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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Teeling’s Renaissance Series 3 Single Malt

The Irish whiskey renaissance is in full flow. There are about four dozen distilleries either operational or planned right now. Contrast this with only a decade ago when there were four and perhaps the word “renaissance” isn’t hyperbole. We can question the quality and variety of the renaissance for sure, and for me, there are a lot of homogenous and rather average whiskeys currently being produced.

Nonetheless, the landscape has remarkably changed in those ten years or so. Irish whiskey exports stood at €350 million in 2013; this was €856 million in 2021 (despite the pandemic). The future, pandemic and war excepted, looks bright for the industry.

When a whiskey is called “Renaissance”, there has to be a question on the fine line of confidence, celebration or even arrogance. To align the name with the improving fortunes of Irish whiskey generally is quite interesting.

However, the Irish whiskey renaissance owes a debt to John Teeling. In 1987 he founded the Cooley Distillery and, in addition to producing whiskey, revived some older Irish brands (Connemara, Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell). Although the nineties weren’t the most profitable times for whiskey, the interest in Irish whiskey grew. After the sale of Cooley and the founding of the Great Northern Distillery, Mr Teeling found himself with quite a lot of well-aged whiskies, and many of today’s Irish distilleries owe a debt to him as he has supported them with his whiskies in their first three years. Many Irish distilleries initial offerings are sourced from here.

So if a brand can, authentically, use the word “renaissance” in their label it is the Teeling distillery, managed by John’s sons Jack and Stephen. Less of arrogance; more of celebration.

The bottle looks lovely, and the branding shows the Teeling Phoenix – another reference to rebirth. The whiskey is aged 18 years, is bottled at 46%ABV and is non-chill filtered. The barrels used are ex-Bourbon, as usual, and then a finish in ex-Muscat wine casks.

And now, to the nose. The usual sweetness starts strongly and dominates initially. A little later, I find some fruits – relatively light, I would say – which balances nicely with the sweetness. It’s quite delicate, with the interaction of sweet and dark fruits working very well together. Towards the end, there’s more tropical fruits developing and the layering of flavours is really nice.

To taste, there are more tropical fruits coming through – perhaps banana and a touch of dry pear. The finish has a slight spirit element, but finishes smoothly and with good length.

Overall, this is a good whiskey and would suit a palate that enjoys the delicate play between tropical fruit and sweetness. It’s well-named and this bottle retails at €140.

Review rating (Nigel) – 6.5

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