Irish Whiskey is in Jack Teeling’s blood. The art and craft of whiskey-making has been in the family for generations, since Walter Teeling first began distilling in 1782 right in the heart of Dublin. Inspired by and with respect to his heritage, Jack is on a mission to forge his own path and there’s nothing traditional about his approach.
He learned the ropes alongside his brother, Stephen Teeling, at the award-winning Cooley Distillery, which itself was founded by their father. (Learn more and test your knowledge of Irish Whiskey when Jack joins AFAR for a fun trivia game on March 10 on Instagram Live. Plus, you’ll be entered to win a Teeling Whiskey x La Colombe Irish Coffee Kit when you RSVP here!) After Stephen travelled around the world as a global marketing manager for one of the world’s most respected whiskey producers, the pair decided to revive the family trademark. With a mission of serving a new generation of whiskey drinkers craving both authenticity and bold new flavor, they launched Teeling Whiskey in 2012, reviving a brand which had been dormant for almost a century.
Three years later, when the siblings opened their distillery doors another part of their plan came to life: the long-held dream of bringing Irish Whiskey making back to Dublin. They built a new distillery just down the road from where the family’s original distillery once resided, in the vibrant Liberties area of the city. The first new distillery in Dublin in more than 125 years—and the first time in some 40 years that Irish whiskey was actually being distilled in Dublin again—it was a milestone achievement and cause for celebration.
Heritage with a Modern Twist
Liberties, steeped in heritage with ancient weavers workshops yet teeming with the buzzy energy of up-and-coming artist studios like Hen’s Teeth, artisanal food coops, and mom and pop-style restaurants (not to mention the Michelin-starred Variety Jones), was a perfect fit for their vision for Teeling Whiskey. More recently, the neighborhood directly inspired the brand’s new Blackpitts Whiskey, their first peated single malt, named for a local zone behind the distillery. “The area has authenticity, and it’s both historic and modern,” notes Jack. Just as its name suggests, it’s a place where “people have the liberty to do what they want.”
From Revival to Reinvention
And that spirit of originality is essential to Teeling Whiskey. For Jack creating an Irish Whiskey brand built on innovation means bringing out the “full spectrum of flavors you can get from Irish Whiskey—without having to stay in the lane of what people expect.” In the Teeling Whiskey portfolio, experimentation with time, and number and style of barrels during cask maturation creates a distinctive whiskey with tons of natural character.
“We build on that soft approachable nature that people enjoy about Irish Whiskey,” the co-founder explains. Teeling Whiskey’s Small Batch Whiskey, for example, uses hand-selected casks of grain and malt whiskey, fully ages them in bourbon barrels and then marries them together in Central American rum casks, which he notes, “brings out the underlying sweetness.” It all adds up to a deliciously sweet and spicy finish, complemented by lingering woody undertones. This St. Patrick’s Day, Teeling Small Batch Whiskey makes a fresh twist on a classic wintertime favorite with the Teeling Whiskey x La Colombe Irish Coffee Kit, which provides all the fixings to make an iced version of Irish Coffee at home.
Think Globally, Craft Locally
Much of the inspiration comes from the emergence of the craft brewery movement happening around the globe, which Jack explored while traveling for work and on personal trips—whether enjoying craft beers with local hipsters in Brooklyn or sipping small batch productions during vacations to Juarez. “I always want to sample and see what’s going on. Our ethos has to be very open and looking for inspiration, searching out different things.” Teeling so completely embraces the craft movement that, unlike others who typically have only one small batch product within an otherwise mass-produced lineup, everything they make is small batch.
Above all, “we want it to be as natural as possible,” says Jack, “so it’s a full-flavor experience, whether you’re drinking it straight or in mixed cocktails.” Teeling bottles all of their whiskeys at 46% ABV, doesn’t add color, and none of the whiskies are chill filtered, preserving the nuances of taste and mouthfeel. This attention to detail can be found throughout the brand.
As someone who admires craftsmanship and artistry, Jack hired artisans to build the distillery’s three copper pot stills. The results—which visitors can view first-hand on guided distillery tours that earned it the coveted ‘Visitor Attraction of the Year’ award at Whisky Magazine’s 2021 Icons of Irish Whiskey Awards—were more curvaceous and feminine than he’d originally envisioned. He loved them all the same, and named each of them after the next generation of Teelings: his three young daughters. The legacy continues.
Get the limited-edition Teeling Whiskey x La Colombe Irish Coffee Kit on ReserveBar as a gift with purchase with your bottle of Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey.