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Teeling Single Grain - an Irish Whiskey for Bourbon fans?


musekatcher
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Usually going for Redbreast 12 when I'm in the mood for Irish, on a lark I decided to try something different this week.  I settled on Teeling's Single Grain, without much research.  I knew Teeling was a highly awarded Dublin-based new comer, and the dark color in the clear bottle plus price point put it in the right territory for top-shelf mystery and hopeful success.   With the first sip, this proved to be a very smooth, very flavorful whiskey, that agreed well with my KSB-calibrated palate.  Bottled at 92 proof, the flavor balanced superbly to restrain the heat, making this a good candidate for a first time or occasional whiskey neophyte.   I did try it on

df655492d4252bd002fb0851ad231807.jpg

some fans of both bourbon and Scotch with favorable results, much to my relief.  The vanilla and cereal notes were lovely, while the sweet finish was long and gentle.  I thought, this could be a nice bourbon - and no wonder - I discovered the mash bill is 95% corn, 5% barley!  That alone makes it quite different from the typical Irish offerings.  The casking uses California-sourced Cabernet Savignon barrels, contributing to the color and very understated sweet spice.  But don't read too much in the wine connection - heavy fruitiness and syrupness are thankfully absent, while the barrelling adds just the right amount of trace flavor balance.  I think this would make a great selection for mixed companies of Irish and Bourbon lovers looking to share some common taste in high style.   I avoid making uninformed selections at the store, however, the adventurer in me, plus some well placed cues with the packaging and marketing prevailed.  I'm glad in this case I leaped - this was a wonderful surprise that will warrant a re-purchase. 

 

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3 minutes ago, dcbt said:

So it is called a single grain but has two grains in it? Odd.

 

Yes, a little confusing.  I believe, the "single" refers to its manufacture in a single distillery.  The "grain" refers to the usage of non-barley in the mash?  I think these rules come from Scotland's legal requirements for labeling whisky. 

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Yes, single refers to the manufacture at a single distillery, and grain whiskey is typically made from any grain other than malted barley. This is the same mash bill as the Greenore single grain which is aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Thanks for the review!

Edited by Tucker
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Thanks for the review musekatcher.  I would never have thought they used so much corn in their mash bills.  

 

It seems they are also creative with terms.  One of my favorites is "first fill bourbon cask".

http://www.drinkhacker.com/2014/02/24/review-teeling-single-grain-irish-whiskey/

... If you’re unfamiliar with “single grain” whiskey, you’re not alone. While in fact the majority of Irish whiskey sold is grain whiskey, single grain whiskey is not typically seen on the shelf. (The single doesn’t refer to the type of grain but rather the fact that it’s made at a single distillery.) All grain whiskey is made not from barley (as in the case of single malt whiskey) but rather from a blend of grains, primarily corn.

 

Edited by Darwin
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On ‎12‎/‎29‎/‎2016 at 4:58 PM, Tucker said:

Yes, single refers to the manufacture at a single distillery, and grain whiskey is typically made from any grain other than malted barley. This is the same mash bill as the Greenore single grain which is aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Thanks for the review!

 

And it is similar to Greenore because it is the same distillate. The Teeling whiskies are currently sourced primarily if not entirely from the former Cooley distillery, now owned by Beam/Suntory. It is now called Kilbeggan I believe. The Greenore is typically an older age stated 8yo whiskey (their are older ones, I have a 15 and 18yo) and are not finished in the wine casks.

 

On ‎12‎/‎30‎/‎2016 at 10:42 PM, Vosgar said:

Teeling also has a rum cask finish and a single cask that are very tasty

 

I found that the rum finished blended whiskey was my least favorite Teeling to date.

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21 minutes ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

And it is similar to Greenore because it is the same distillate. The Teeling whiskies are currently sourced primarily if not entirely from the former Cooley distillery, now owned by Beam/Suntory. It is now called Kilbeggan I believe.

 

I thought they did that initially till they got their stills up and running?  They have pot stills on site now?  And I thought Kilbeggan distilleries are now owned by Cooley but still in their old location, as is Cooley's?

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11 hours ago, musekatcher said:

 

I thought they did that initially till they got their stills up and running?  They have pot stills on site now?  And I thought Kilbeggan distilleries are now owned by Cooley but still in their old location, as is Cooley's?

 

The stills at Teeling were first operational in about March 2015. Irish Whiskey must be at least 3 years old to be called whiskey. Everything they currently produce is still sourced and probably most all, if not every bit, comes from the former Cooley. They are operating 3 fair sized pot stills last I heard.

Teeling stills small.jpg

 

Kilbeggan, a separate distillery and smaller distillery than Cooley, is now producing whiskey again and some of it may now be on the shelf as Kilbeggan. Prior to that the brand name was made at Cooley. It may still be a mix of the two but I don't know. Older age stated Kilbeggan is most likely still coming from Cooley. The restart of the original Kilbeggan Distillery is perhaps 6 or so years old I would guess.

 

Beam/Suntory own both Cooley and the original and smaller Kilbeggan distillery. As best I can tell they renamed their overall company to the Kilbeggan Distilling Company which covers both distilleries.

 

What was Greenore 8yo grain whiskey is now called Kilbeggan 8yo grain whiskey as of sometime in 2015 I believe. Same stuff (corn, mostly), same distillery (Cooley), same bottle, new name. Although oddly the Beam/Suntory website still shows a Greenore bottle. But they wasted no time switching the Knob Creek bottle to the NAS label...

 

https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/2859/greenore-8-year-old

 

https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/27900/kilbeggan-8-year-old

 

The Teeling grain whiskey finished in wine casks is simply Cooley stock (Greenore grain whiskey) and is probably a bit younger so the finishing likely helps it a bit. Teeling may be doing the finishing itself. I don't ever remember Cooley releasing a finished grain whiskey. But I have liked it so far. Certainly more than the small batch!

 

interestingly (at least to me!) you rarely saw anything branded as Cooley whiskey. It has always had some other brand name.

 

 

Edited by tanstaafl2
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7 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

 

The stills at Teeling were first operational in about March 2015. Irish Whiskey must be at least 3 years old to be called whiskey. Everything they currently produce is still sourced and probably most all, if not every bit, comes from the former Cooley. They are operating 3 fair sized pot stills last I heard.

 

 

Thanks much for the detail sourcing of Teeling Cooley and Kilbeggan.  This was my first serious encounter with a finished whiskey.  I have a newfound respect! 

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You should also be aware that John Teeling founded the Cooley distillery and ultimately sold it to Beam (note this was prior to the Suntory acquisition). I don't know if he always planned to open a new distillery after the sale but I would think the majority if not all the barrels acquired from the Cooley distillery for Teeling were probably distilled under the supervision of John Teeling in the first place. I would expect that any finishing etc. could have been carried out at Teeling since its founding.

John Teeling has been a huge part of the Renaissance of Irish whiskey over the last decade or two. At the time he founded Teeling there were only two remaining Irish distilleries (albeit the behemoths of Midleton and Bushmills) after numerous closings and consolidations of the previous 50 years.

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Very interesting. I was eying the teeling single malt, but didn't pull the trigger. It's more expensive than the single grain. Is the single malt also sourced from cooley? they are all nas.

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On ‎1‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 3:21 AM, bdrinker said:

Very interesting. I was eying the teeling single malt, but didn't pull the trigger. It's more expensive than the single grain. Is the single malt also sourced from cooley? they are all nas.

 

Yes, the NAS single malt with multiple barrel finishes is from Cooley as well. Teeling has also released several older age stated single malts that were from Cooley over the past few years.

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 7:08 PM, Theiano said:

You should also be aware that John Teeling founded the Cooley distillery and ultimately sold it to Beam (note this was prior to the Suntory acquisition). I don't know if he always planned to open a new distillery after the sale but I would think the majority if not all the barrels acquired from the Cooley distillery for Teeling were probably distilled under the supervision of John Teeling in the first place. I would expect that any finishing etc. could have been carried out at Teeling since its founding.

John Teeling has been a huge part of the Renaissance of Irish whiskey over the last decade or two. At the time he founded Teeling there were only two remaining Irish distilleries (albeit the behemoths of Midleton and Bushmills) after numerous closings and consolidations of the previous 50 years.

 

Kind of an interesting dynamic after John Teeling sold Cooley to Beam. Initially he said he wasn't planning to stay in the whiskey business. Teeling Whiskey Company was started by his two sons, who presumably also worked at Cooley before it was sold. But then the father bought the Great Northern Brewery from Diageo and has converted it to a distillery with a similar plan as Cooley had, making whiskey for others to use as well as for their own brand.  They are now making whiskey there as I understand it but nothing old enough yet to bottle as whiskey.

 

I think the sons are also associated with Great Northern but the Teeling Whiskey Company  is operated as a separate company. I don't know if the father has any part in the Teeling distillery.

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  • 7 months later...
15 hours ago, Duke129 said:

I apologize in advance if this is obvious, but couldn't Beam package Greenore whiskey as a bourbon?

 

Not unless they decide to make it in the good ol' US of A! to be called bourbon, at least in the US, it must be distilled in the US.

 

Also since it is likely aged in used barrels (bourbon requires new charred American Oak) that is another reason it can't be bourbon. But it might theoretically meet requirements for corn whiskey as I don't think there is a specific requirement for being made in the US although not 100% sure about that. I would guess it would have to be labeled as "Irish" Corn Whiskey. And I doubt they would want that prominently on the label!

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Oh, and Greenore is no more. The whiskey that was Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey is now called Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey.

 

Same stuff, essentially the same bottle even. But a different name as Beam moves away from Cooley and focuses on the revival of the Kilbeggan name and the reopening of the more tourist friendly Kilbeggan distillery. Even though the majority of whiskey will likely still be made at the big industrial looking Cooley facility for many years to come.

 

Not that the Cooley name was ever prominent on most products made at Cooley. I think maybe the very limited run of poitin they released a few years ago was the only thing I recall seeing with the Cooley name outside of a few independent bottlers like AD Rattray.

 

 

 

 

Edited by tanstaafl2
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