Teeling Whiskey Company Distillery Tour

Teeling Whiskey Company- Exterior under construction

Teeling Whiskey Company- Exterior under construction

 

Teeling Whiskey Company Sneak Peek

In the middle of a forgotten corner of Dublin, the Teeling Whiskey Company is emerging from a literal pile of rubble. We were lucky enough to be given a sneak peak tour of the distillery by Stephen Teeling, who protected us from flying sparks, sheetrock dust and dangerous looking construction workers that somehow maintained that unmistakable Irish charm. When we visited, the distillery was very much under construction- it’s black stone exterior was still shrouded in scaffolding, there was no interior lighting, missing stairwells and pesky pigeon squatters that I’m certain will soon meet an untimely end. Much like the phoenix on their bottle, Teeling is in the process of rising from the ashes as they make history by opening the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years. The rebirth is also personal for the Teeling family after the sale of their Cooley Distillery in 2012 to Beam Suntory. If you follow these things (which we do) you know that Cooley was producing Kilbeggan, Greenore (soon to be renamed Kilbeggan Single Grain), Connemara, Tyrconnel and 2 Gingers Irish whiskeys. With this experience under their belts, it was clear the Teelings knew what they were doing, but we wondered how this new brand was already producing aged spirit. In the states, it’s not uncommon to source whiskey as you wait for your own stock to mature, but Stephen explained to us how the family retained a significant number of aging barrels through the sale of Cooley and that stock is being used to produce the whiskeys we are enjoying today. Bonus business points to the Teelings.

 

 

Teeling Whiskey Stills

Teeling Whiskey Stills

At the rate we are selling Teeling whiskey, the retained stocks won’t last forever and so the folks at Teeling are already hard at work replenishing those barrels. Despite all of the chaos and construction, we were surprised to see that the functional part of the distillery was already operational. Fermenters, washbacks and stills were already kicking out sweet, raw distillate and Stephen allowed us to sample what we would call White Dog or New Make in the states- in Ireland it’s labeled Potcheen (or Poitín). This was the first batch of legal distillate to be produced in Dublin in over 100 years, and the fact that we were sampling history in a bottle was not lost on us. While new make isn’t generally my thing, Teeling’s raw spirit was smooth, floral and creamy. It definitely had the unmistakable Irish sweetness, but it lacked the burn that new make often possesses. To produce their whiskey, the Teelings are combining state of the art facilities with some throwback touches. Massive, pine wood fermenters currently have a sparkle, but will certainly soon look as if they’d been pulled from an old cherished distilling house as soon as a few batches have run through. Teeling utilizes three, state of the art pot stills in the distillation process- an 15,000 liter primary, a 10,000 liter still for the second pass and a 9,000 liter still that handles the final distillation. I’d never seen brand-spanking new copper stills, and these were all sparkly and purdy. I have to admit to getting a bit weak in the knees. I’d also never seen stills where the bottoms were exposed, so this was a cool and unique setup.

 

Teeling Whiskey Spirit Safe

Teeling Whiskey Spirit Safe

What makes Teeling Whiskey truly unique is their progressive approach to finishing. Their small batch is finished in Flor de Cana rum casks which imparts a delicate sweetness to the whiskey. We often get people in the shop saying that whiskey isn’t their thing- Teeling Small Batch is what we use to change their minds. Teeling Single Grain is 98% Corn finished in California red wine casks and their 100% malted barley Single Malt is finished in 5 different types of wine casks (Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy & Cabernet Sauvignon). I was able to score an incredible bottle of 21 Year Old Vintage Reserve at the airport, but since it’s not available here, I won’t even tease you with how wonderful it is. (spoiler alert- it’s freaking incredible)

 

 

 

 

Teeling Whiskey Fermenters

Teeling Whiskey Fermenters

Stephen showed us the distillery and gave us some insight into their grain to glass approach to whiskey making. After touring the active part of the distillery, he showed us the ambitious plans for the visitors area before taking us out on a balcony to enjoy a rare spot of Irish sunshine and a few wee drams of his whiskey. There wasn’t much to photograph in the visitors area as it was being sheetrocked, but suffice it to say that the distillery will be very well equipped to delight and entertain the guest with educational tours, bars and spaces to hang out. In the very near future, Teeling Whiskey Company will be setting this up-and-coming neighborhood on fire (hopefully not literally) with a combination of edutaining tours, lively atmosphere and most importantly- FABULOUS WHISKEY. Definitely a must-visit.

 

 

 

 

On the rooftop at Teeling Whiskey Co

On the rooftop at Teeling Whiskey Co

 

 

 

Some Helpful Links

Buy Teeling Whiskey Online
Visit Teeling Whiskey Co’s Website
Stop in and Take a Tour Yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teeling Whiskey Stills

Teeling Whiskey Stills