It’s a very exciting time here at Teeling HQ with a number of innovative projects in the works at the moment. However, this week our distillery welcomed a much anticipated, and very special delivery. Those looking forward to new and modern interpretations of Irish whiskey will be delighted to hear we have begun production on our own batch of Crystal Rye Whiskey, a style never previously attempted before. We sat down with our Process and Quality Manager, Pauric Ennis, to discuss this new style, the changes that will have to be made on the production floor this week, and what this means for Irish and World Whiskeys.
What was the inspiration behind producing a Crystal Rye Whiskey?
Crystal Rye is not commonly used in the world of whiskey. We’re constantly trying to find new ways to be innovative and put our unique stamp on Irish Whiskey. In the past we have been innovative with our selection of casks and partners – this is a way we can show we can innovate around raw materials.
What is Rye?
Rye is a cereal grain, similar to wheat and barley. Although we will be using crystal rye – this is roasted or steeped. It is stewed essentially akin to crystal malt. I personally get a biscuity scent from it, almost like a toasted bitterness.
What sort of challenges can you expect in the production process for the Crystal Rye Whiskey?
We did expect to encounter difficulties in terms of milling and mashing the rye with other grains, however after running a number of tests this morning we no longer foresee issues, which is great. Later on in the process we can also expect changes on the production floor in terms of set temperatures, flow rates, and resting times.
Will an alternative distilling style have to be adopted when producing the Rye Whiskey?
Although we haven’t done this before, and there are sure to be some snags along the way, we expect the process to be similar to our barley mash bills. We have the capacity to double distill, but we’ll most likely distill this the traditional three times.
Do you know what barrels we will be using for the resulting spirit?
We’re looking at first fill Bourbon, new American oak and Sherry for this liquid – we’re expecting the distillate to be highly unique so we have to do it justice through to the maturation stage.
What sort of tasting notes can we expect from the Whiskey?
It is difficult to say at the moment as nothing like this has been done before. However, based off the barrels we are using and our knowledge of the crystal rye we are hoping to achieve a biscuity, roasted element with a slightly bitter taste. Also similar to crystal malt, we can most likely expect a certain fruitiness from the end product.
What makes Teeling’s Rye Whiskey different from previous Rye Whiskeys?
Unmalted rye is used in America to make Rye Whiskey as well as in many Nordic countries when creating vodka and other spirits. Rye is not typically used in Irish Whiskey, furthermore crystal, or malted, rye is rarely used in whiskey at all. It would be more so associated with the brewing of certain craft beers. We’re striving to utilise different types of grain to create unique and interesting tasting profiles. We want to make whiskey that no one has tasted before.
Why is this significant for Teeling and for Irish Whiskey?
It is massively significant for Teeling as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation in what we do and also carry on traditions of the past. Using an alternative grain, like rye, is new for us. We’re trying to put our own unique stamp on traditional Irish Whiskey, however we are adamant to stay within the legislation and context of what Irish Whiskey is. We’re not just being different for the sake of being different.
Make sure to keep an eye on our social media channels for any updates on the Crystal Rye Whiskey, as well as the many other stirring developments we have in store over the next couple of weeks – now, let the milling begin!