Whiskey Review: Teeling Wonders Of Wood Virgin Portuguese Oak

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

Teeling Whiskey was originally founded back in 1782 by Walter Teeling. The modern distillery, part of a reviving of the brand, was opened by Jack and Stephen Teeling in 2015. With “an eye on traditions of the past and another looking determinedly forward for ways to bring innovation to the industry” Teeling introduced Wonders of Wood (WOW) in 2022.

Their first offering was standard Teeling whiskey aged in Chinkapin White Oak cask, a hardwood found in the central and eastern parts of the United States. The offering is also an opportunity to give back. Each bottle of WOW helps the brand work with Tree Council of Ireland in reforestation efforts across the country to plant native Irish trees. For Teeling they will plant an acre of woodlands in the Glencree region of County Wicklow just outside Dublin. This second release will allow for a second acre to be planted.

Jack Teeling, Founder and Managing Director of Teeling Whiskey commented, “Wood is an amazing, sustainable and environmentally friendly material that plays a huge role in developing the flavour and character of a whiskey as it matures. We are truly in wonder of the role wood has in crafting our Teeling Whiskeys as well as its impact on the wider environment, so as part of our new series we wanted to do our part in helping the replanting of our native Irish forests.”

This year the WOW is using virgin Portuguese Oak (Quercus faginea) to finish their whiskey. The whiskey has a mashbill of 50% malted barley and 50% un-malted barley, which is triple distilled prior to maturing. Native to the Iberian Peninsula this Portuguese Oak was selected because of the higher tannin content when compared to typical oak. The resulting flavor profile produces distinctive savory marmalade flavors with hints of tobacco and pepper traditional of Irish whiskey.

Something I found interesting about the Portuguese Oak – it doesn’t appear to be a common wood used for cask manufacturing. It is commonly used for construction and timbers. Teeling selected this wood because it has a high tannin content and not because it was a traditional cask. I’m not trying to say this wood isn’t used for casks, or can’t be, but I find it curious this isn’t a more traditional use for this wood.

Wonders of Wood has been a hit with Irish whiskey fans. I’m a sucker for a good cause and I applaud the efforts at reforestation. Teeling is still taking a risk with this release. A non-traditional oak barrel could result in a slam dunk or be too strange on the palate. With that, we turn to the glass.

Teeling Wonders Of Wood Virgin Portuguese Oak

We review Teeling Wonders Of Wood Virgin Portuguese Oak, an Irish whiskey that’s been finished in hardwood that’s native to the Iberian Peninsula. (image via Teeling)

Tasting Notes: Teeling Wonders Of Wood Virgin Portuguese Oak

Vital Stats: mashbill of 50% malted barley and 50% un-malted barley. triple distilled. 100 proof or 50% abv. $99.99 SRP.

Color: light amber with yellow highlights.

Nose: Bananas, citrus, clove, and soft oak char are delicately balanced.

Taste: The mouthfeel for this is delightfully oily, it coats the teeth and tongue. I am entreated to nutmeg and toasted oak. A lot of the notes from the nose did not carry over. I don’t find marmalade but there is pepper and a light fruitiness.

As we cross into the finish I find tobacco and some salt. The hold is long, but the flavor is relatively muted.

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