For our second tasting we taxied across town to Teeling Distillery, the one that actually produces and distills in Dublin. Yes aging is done outside Dublin, but the making of the product is done in town. Aging is expensive as it consists of hundreds of barrels sitting in warehouses doing nothing more than gathering flavours and tannins from the wood over extended periods of time.
One can argue that the real magic of whiskey is in the aging and the place where the product is aged, the terroir, to go all wine-maker on you and there may be some truth in that. Jack Daniel’s tastes like water from their spring and the countryside around Lynchburg TN, where that particular product is aged. Scottish Whiskey aficionados claim that Islay tastes like Islay, while those along the River Livet say the highlands flavour comes through. Wine snobs are certain they can tell if the vintner was left-handed or right-handed from various characteristics they claim to taste from a swig of ski-doo pack wine from Hamilton.
We call bullshit across the board. We test for three things in total. Our palates test for two; 1) Does it taste good? 2) Do I want some more? The third characteristic is more a physical reaction 3) Why are my ankles not working any more? (See point 2) A simple formula that has never led us astray in +20 years of skilled-professional/gifted-amateur level drinking.
The Teeling Distillery also has a long history as well, but has risen essentially from a closed distillery in the family, with inventory, to a fully working shop that triple-distills their products in pot stills. Do watch the video on their website for a nice appreciation of their craft. The tour was ideal, the guide being well-schooled and knowledgeable about the process and the craft. Being in a working distillery, it’s noisy and hot but well worth the trip. The tasting flight was different from Jameson’s, as all of Teeling product is pot-still made, the three stills being named after the daughters of the founding brothers.
Tasting notes: Does it taste good? Hell yeah. Do I want more? Hell yeah. Are my ankles still working? Yep, fine, as with any tasting flight, there isn’t enough actual product to cause ankle impairment. Between the two, Jameson’s and Teeling, which would I prefer? The answer is yes.