Teeling whiskey’s final Brabazon single malt unlocks a Portuguese secret
The whiskey spent its final two years in casks from an ancient wine region Carcavelos, near Lisbon
Brabazon Series 4
Carcavelos is an ancient but obscure wine region on the outskirts of Lisbon. In the 19th century it was known internationally for its fortified wine, made in a similar way to tawny port. Almost all the vineyards have been swallowed up by the expanding cities of Lisbon and Estoril. A mere 10 hectares remain. Teeling Distillery has somehow managed to source used Carcavelos barrels from the Villa Oeiras estate to finish their latest and final release of the Brabazon Single Malt Series.
The whiskey was distilled in 2007 and spent the final two years of its life in the Carcavelos casks. “[Master distiller] Alex [Chasko] got to go there; he extended his trip from 24 hours to five days, so obviously he liked Carcavelos,” says Stephen Teeling. “He had used them on our standard single malt and it worked really well, bringing out fruit flavours, so we dialled it up on this one. It probably doesn’t make commercial sense, but this is good for us and interesting for people who are fed up reading all about the doom and gloom. It gives is us a positive start to the year.”
Brabazon Series 4 has been released at a higher alcohol of 49.5 per cent, “simply because Alex says it tastes better. This is his favourite child. There is citrus fruit, characteristic of Irish single malts, so it plays well, accentuating the fruits and adding a layer of complexity, in a way that did not happen with our other port casks. Alex can always do this; he is very, very precise in the outcome he wants.”
Teeling has been holding a series of virtual tastings, and has others planned, including one on St Valentine’s Day, followed by a Renaissance tasting at the end of February. “It’s all about giving people a bit of light entertainment and escape; we try to balance between geeky and dumbing down.”
Previous Brabazon releases have included whiskey aged in sherry, port and Pedro Ximenéz finishes. This is the last in the series. A total of 10,000 bottles were produced, and they are available from the distillery and specialist retailers for €95.