The almost unknown Teaninich single malt comes from the village of Alness in Ross Shire ,and it is a near neighbour to the much more famous Dalmore distillery. It was founded and built in 1817 by Hugh Munro on his estate of Teaninich Castle.Despite an initial difficulty of procuring barley owing to a high demand from illegal distilleries, by 1830 Teaninich produced 30 times more spirit than it did at its founding. At that point Munro sold the distillery to his younger brother Lieutenant-General John Munro. As an officer he spent most of his time in India, so he decided to rent the distillery out to various people until1898 Robert Innes Cameron took a stake in the distillery, and Munro and Cameron renovated and extended the distillery, investing £10,000 in the process. In 1904 Cameron, who also owned stakes in Benrinnes, Linkwood and Tamdhu, took over the distillery completely. After Cameron died in 1933 the distillery was sold to Scottish Malt Distillers. In 1970 the distillery was greatly expanded, and an entire new building with six new stills was taken in operation. The four older stills remained in operation alongside the new stills. The old side of the distillery was then updated over the next decade. First, new installations for milling, mashing and fermentation were built in 1973, and in 1975 the distillery added a dark grains plant, which produces cattle feed from the draff. In 1984 the old side of the distillery was mothballed, and the new side followed the next year, temporarily ending production. The new side of the distillery resumed production in 1991. In 2000 a mash filter press was installed in the distillery, which is unique in Scottish malt whisky production; all other Scottish whisky distilleries use mash tuns.
In April 2013 owner Diageo announced a new renovation of the distillery. They also announced a new distillery with 16 new stills will be placed next to the old distillery. The new distillery is planned to have a different name than Teaninich, and produce a separate whisky.
The distillery mainly produces malts for blending, and it is used in Haigs Dimple and Johnnie Walker Red Label. There is no visitor centre and there are no official bottlings of the malt
But now to the whisky !!
I have previously reviewed the 10 years old Teaninich in the Flora and Fauna range and now let us look at the 2004 Connoisseurs Choice edition which was matured in refill sherry casks and bottled in 2013.
I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a half teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes.Incidently this is a whisky that water should be added to, to gain the full experience of this quite subtle whisky.
The whisky pours a light golden colour, leaving long legs flowing down the inside of the glass.
The nose is initially quite aromatic with notes of citrus and pear drops and candied fruit. This is followed by notes of strawberrys and cream , the nose keeps reminding me of Edinburgh rock and entering an old fashioned sweet shop!!!!
A really warm citrus opening to the whisky. Georgeous!!
The flavour is initially quite dry and soft with hints of chocolate and strawberries. Now stronger notes of Galaxy style chocolate and strawberry ice cream appear on the palate. A little digestive biscuit note appears as we approach a longish elegant finish where notes of chocolate dominate and wisps of faint smoke appear.
Even at at 9 years old this is an extremely enjoyable whisky which like the 10 year old makes one wonder why these beautifully balanced, well made single malts are not more widely available.