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Teeling Gave Its 32-Year-Old Irish Whiskey an Unusual Wine Cask Finish—and Pulled It Off

You can teach an old whiskey new tricks.

Teeling 32-Year-Old Purple Muscat Finish Teeling

The whiskey world is crazy for cask finishing, but every now and then you come across one that you likely haven’t seen before. Such is the case with this new 32-year-old single malt from Dublin distillery Teeling, which was finished in a purple muscat cask. And don’t worry, if you aren’t familiar with that type of wine, you’re likely not alone.

This whiskey in question was distilled in 1990, and was part of a parcel of casks from the Teeling family’s private reserve that distillery founders Jack and Stephen Teeling brought with them when they set up the brand in 2012 (likely distilled at their father’s Cooley distillery, but this is unconfirmed). Teeling has released some other old single malts, including a 24 and 30-year-old finished in sauternes casks. But this new whiskey spent 28 years maturing in bourbon barrels, before being re-casked into a Portuguese purple muscat French oak cask for another four years. The resulting whiskey is the first bottle in the new appropriately named Very Rare Casks Collection, and is a US exclusive.

Now, about that purple muscat… this really is an uncommon barrel for a cask finish. This type of sweet wine is often made from white grapes, but this particular Portuguese version was made from purple ones. Master distiller Alex Chasko sourced the barrel from the Setubal region outside of Lisbon to imbue the whiskey with juicy dark fruit notes, and in that he has succeeded. Robb Report had a chance to sample the whiskey this week, and it’s a tasty dram with a higher ABV of 53.7 percent. There is spice, espresso and chocolate on the palate, along with some stone fruit, candied orange and grapefruit. Overall, this is a really good Irish single malt that has been heavily influenced by its long secondary maturation, but not in a way that disrupts the innate character of the whiskey.

Only 283 700ml (not 750, sorry) bottles are being released with an SRP of $3,499.99 next month. The whiskey will be available via Reservebar when it launches, as well as select retailers in seven states.

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