Teeling Small Batch was first introduced in February of 2013 – some two years before their Dublin-based distillery was established. It’s still the company’s biggest selling bottling – globally exported to over 60 markets. Small Batch is an NAS blended whiskey that’s been matured in ex-bourbon for an unspecified amount of time before the malt and grain elements are married. These are then re-racked into ex-rum casks for a 12 month finishing period. The resulting whiskey is bottled at 46% ABV and is available for a little over £30 – Master of Malt seem to have one of the best prices in the UK.
There’s an increasing number of young grain whisk(e)y’s being produced – no real surprise – the demand is there, and the production costs are relatively constrained compared to malt. But, it wasn’t all that long ago that many a whisky fan would be turning their nose up at a grain product – whether it be young or well-aged. How times change.
Any conversation around Irish single malt invariable revolves around a discussion as to whether a whiskey is from either Bushmills of Cooley. A rather binary guess. In time, with the new range of Irish distilleries coming on stream, there’s going to be much more choice and variance within the market, but for the time being sourced whiskey – especially single malt is utilised extensively by bottlers to build up their cash reserves during their early years.
Whilst bourbon and Scotch command a larger share of the global spirits market, Irish whiskey is growing at a significantly faster rate – in 2017 sales were up by more than 10% on the previous year. The revivial has seen the number of active distilleries in Ireland grow from just 4 in 2010 to 24 in under a decade with another 20 in various stages of planning. And yet, quite astonishingly insiders still believe that there is yet more expansion to be leveraged – particularly across the Asian markets. However, at the same time, the market seems to be pivoting – away from long established commonly available bottlings to so-called premium and ultra-premium expressions. And then there’s the likes of Proper No. Twelve – a brand built off of the cult of personality.
Happy New Year and welcome back to The Dramble. Following a recharge of the batteries over the festive period, we’re now back and ready to kick off our fourth season. Whilst many of you likely enjoyed a few more drams than normal over the last couple of weeks – I often use the holiday period as an opportunity to give both my palate and my whisky brain a rest. That’s not to say that there’s been an absence of whisky consumption here – far from it – but my drinking of late has been purely for enjoyment and not for analysis. The two are far from synonymous.
Another start of the year well-aged Teeling exclusive from The Whisky Exchange – and why not – such things rarely disappoint. This time around we’re in similar territory to 2021 (though at a notably higher ABV) – a single rum cask (#10568) from an unspecified distillery matured for 29 years and then bottled at 52.4% ABV. It’s still available from The Whisky Exchange for £595.