Sláinte! Many cheers to everyone joining me on this week’s Trending Thursday. What better way to start the return from break than with a whiskey tour?
Earlier this week, I took a tour of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. Before I go into the history of Teeling Whiskey, some background on whiskey in Ireland is necessary. During the 19th century, Irish whiskey ruled over 60% of international whiskey sales. This was known as the Golden era! But that didn’t last for long: Due to prohibition in the States, all whiskey sales to America ceased. Sales in the United Kingdom and all of its Commonwealth also came to a halt as Ireland gained its independence. And, if that wasn’t enough, the invention of the coffee still was the final nail in the coffin. This new invention meant that distilleries could produce whiskey at a faster rate and for half the cost.
Places that started using the coffee still produce whiskey in 5 days compared to the 90 days it took for Irish whiskey distilleries to produce whiskey with their pot stills. From controlling about 60% of whiskey sales, Irish whiskey dropped to about 2% internationally. By 1976, they went from having 32 functioning distilleries to zero. Despite these hurdles, Irish distilleries decided to stay true to who they were and continue to produce high-quality whiskey. The Teeling Distillery was the first new distillery built-in Dublin in 125 years; it has only been open for 4 years. But the Teeling family has made whiskey for a lot longer than that, dating back to 1782 by a man named Walter Teeling.
The distillery still has the first barrels of whiskey made by the Teeling family, which are over 33 years old. When making whiskey, the only ingredients needed are water, yeast, and grain. At the Teeling Distillery, they are using barley because it is the most common crop grown in Ireland, which gives them access to a large supply. All the whiskey that is distilled in the distillery is encased in second-hand barrels. The reason that they use second-hand is because all the alcohol that was once in them has been absorbed through the wood. So as the whiskey is aging and the wood is “breathing”, all the flavors and aromas from the previous alcohols are mixed in with the whiskey. The “breathing” process is when the barrels containing whiskey start to expand and contract. Through this process, about 5% of the whiskey is lost to evaporation. Back in the day because they couldn’t explain where the whiskey was going, they believed that it was angels that were taking some. The Teeling Distillery is a beautiful story of rebirth and is one for the history books!
Raise those glasses and say Sláinte with me on today’s blog. If you are enjoying these blogs don’t be shy, you can check me out every Thursday! Make sure you follow @msmutravels for exclusive sneak peeks. Have a great day!