To celebrate the grand opening of Teeling’s new distillery in Newmark in the Centre of Dublin city, I didn’t venture into the heart of the capital but in fact took a turn for the west. Galway seems like an unusual place to go seeking Teeling fever considering the hype around the new distillery and also the launch of “Whiskey Business” the four part series on TV3, but in fact it seems like it has become a definite hub for the Teeling name in the west of the country.
I made this sojourn to the west to visit what is quickly becoming one of my favourite whiskey bars in Ireland, An Pucan. An Pucan, a fledgling whiskey bar(/live music venue/night club/ class food venue/ match day venue/ anything else you can think of bar), that paired with Teeling whiskey to create something special. The first whiskey that has been produced for Galway, in a very long time, Teeling Single Cask.
The single cask appears to be the Teeling single malt that has been finished in White Port Casks and bottled in a limited run of only (approximately) 140 bottles, which leads me to assume only the one cask was set aside in this advertising opportunity for both parties involved. RRP= €125/150. Certainly a breath of fresh air in Ireland that has seen so much ex-bourbon & oloroso sherry over the last few years its almost synonymous with the whiskey in itself.
It certainly sounds like a good story to go with the whiskey and the longer I work within the industry the more I realise the true value of the story that accompanies a product. Jameson caskmates is a true testament to this; great whiskey, no-one knows what it tastes like and yet flies off the shelves due to a Christmas drinks story between a brewer and a distiller.
So, story aside the question remains whether or not this new single cask was worth the hefty price tag that its limited run commanded on the shelves. I made my way to the belly of the beast, aka An Pucan on early Monday afternoon to perform a comparative sampling of Teeling single malt and single cask.
So I found myself in a whiskey bar on the far side of the counter early on a Monday afternoon which was certainly a new experience for me. Although, the staff in An Pucan certainly knew their stuff. Very engaging and more than delighted to talk about their unique product that they put together with Teeling. Knowledge ranging from good to excellent on the whiskeys they carried and that was just the staff they had on for Monday afternoon, I would love to see the top brass for a whiskey event in there! So it was time for the main event!
The single cask was certainly a great step up from the single malt. The higher alcohol percentage didn’t pack the punch I was expecting which was pleasant, I think very much a sipping dram for all classes of whiskey enthusiast. I tried this with and without water and my experience was that the water just separated the key components rather than opened them up. So without any water this is a fantastic dram. Everyone obviously enjoys their whiskey their own way and this was the way I enjoyed mine. If you get the chance to try this dram before all the bottles disappear into people’s glasses or private collections, do. It’s well worth it. The white port influence is fantastic. The full bodied dried fruit and red wine components made for a melt in mouth quality dram. 100% try this out, unless you hate sherry then…. you know its really sherry/red wine forward…. dots together and all that.
This was a fantastic project for both An Pucan and Teeling in my estimation. Allowing Teeling showcase what they can achieve in quality and bringing An Pucan’s name to the forefront of every whiskey drinker’s mind. I personally waited a long while to try this particular dram out. As I said, stories sell whiskey and I wanted to see if it lived up to the tales. I’m glad to say in this occasion it most certainly did.
As a parting word, if you get the chance to check out An Pucan, DO. From big screen entertainment to their brilliant food menu they’re in a class of their own but where I was really impressed was the whisk(e)y collection. Their collection seems to be expanding so fast that I can’t keep up but to make it easier they have all the bottles displayed in several glass cabinets along the wall opposite the bar. This is a great way to decide on your next tipple. They have a pretty comprehensive collection from some vintage connoisseurs choice to Mano a lamh all with very convenient price tags hanging around the necks of each bottle. And ask the staff they have their own picks and hints for their whiskey flights!
TL:DR: Teeling single cask is good. Try it. Preferably in An Pucan in Galway if you can.