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For decades, no whiskey distilling took place in Dublin. Teeling Distillery rectified this, leading a movement to rediscover the city’s connection with whiskey production. Teeling’s advertising is ubiquitous at pubs across Dublin, with their iconic black barrels often spotted outside. If you’re curious about this new whiskey you’re seeing all over Dublin, the Teeling Distillery offers tours & tastings.
History of Teeling Distillery
Teeling Distillery opened in Dublin’s Liberties neighborhood in 2015. When it opened, Teeling was the first new whiskey distillery in Dublin in 125 years, and the first to operate in Dublin since Jameson shifted operations to Cork in the 1970s.
However, the history of Teeling goes back further than that. The Teeling family has been distilling whiskey since 1782, when Walter Teeling operated a distillery in the Liberties, not far from where Teeling is located today. Descendants Jack & Stephen Teeling started Teeling in 2012.
The Teeling Distillery logo symbolizes the rebirth of Dublin Irish whiskey production, with a phoenix rising from a pot still. Irish whiskey is one of the fastest growing premium spirits in the world. Teeling’s total capacity is 500,000 litres per year.
The opening of Teeling Distillery not only revitalized the Irish whiskey industry, it has also contributed to the Liberties becoming one of the trendiest places in Dublin.
The Teeling Distillery tour in Dublin
You can pre-purchase tickets for the Teeling tour & tasting here. This is a good idea during busy times of the year. Tours run every 20 minutes, but this is subject to change. The Teeling tour is also free with the Dublin Pass.
I recommend getting to the Teeling Distillery at least 15-20 minutes before your tour. There’s a nice little museum with exhibits about the history of the distillery that you can explore beforehand.
Eve, our tour guide, started off our visit with a video about the history of Irish whiskey. Then it was time to see the three pot stills.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of the smell of the whiskey distillation process. With everything being in operation, the scent from warm wort & the stills wafted throughout the facility. It was lovely.
The Teeling tour demonstrated how whiskey distilling is both a science and an art. The science takes place in the initial distilling, which you can see through each step of process. The art of whiskey distilling is in the aging stage, where expertise & materials combine with the environment to truly create Teeling’s own flavor. The atmosphere that whiskey barrels live in makes the liquid inside breathe, which is why climate is important. It’s a modern take on whiskey production that also considers how climate change could have an impact on the final result.
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The distillation of Teeling occurs in this facility, however the whiskey aging takes place elsewhere due to the risk of fire. This precaution is warranted.
On June 18th, 1875, the Dublin Whiskey Fire tore through the Liberties, destroying buildings & huge amounts of whiskey. Remarkably, nobody was killed by the fire itself. However, a six inch deep river of whiskey flowed down Mill Street, just around the corner from where Teeling is located today. Local residents couldn’t resist the temptation to fill anything they could with free whiskey, including their bellies. In the ensuing hours of drinking, thirteen people died of alcohol poisoning.
Teeling Distillery tasting
After a tour of the Teeling Distillery, it was time for a tasting. There are three different levels of tasting that you can do, ranging from the simplest tasting of Teeling Small Batch whiskey to a more comprehensive flight that offers four different varieties.
Tastings take place in a nice tasting room with booths for each tour. Famous Irish quotes about whiskey line the walls of the booths.
I opted for the Trinity, which at the time was the highest level tasting experience. Teeling works with a wide variety of barrels, each imparting unique flavors in the final whiskey. The first whiskey I tried was the single grain, with a 95% corn mash bill & aged in California cabernet sauvignon barrels. The second, which was my favorite, was the small batch aged in rum barrels. The third, which was also excellent, was the single malt later aged in sherry, port & other barrels.
Even if you don’t have time for a full Teeling Distillery tour, The Bang Bang Bar inside the distillery has the full line of Teeling whiskies along with craft cocktails, plus a gift shop.
Dublin’s Teeling Distillery is part of a new generation of Irish whiskey distilleries that is revitalizing the industry. Their tour & tasting is a fun way to spend an hour, especially on a rainy day. Book your tickets here!
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