Rounding out a week of reviews of bourbon cask whiskies from unheralded distilleries here is one not from the Speyside (like Monday’s Glentauchers and Tuesday’s Inchgower) but from the northern Highlands. Teaninich is another of Diageo’s workhorse distilleries, pumping out malt for the group’s blends. We drove by it on our way from the Speyside to Dornoch last June but as they’re not open to visitors there was no question of stopping. I don’t have much experience of their whisky either—I think the only official release is in the Flora & Fauna series; and you don’t see a whole lot of it from the independents either—not in the US at least, This 19 yo was another in Hunter Laing’s extensive release commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Old Malt Cask label and like many of the bottles in the series from non-name distilleries it is still available.. Will this be as good as the Inchgower or the Arran? Let’s see.
Teaninich 19, 1999 (50%; Old Malt Cask 20th Anniversary Release; from my own bottle)
Nose: A mix of lemon and honey right off the top with a grassy note below. As it its the grassy note comes to the fore along with some pepper. Less grassy more lemony with a few drops of water.
Palate: All the stuff from the nose but with a big dose of malt added in. A nice bite at 50% but some of that is the lemon and grass and pepper and not the alcohol per se. With more time some vanilla emerges along with more honey but the grassy note expands as well. Less grassy here too with water but a little chalky; more pepper too.
Finish: Medium-long. Gets more peppery as it goes and then the fruit pops out again at the end—and it’s a little muskier now. With time there’s a lime rind kind of bitterness. As on the palate with water.
Comments: When first opened the grassy note was a bit too strong on the palate. But as the bottle has stayed open there’s better balance. I could see more fruit emerging with a few more years in the cask but as it is this is very good bourbon cask whisky in an un-sexy style.
Rating: 86 points.