Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Teeling. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Whiskey is often tied to history, like the story behind a name on a label or the recipe that has been handed down over generations. With an understanding of that history comes an understanding of a certain place and time that an individual drink comes from. It’s not often that one gets to drink something from a time before their own life, but here I am sipping on a whiskey older than myself from Teeling Whiskey, a brand that has only just celebrated ten years.
Teeling Whiskey was founded by Jack and Stephen Teeling in 2012. They opened the Teeling distillery in 2015, the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years. Teeling got started by using stock from Cooley Distillery. Cooley was founded by John Teeling in 1987 and does contract distilling for many companies. Jim Beam purchased the distillery in 2011 and Teeling secured a significant stock of the warehouse.
I am looking at Teeling’s first release of their Very Rare Cask Collection, Teeling 32-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Purple Muscat Finish. This comes from a single malt aged in bourbon barrels for 28 years then aged an additional four years in a Portuguese purple muscat barrel made of toasted French oak. This is an Irish single malt, which means it is 100% malted barley and was distilled in pot stills. They bottle at 53.7% ABV, higher than their signature 46%, in etched Attitude Haute bottles. There are only 283 bottles of this made and it is only being released to the U.S. market with a suggested retail price of $3,499.99. Each bottle comes with a certificate of authenticity.
The thing I found most interesting with this bottle is the purple muscat used for the finish. This is a type of wine, and while I am not a wine expert, this is not a wine I have ever heard of. Searching the internet for “purple muscat” leads to some horribly dyed wines and another whiskey that uses this finish. Looking into the region of Portugal that Teeling got its barrel from, Setúbal, I found Moscatel Roxo. This is a dessert wine specific to this region that is seeing a decline in production. It is known for its fruity, floral quality, something that sounds perfect to pair with an Irish whiskey to accentuate that sweet fruity character. This is the first Irish Whiskey to use this finish, another little nod to the rarity of this bottle.
One of the things I often consider with premium offerings like this, is that it is a shame how much of this will likely find its way into some collection to sit and be auctioned off at a later date to another collector. The best I can hope for are bottles that make their way into the whiskey bars of the world that can at least be enjoyed by the select few that have both the knowledge to look for the bottle and the money to afford the pour of it.
Tasting Notes: Teeling 32-Year-Old Purple Muscat Finish
Vital Stats: Bottled at 53.7% ABV. Pot distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged 28 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished for four years in a single ex-purple muscat barrel. SRP of $3,499.99 per 700ml bottle.
Appearance: This shifts from a golden raisin color to a rich amber color as I move it in my glass. Thick legs form that move pretty quickly down the glass.
Nose: There is a lot of fruit on the nose including apple, cranberry, plum, and nectarine. All of that is backed up with a bit of toffee, vanilla, and nut.
Palate: This is a fascinating flavor profile that is quite sweet. I get a note of grape bubblegum and cotton candy at the front. There is a kind of contrasting maltiness to the mid palate that carries into the finish. The finish I could mistake for a drier dessert wine if it weren’t for the alcohol content. There is a note of honey that carries through the entire flavor profile. There is a lot going on in this and as I revisit it I get notes of different fruit including baked apple, banana, and date. The addition of water brings out more oak and vanilla and shifts the sweetness to more of a tropical fruit, like star fruit.
Whiskey Review: Teeling 32-Year-Old Purple Muscat Finish
This is a fascinating and unique expression that I certainly enjoyed, even if I found the flavors to sometimes clash with each other. Certainly a fruity style on the sweeter end of the spectrum. If you have the disposable income to not worry about the price, this is certainly worth a try.