Teeling Whiskey Single Grain Tasting Notes

teeling-whiskey-single-grainTeeling Whiskey Single Grain is, as you’d expect, a single grain whiskey fully matured in Cabernet Sauvignon casks from California.

Single grain means that it’s, in part, made with grains other than malted barley (in this case, corn). By comparison, Scotch is, by law, only malted barley. So this is a bit of a departure from me already, but my friend Rick gave this to me as a Christmas gift because he knew I was adventurous and this was something I’d have a hard time finding locally (he’s right, of course).

So we already have a different mash bill, then Teeling matures the whiskey in California Cabernet Sauvignon casks. It’s not as crazy as their Single Malt, which is matured in five different wine casks (Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon), but it’s still a departure from the what’s I’m used to (ex-Bourbon barrels).

What did I think? It’s tasty!

I don’t have a lot of experience with Irish Whiskey, or single grain whiskey, so I really have no frame of reference. It’s light, has some bite because it’s bottled at 46% abv, and is easy to drink. The lightness is something I’ve come to appreciate about Irish whiskies, despite how much of a novice I am, and none of the flavors really punch you in the face. It’s corn based but it’s not overly sweet, like some bourbons can be, and the Cabernet Sauvignon maturation really adds a lot of fruity and floral characteristics, in addition to the oak.

  • Nose: Fruity sweet, like a dried Red Delicious apple, and a hint of floral, some grape and a citrusy freshness and lightness I can’t place.
  • Palate: Sweet and light like the nose, and buttery. A bit of the tannic bitterness too.
  • Finish: Has some heat, being 46% and single grain, and dryness at the end.

Teeling Single Grain was awarded the World’s Best Grain by the World Whiskies Awards in 2014, and it’s really interesting to read the notes by the judges. Does anyone know what orange fondant syrup is? :)

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What’s a Whisky Wedge?

corckcicle-whiskey-wedgeI thought I’d seen it all when it came to “whisky chilling technology.”

You have whisky stones, made of soap stones. You have massive ice cubes and ice balls.

Now, you have the “whiskey wedge.”

It’s essentially ice frozen into a wedge shape on the side of a glass.

Personally, I still enjoy my whisky neat. For those times I want to add a little water, I prefer to do it by the drop, rather than by the cube.

That said, the logic behind the whiskey wedge is the same as the massive ice cubes and balls. The larger the mass of ice, the slower it melts. I’m not sure I buy it since the greater surface area means there’s more in contact with the whisky, so there’s more dilution involved. That said, the wedge shape maximizes size while minimizing surface area in contact with the whisky, so you mitigate the surface area issues somewhat.

How’s it work? About as easy as you’d expect. When you buy the wedge “kit” from Corkcicle, it comes with an old fashioned tumbler and a silicone mold. You fill it with water, stick in the mold to make the wedge, and then freeze. Presumably the silicone expands as the ice freezes, and you create this wedge.

I don’t have one nor do I see myself getting one (I have whisky stones and I use those more for chilling my wife’s wine than anything else!), so I have no first hand experience.

What do you think of it? Gimmick or something you’d actually use?

Posted in Barware | 5 Comments

[VIDEO] Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask Video Review by Swami Suave

We’re testing a new little feature here and it’s a video review by fellow Scotch Addict Facebook member Swami Suave – this five minute video takes a look at Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask Review.

Balvenie 14 is finished in Jamaican rum casks, after spending most of its life in new American bourbon casks. Suave goes into a little bit of the history of Balvenie, his personal history with Balvenie, and then dives into the tasting by way of a Glencairn glass without water (neat).

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Toffee, white wine, light spiced rum, vanilla
  • Taste: Burnt sugar, raisins
  • Finish: Light nutty tasty

If you don’t get a chance to watch the video, Suave had one word of advice – don’t add water. It drowns out the complexity of the dram.

For the novices out there, one thing you’ll notice Suave do is open his mouth when he is nosing the glass. If you tend to nose with your mouth closed, try it with it open, it really helps because it opens up a “backdraft.” Give it a try next time.

What did you think of the video?

Posted in Tasting Notes, Video | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Johnnie Walker Blue “Smart” Whisky Bottle

via ThinFilm

via ThinFilm

You have to be kidding me.

I have about twenty different things I hate about this idea that Johnnie Walker will be doing with the Blue Label bottle. The gist is that they’ll be sticking a sensor tag on it that uses near field communications to talk to your smartphone (in reality, your phone is sending out signals and this label will respond).

They claim that this is good for the buyer because you can tell if the bottle has been opened, how long it’s been opened for, and, oh yeah, you can get personalized promotions, cocktails, and communicate with Diageo.

Personalized promotions, eh? Those are called ads. I don’t need more ads.

As for making sure my scotch has never been opened? I’ve never had that problem before. I’ve never purchased a bottle and discovered it was already opened!

via ThinFilm

via ThinFilm

And if you look at the image of the label, the “has it been opened” before test is whether the wire on the top part of the sensor has been broken (thus giving a different signal). It seems pretty easy to defeat since the wire doesn’t go over the top of the bottle.

And cocktails? If you use Johnnie Walker Blue Label in a cocktail… I’m not even going to say anything because I know you wouldn’t. :)

This reminds me of the dot com boom when every company decided to throw “dot com” at the end of their name because it tripled their valuation. Apps are hot right now, very hot, and it seems like everyone wants to figure out a way to use technology… even if it’s the wrong way.

I’ll tell you what though, I like the technology behind it, I like the innovation and the thinking that led to this (because it leads to more experimental ideas). I don’t think I’ll be installing an app but the sensor on the bottle itself doesn’t bother me.

Hat tip to Gary G. in our Facebook group for sharing this!

Posted in General | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Is Johnnie Walker Green Back in Production? Maybe.

Johnnie Walker GreenA few years ago, Johnnie Walker discontinued Johnnie Walker Green Label, much to the chagrin of many a fan. As recently as October 2013, they had no plans to offer it again.

But readers in our Facebook group reported talking to their local liquor store and learning that JW Green was back in stock because it was in production.

Companies change their plans all the time and October 2013 was a long long time ago, was the store manager of the liquor store right? Is it back in production?

Turns out it’s not. I sent an email to Johnnie Walker and our friend Eliza (perhaps the same rep from Oct 2013!) has this to say:

Johnnie Walker Green Label was discontinued in North America, however, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this world-renowned whisky we are releasing it as a limited time offering. Johnnie Walker Green Label should begin hitting store shelves throughout February 2015. I encourage you to speak with your local retailer to request they place an order for the product.

Hmmm… this makes it seem like it’s discontinued in North America only (otherwise why mention NA specifically, something they didn’t do in 2013), so it might be back in production. I sent another email to clarify and will update this post when I know more.

JW Green may or may not be back in production but it’s available, you may need to have your local store order it.

Posted in General | 26 Comments