Close-up on the New Teeling Distillery in Dublin
The Teeling Distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years and the first to be operational in the city since 1976. Calling themselves The Spirit of Dublin, the brand's logo is a stylized phoenix emerging from a pot still, rising from the ashes of the city's legacy of Irish whiskey production.
Distillation began in March 2015, with the distillery opening to the public in June. After welcoming 30,000 visitors for the rest of the year that followed, they're expecting some 80,000 guests to come through the doors in 2016. For Teeling, the tour experience is an essential part of the brand's marketing strategy as they seek to establish themselves.
Built at an investment of roughly 10 million Euros, the Teeling Distillery is located in the heart of what was formerly a bustling distillation and brewing district in Dublin. "We wanted to go where the history is," explains Jack Teeling. "This whole area was famous for milling and malting houses, some of the largest in Ireland were based here."
Visitors are welcomed with a comfortable cafe and lounge space and then begin tours through an area displaying the history of distillation in Dublin, along with vintage bottles and advertisements, and rotating local art exhibitions.
The tour continues into the production facility, a unique space which features all phases of whiskey production in a single room. "We try to show the guts of the operation, for people to see the real experience," says Teeling.
Barley enters the room from a shoot directly into a Steinecker wet mill, a technology more common to brewing than distillation. From there, it heads straight to the mashing and fermentation tanks, and finally the stills, all just steps away.
The Teeling potstills are named after Jack Teeling's daughters: Alison, Natalie and Rebecca.
Teeling uses a set of three pot stills, sized at 15,000L, 10,000L and 9,000L made by Italian company Frilli. They were the actually the largest pot stills that Frilli ever produced.
"They're modeled after traditional Dublin pot stills, big based, with big strong shoulders ... we knew exactly what we wanted," says Teeling. Yet, "they have a certain Italian style," to them, showcasing sleek, flowing lines.
As opposed to most distilleries, the full stills are visible from top to bottom, thanks to a metal-grated walkway. Besides offering a unique vantage point, with the full stills and their heating systems exposed, it makes the production room quite warm.
The first Teeling release that will include whiskey distilled entirely at the new facility is slated for 2019. It will be a pot still release, made from a mash bill of 50% malted and 50% unmalted barley.
The three stills have been named for Jack Teeling's daughters: Alison, Natalie and Rebecca. He jokes that his younger brother is expecting a child, and there will be a need to hurriedly find something to name for the new family member.
There's no warehouse at this site, due to regulations. "There's a reason for that," says Teeling. "This was the location of the great Dublin whiskey fire, in the 19th century, I think 1857." After a warehouse and malting house went up in flames, half of Dublin went down with them.
Therefore, all barrel storage is mandated to be handled elsewhere. On-site at the distillery, there are displays showcasing the myriad range of barrels which Teeling utilizes, from ex-bourbon casks to Oloroso sherry hogsheads, rum casks and wine casks of various varietals and lineages.
A spacious tasting room features a bar with a lineup of signature Teeling cocktails, and samples of the "Teeling Trinity,” the three releases currently available in the U.S., Teeling Small Batch, Single Grain and Single Malt.
There's also an array of older and more exclusive offerings available for tastes as well. For those willing to splurge on a dram, or who are able to wrangle a gracious Jack Teeling to pour for you, choices may include Teeling Vintage Reserve 26 year old single malt, or 30 year old single malt, along with single cask, cask strength releases aged in white burgundy or Oloroso casks.
With your thirst quenched, leave through a gift shop, but not before filling a bottle to take home. Two choices are available, cask strength renditions of sherry-cask aged whiskey at either 12 or 23 years old.