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The Skill of the Irish:
Teeling Whiskey Company

愛爾蘭精妙之作

 My first taste of Teeling Irish Whiskey was in 2013, with their “Small Batch” release. Here was a high-malt content blend, non-chill filtered, aged in ex-rum casks and bottled at 46%, all for a very reasonable price (barely more than $300HKD locally). At the time (and still), it was worlds apart from what most other distilleries and blenders were doing at that price, and it was a very enjoyable whiskey too! 

Fast forward, and Teeling have released a number of equally-fascinating whiskies (including a single grain aged in Californian Cab Sauv casks, and a single malt aged in five different types of wine casks), not to mention a number of incredible age statement releases. 

You could be forgiven for thinking the Teeling family are relatively new to whiskey (considering the Teeling Whiskey Company was only established in 2012), however the family has actually been making whiskey for over 200 years - beginning when Walter Teeling built a craft distillery in Dublin in 1782. Sadly however all of Dublin’s distilleries closed when the Irish whiskey industry collapsed in the twentieth century. 

To revive the “Spirit of Dublin”, Brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling established TWC in 2012, with the aim of bringing distillation back to Dublin city centre in the traditional Dublin style, using three copper pot-stills. 

Teeling’s success and expansion in Asia has seen them recently appoint a dedicated brand ambassador in Hong Kong – Guy Horan. I sat down with Guy at Club Qing recently to discuss Teeling, the HK market and future plans. 

ME: Martin Eber      GH: Guy Horan 

ME: Teeling has gone from strength to strength in HK. To what do you attribute this success? 

GH: There’s a line in James Joyce’s Ulysses which says ‘ a good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub,’ I think the same could be said for crossing Hong Kong without passing a Michelin starred restaurant! Then there’s the incredible cocktail scene which is proven by the number of HK bars on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. People here have a real appreciation for craft, quality, and creativity in F&B and I think that’s what has allowed Teeling to be so successful. 

ME: Now that HK has its own dedicated Teeling ambassador, what can Irish whiskey fans expect to see in terms of promotions, events or future releases? 

GH: I love pairing whiskey with food and drinks, and HK has some amazing craft F&B producers so I’m excited to do some whiskey dinners and food pairings. Later this year we will have a very special, very limited edition release that will be exclusive to Asia. It’s a collaboration with a renowned Chinese winery, but that’s all I can say right now. For now, there’s the Brabazon Bottling Single Malt, new to HK. This series focusses on the influence of fortified wines, and is crafted from a complementary range of vintages, sizes and styles of Sherry cask matured single malts. It’s bottled at 49.5% and non-chill filtered, so none of the complex layers of flavour from the sherry casks are lost. 

As the fastest growing alcohol category in the world, it certainly seems like Teeling are well placed to spread the word of quality Irish Whiskey, and it’s great to see an Irish Whiskey doing that in HK by establishing a dedicated brand ambassador here. 

我首次品嚐愛爾蘭Teeling威士忌在2013年,當時這品牌還是小批生產,其威士忌更是混合高濃度麥芽、沒經過冷凝過濾、從舊式冧酒酒桶陳釀和酒精濃度達46度。品牌所有系列都價錢吸引(在本地只是略高港幣300元)。Teeling在當時(現在依然)與其他酒廠和製造商的價格都是大相逕庭,同時品質十分令人傾倒!

時光飛逝,Teeling已經推出不少吸引酒款,包括在加洲Cabernet Sauvignon酒桶釀造的單一榖物威士忌,以及在5款不同類型酒桶陳釀的單一麥芽威士忌,更不用說其他推出的優美年份的威士忌。

在此可以不怪你以為Teeling是威士忌界的新星(由於公司在2012年成立),但其家族早已擁有超過200年的釀酒經驗—當Walter Teeling於1782年在都柏林建立酒廠,不幸的是愛爾蘭威士忌行業在20世紀已經衰落,導致全部都柏林酒廠不幸倒閉。

為了恢復「都柏林烈酒」的聲譽,Teeling兄弟Jack和Stephen在2012年創立Teeling Whiskey Company。酒廠更銳意用銅製蒸餾器,來將傳統都柏林風格的蒸餾技術帶回市中心。

眼見Teeling在亞洲的優良成績和業務擴展,它最近在香港更委任全新專業品牌大使Guy Horan,我更有幸與Guy在Club Qing討論Teeling的香港市場和未來計劃。

ME: Martin Eber      GH: Guy Horan 

 

ME: Teeling在香港被受重視程度日漸增強,這成功之處你認為原因是甚麼?

GH: 有句著名金句來自愛爾蘭著名作家James Joyce的小說《Ulysses》「一條良好難題是不會走過任何一間酒吧而到達都柏林!」同樣地,我認為不會走過一間米芝蓮餐廳而都達香港!這裏的林立cocktail場景見證不少香港酒吧進入亞洲50大最佳酒吧名單。香港人對精釀、高品質和飲食業創造力都抱持真正欣賞的態度,這樣令Teeling在香港發展成功的原因。

 

ME: 現在香港亦擁有Teeling宣傳大使,那麼愛爾蘭威士忌的酒迷期望可以看見甚麼宣傳、活動和未來推出產品?

 

GH: 我十分喜歡以威士忌配對食物和飲品,同時香港亦有十分優良的人手製食品製造商,所以我對舉行威士忌晚宴和美食配對十分興奮。今年後期我們會有只在推出亞洲的特別限量產品,它與一間著名中國酒廠合作,不過我只可以暫時透露這些。另一方面,香港會推出一款Brabazon Bottling Single Malt系列,會注重加強酒的影響元素之外,是由不同年份,大小和風格的雪利酒桶熟成的單一麥芽製成。經過非冷凝過濾和酒精49.5%入瓶,雪利酒桶的所有複雜層次的味道都一點不溜。

作為全球最快速成長的酒類,Teeling置於一個極佳位置向各地宣揚品質細緻的愛爾蘭威士忌,很榮幸可以看見愛爾蘭威士忌在香港專業品牌大使。