John Teeling bears the name of ancestors who began distilling in Dublin in 1782. Earlier in his own career, back in the 1980s, Teeling founded the Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s first new whisky maker in more than a century, with such fine brands as Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell. He sold Cooley, up near the border with Northern Ireland, to the United States’s Beam Inc. for about $100-million in 2011. He’s back with an eponymous brand based down south in Dublin. It’s focused on high-end spirits designed to spar with top-end U.S. bourbons and luxury Scottish single malts, and it appears to be off to a promising start. This one’s mainly matured in old bourbon barrels and finished for a short time in used rum casks. That last stage imparted additional sweetness and rounded character, no doubt, to the malty core. At 46-per-cent alcohol and non-chill-filtered, it’s medium-bodied and more substantial than the light profile typically exhibited by its Irish kin. Expect a mingling of peach, cereal, caramel and roasted nuts, a fine Irish medley.
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