Although Teeling Whiskey Company was only founded in 2012, it is made by an Irish family with centuries of experience in distilling Irish whiskey. Our reviewers are divided on the overall quality of its flagship Small Batch bottling, a blend of grain and malt whiskeys that are aged in ex-bourbon barrels and married in rum casks. However, they all note the perceptible influence of the rum casks, which gives this blended whiskey a unique flavor profile. Two of our reviewers considered Teeling Small Batch an excellent value for highballs and sipping on the rocks.
Cocktail consultant, Liquid Productions
Co-owner, Pacific Standard
Co-owner, Clover Club, Leyenda, and Milady’s
Classification: Blended Irish whiskey
Company: Teeling Whiskey Company
Producer: Teeling Whiskey Distillery
Expression: Small Batch Irish Whiskey
Cask: Ex-bourbon; finished in Central American rum casks
Still Type: Combination pot and column still
Aged: No age statement
Awards: 95 Points, Extraordinary Ultimate Recommendation, 2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; Double Gold, 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Excels in whiskey highballs
May appeal to bourbon drinkers thanks to vanilla and baking-spice notes
May strike some drinkers as hot
Flavors from rum casks may be considered overpowering
Not recommended as a neat pour
Color: Pale golden amber
Nose: Fiery, with notes of Caribbean grass, grain, apple pie, cut grass, vanilla, orange blossom, allspice, oloroso sherry, gingerbread, and citrus
Palate: Grain silo, dusty rum barrels, apricot, apple, cherry, rye spice, milk chocolate, ginger, vanilla, baking spices, and caramel
Finish: Short-medium and fiery
Similar bottles: Bushmills, Green Spot, Jameson, Tullamore Dew
Suggested uses: On the rocks; highballs like a classic Whiskey Highball or Whiskey Ginger; Irish Coffee
The influence of rum barrels on this Irish whiskey, which is made with grain and malt whiskeys that are married in rum casks for up to one year, was very perceptible. However, our reviewers were divided on Teeling Small Batch’s overall quality.
“I thought this was a solid Irish whiskey with a lot of flavor,” says Julie Reiner. “The rum cask added a lot of rum quality to the whiskey, which I found to be very enjoyable.” She adds that it may appeal to bourbon drinkers.
Jacques Bezuidenhout notes the great value of this whiskey, but says it may strike some drinkers as “fiery and light on oak.”
Jeffrey Morgenthaler has a more critical opinion. “[Teeling Small Batch shows] kind of a confusing mishmash of flavors between the rum casks and the harsh graininess of the distillate,” he says. “[The] flavors are not the light, quaffable sorts one expects to find in Irish whiskey, but rough and jagged.”
Bezuidenhout and Morgenthaler found the whiskey to be fiery, while Reiner thought it to have a “nice and creamy mouthfeel.”
Bezuidenhout and Reiner both recommend sipping this whiskey on the rocks or mixing it into highballs like a Whiskey Ginger or Whiskey Highball. Bezuidenhout also says it “would be wonderful with some fresh apple juice.”
“The lack of age or heavier oak makes me lean away from using this [whiskey] in a classic like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan,” says Bezuidenhout.
Morgenthaler recommends using it in an Irish Coffee, “where the base spirit can be hidden underneath rich, chocolatey coffee and sugar.”
This no-age-statement blended whiskey is made at the Teeling Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. Hand-selected casks of grain and malt whiskeys are aged in ex-bourbon barrels for an undisclosed amount of time, then married in Central American rum casks for up to one year. Teeling does not chill-filter its whiskey, which it says “maintains the true natural character” of its distillates.
The Teeling family’s history of distilling Irish whiskey dates to 1782, when Walter Teeling set up a distillery in Dublin on Marrowbone Lane, in the city’s Liberties neighborhood. At the time, Dublin was known for whiskey production, but spirits production declined in the city and throughout Ireland during the 20th century. Among the reasons were decreased exports to the U.S. and the growing popularity of scotch.
In 1980, there were just two working distilleries on the island where there had once been thousands. In 1987, Teeling descendant John Teeling purchased a plant near the Northern Ireland border that was used to make industrial alcohol and converted it into Cooley Distillery. At the time, Cooley became Ireland’s only independent distillery.
Beam International bought the Cooley Distillery in 2011. As part of the sale, John’s son Jack (then managing director) purchased 16,000 casks of aged whiskey, which he used to launch his own company, Teeling Whiskey, in 2012. Jack’s brother Stephen joined Teeling in 2015.
In 2015, the modern-day Teeling Distillery opened down the road from the old Marrowbone Lane location and became the first distillery to operate in Dublin in over 125 years. In 2017, Teeling Whiskey Company sold a minority stake to Bacardi Ltd.
–Written and edited by Audrey Morgan
When it opened in 2012, Teeling was the first distillery to operate in Dublin in more than 125 years.
The Bottom Line
Our reviewers have differing opinions on Teeling’s flagship Small Batch expression, a blend of grain and malt whiskeys that are aged in ex-bourbon barrels, then allowed to marry in rum casks. However, they all note that the rum casks give this whiskey a unique flavor profile that may excel in highballs or cocktails like an Irish Coffee.