Teeling Vintage Reserve Collection 24 yo

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #12: Teeling Vintage Reserve Collection 24 yo

Teeling Vintage Reserve Collection 24 yoDram data:
Distillery: not stated (most likely Cooley)
Bottler: Teeling
Distilled: –
Bottled: August 2016
Age: 24 years
Limitation: 5000 bottles
Casks: Ex-bourbon and Sauterne finish
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Oh, another Irish Whiskey! 20+ year-old Irish malts are a rare thing! Teeling seem to have a few very nice casks from back when their family owned the Cooley distillery – let’s find out how these casks performed!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 dark red-gold
The nose opens on a slightly alcoholic top note, which disappears a few minutes in. On the light side, but not super-light as other Irish whiskeys (this is, after all, a single malt, not a single pot-still whiskey!). Do I detect an ever so slight hint of peat smoke behind the red apples, yellow apples, pears, blood oranges and sweet grapes? I think so, and Cooley did make peated whiskey… The background notes are dominated by malt, a hint of oak and a floral aspect. Light-ish, yet it does feel aged and deep, the Sauterne finish worked well and is in no way overwhelming. The nose is worth waiting for – it gets better and better as time goes on! On to the palate! Oh!  Right at the beginning the slight peat(?) smoke impression is back – but only very slight and the palate is quickly taken over by a slightly dry impression with white pepper on top. Let it settle on the tongue for a bit… Dry wine, blood oranges, red apples, green pears, fresh figs, a small slice of mango, a very small piece of pickled ginger on a malty base with a layer of oak in the background. Overall, it’s “green” and lightly fruity – and quite dry. Just as we’ve noticed on the nose – the balance between freshness and age is there, but I don’t think I’d guess it’s true age in a blind tasting.  The medium long to long finish is quite dry upon swallowing with a peppery kick, soon thereafter the fruits (apples, grapes, fresh figs, blood oranges) make an appearance, accompanied by a growing maltiness and oaky impression.

Verdict:
Well, this is not a loud, screaming dram, which is a good thing. Too many whiskeys are too laden with extreme sweetness and finishes, this one has found a great balance, keeping the lighter Irish whiskey going. An overall sophisticated, green and dry style, with undeniable, yet not overdone Sauterne wine influence. Very enjoyable indeed. I think I’ll keep the rest of the sample for the summertime, which it is best suited for – in my humble opinion!

Score: 88/100
(Nose: 89 Palate: 88 Finish: 88)

Thanks to the Teeling distillery for the sample!

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