This is the fourth (and final) release in the Brabazon series, which celebrates fortified wines and their influence on Teeling single malt whiskey. Check 01 Sherry, 02 Port and 03 Pedro Ximénez.
This edition was matured in Carcavelos casks. On the packaging Teeling states Carcavelos white port but that’s an unfortunate mistake. Port can only be produced in the Douro valley (North of Portugal) and Carcavelos is a separate DOC between Lisbon and the city of Cascais (Southern part). Carcavelos is the fourth fortified wine in Portugal (after Port, Madeira and Moscatel de Setúbal), now largely forgotten but once very highly regarded. Thomas Jefferson once wrote to his wine merchant “I would prefer good Lisbon wine; next to that Sherry, next to that Carcavallo”.
However winemaking in the Carcavelos area has been in decline for many decades. There’s only 25 acres of vineyards left (slightly obscure grapes like Arinto and Galego Dourado) and basically just one brand with (irregular) production: Villa Oeiras. In fact this is the only state-owned winery in the country, in an attempt of the government not to let the wine fall into oblivion.
Only the most extreme fortified wine lovers will have heard of this wine. So Teeling, nice of you to draw some attention to it, but they won’t be happy you’re calling it a Port wine. Now let’s see what the effect is on Irish whiskey.
Teeling Brabazon Bottling No.4 13 yo 2007 (49,5%, OB 2020, Carcavelos finish, 10.000 btl.)
Nose: nicely aromatic, with plenty of apricots and oranges as well as floral honey. Melons and tart limes. Grape juice and something of armagnac. Hints of caramel in the background. Maybe slightly more oak spice than you’d get in a sherry finish, but it finds a nice balance.
Mouth: starts fairly sweet and fruity again, with baked apples, mirabelles and a hint of pink grapefruit. Some marmalade and orange peel. Many honeyed notes and brown sugar, until a slightly grassy note and floral tea take over. Light pepper and ginger.
Finish: medium, with more caramelized almonds, ripe plums and lightly toasted oak.
A nice end point for this high-quality series. The Carcavelos finish isn’t overpowering, adds supports the Irish character with fruits and floral honey. Well done, check it out and please get to know the wine as well. Around € 90-95.