Teeling SAMPLE 15 Years Old Amburana Cask 6210 Specially Selected for the Duchess 57.8% 2006
|Bottler||Teeling Whiskey Company|
|Bottled for||The Duchess Exclusive|
|Cask Type||Virgin Amburana Brazilian hardwood|
|Condition||In Original Container|
This is a Best of Whiskies exclusive
Nose: This is very much carrot cake and Christmas cake alike. Packed with flavors of Cinnamon and five spices, nutmeg and almonds. The nose evolves into more of marzipan savors.
Taste: The before mentioned spices are again eminent. The marzipan is also there and liquorish! The sweet side brings us baked apples, carrot and Christmas cake, vanilla spices and nuts such as macadamia’s.
Finish: a very long and lingering spicy finish
Comments: A dram you never tasted before. A instant love affair with this dram.
Amburana is a type of Brazilian hardwood. These asks are typically used to age cachaça, the sugarcane aguardente. While not an allowed cask type in Scotch whisky production, other producers like Plantation (rum), WhistlePig (American whiskey) and recently also Teeling used it to add a unique twist to its Irish single malt whiskey.
There was a Wonders of Wood release and now Dutch bottler The Duchess presented an exclusive single cask release that was finished in Amburana wood.
Nose: a very typical aroma of apple crumble, with baked yellow apple as well as some buttery notes and cinnamon sugar. Star anise and golden raisins. Then some coconut shavings, marzipan aroma and a whiff of tonka beans. There’s a hint of vanilla frosting as well. Quite nice, almost a baker’s whisky.
Mouth: more of this baked apple and cinnamon combination, although there’s now a (harsher) woody side to it, with an earthy edge. Liqourice, ginger and a faint tannic / bitter note. Resinous hints. Then some fruit and honey granola as well. The fruitiness of the spirit is still there (some apricot maybe) but the alcoholic side and a spiciness tend to overtake it a little.
Finish: long, with the spice lingering on. Cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg until it dies. Still hints of baked apple.
The cinnamon and baked apple pie in this Teeling Amburana is quite unique. Teeling says these casks lead to carrot cake flavours and they’re right. It’s a successful experiment but I’m not sure I could drink a whole bottle of this.
Gal Granov (88)
Time for some whiskey, and a very unique cask type today: Amburana wood. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve heard about this wood type. It seems it’s a Brazillian type of hardwood used originally to age cachaça. Irish distilleries have an edge over the Scotch distillers as they are able to use all sorts of wood types and not only Oak – pretty cool.
This cask is bottled for the Duchess , aged 15 years in virgin Amburana cask – very excited to get to try how this unique sort of wood can affect the Irish distillate. let’s try it then…
Nose: A nice combination of baked apples and coconut shreds, there’s an abundance of spice, with ginger powder, aniseed and cinnamon bark, a touch of marzipan/almonds alongside icing sugar, sweet raisins, and buttery fresh croissant. Quite inviting.
Palate: Bigger and a bit more bitter than the nose at first, then the sweeter cinnamon pastries / baked apples arrive, there’s plenty of dried coconut, some licorice, and a fair amount of wood spices, quite hot and even earthy at times, with the sweet fruit in the background. A wee note of red grapefruit as well. A very interesting profile indeed!
Finish: Apple sweetness alongside wood spices – mainly on pepper, licorice, and cinnamon, and a very faint hint of grapefruit pith.
Conclusion: A very interesting and yummy whiskey, with lots of sweet baked apples, spices, and a nice twist. highly enjoyable! Good choice of cask there by the Duchess.
When this came out the thing I first did was look up what the rulings and regulations for Irish Whiskey are. Amburana is, as you might have guessed, not oak. It’s a Brazilian kind of hardwood not often used for maturing any type of spirit. In Scotland this would immediately disqualify the contents of being whisky, but in Ireland, as it turns out, there is no such regulation.
It’s no surprise the whisk(e)y industry generally sticks to oak, since it’s one of the hardwoods that tends to not leak. Amburana is different and casks have to be handled very carefully. As far as I know this is only the second cask of Amburana wood from Teeling, with the first being a distillery exclusive.
So, whiskey after all! And with a spirit like Teeling, which is generally of very high quality, this was an interesting one to dive in to! A bottle share was created, some samples were sold. But even within my bottle-share club of fellow whisky nerds, not too many people were enthralled by what a different type of wood maturation could bring to bear.
Initially this worried me, but after having tried the liquid, I’m actually quite glad to be stuck with some more of it. Why? Just read on!
Initially it starts off with that typical Irish Whiskey candy-like sweetness. Wine gums and peardrops and such. But quickly therafter there’s a veritable mountain of marzipan and dark wood. Almond flour, tonka beans, a whiff of mocha too.
Quite some peppery heat, with loads of marzipan and tonka beans. Some dried fruits including a bitter tinge from the fruit stones. A spiced cake like sweetness, almond flour and freshly ground espresso.
The finish is very consistent with the palate. Slightly more mellow, and long. After a few minutes the tonka beans and marzipan start waning, and more typical woody notes come through.
It’s not very uncommon to get notes of marzipan in whiskey. In this case there was a boatload of it, and that’s something new. The notes of tonka bean, though, those pulled me right in. It’s a very unique whiskey, and I can imagine the strangeness taking some time to get used to, but I absolutely love it.
Some real innovation that is not solely based on casks being used for a different kind of wine than normal, or a more efficient type of barley at the cost of depth of flavor. I highly recommend getting a bottle and getting stuck in!
As with the Ailsa Bay from a little while ago, I am very much considering to get a second one of this, for later.
Let’s hope quality booze like this paves the way for more innovative approaches in the future!