskey under the Irish name (sorry).
Luckily, Irish whiskey is back on the rise, and in 3 years, it’s projected to double to 10% of all whiskey sold.
Thus in 2015, the two recent generations (ignoring their young children) of Teeling was bought and re-launched by Jack and Stephen Teeling. You’ll see their emblem which uses an Irish still with a Phoenix as an emblem to rebirth of distillery.
Their Main Strategy? Respect what’s in the Cask. Use different Cask finishes to set themselves apart. Quality over Quantity. Each bottle has details of casks used, age, and Jack Teeling’s signature.
The whisky differs from other Irish whiskies, using malted barely, which is pumped in through a Steinecker wet mill. They malt for 4 days, and then dry it. After that water and yeast is added, and then given five days of fermentation. Which is a decent time, compared to American whiskey standards of 3 days.
2 styles of fermenting vats are used: Steel and Wood. Both do the same thing, however they have both. So… fun?
Finally you have the three pot stills. Left to Right they are named Allison, Natalie, and Rebecca. These are named after Jack Teelings three daughters.
Right now, as they’ve only been open for 2 years and some change, they are sourcing whiskey. However that’s not really mentioned on the tour. They don’t disclose, and I don’t ask. Some assume it’s Bushmills or Cooley, depending on the age.
As well as whiskey, Teeling currently makes a Poitin, which was Illegal in Ireland until 1997. If I could have voted from the future, I’d have asked them to stop that.
Finally you have the different casks and different whiskies offered as part of the distillery. There are lots of single malts, however there is also blends and single grains as well. The casks range from rum casks, to merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon red wine casks, to white port and different stout casks.
At the end of the tour, my wife was given her two drams, and actually really liked the cocktail (she’s not a huge whiskey fan). I was poured the Single Malt, the Single Grain, the on-site port cask that you can fill your own bottle of, and the 13 year old Revival Vol. 2.
Finally, here’s a great picture my wife took of how the Cabernet Sauvignon casks affect the whiskey