Teaninich Manager's Dram 17-year-old

Teaninich is one of those divisive drams that lacks an official single malt presence but is widely supported by a variety of independent bottlers. Situated at the far end of an industrial estate on the edge of Alness, which is also home Dalmore, it was founded in 1817 and remains a popular component of various blends.

If you’re looking for an official bottling of Teaninch then your options are very scarce with the Flora & Fauna 10-year-old being the most widely available online and across the Diageo distillery shops. Released in large numbers this hasn’t stopped other entries in the range from selling out since its inception in 1992, but Teaninich just isn’t a household name. It’s a shame really as it’s a solid enough whisky despite the tampering and artificial colouring and I was quite taken with it again in my recent Flora & Fauna trio article.

The other option from an official standpoint is one of the Manager’s Dram series which was originally only available to Diageo employees, but bottles have ventured onto the secondary market in recent years. This one dates from 2001 and was distilled circa 1984, there’s also a 13-year-old expression from 2009 as the Manager’s Choice. Both were specially selected by those at the distillery to showcase the characteristics of their whisky to outsiders. I’ve had a couple of the Manager’s Dram bottlings including the excellent Oban 13-year-old that took no prisoners.

By some twist of fate Teaninch today is one of the biggest producers in the Diageo arsenal of distilleries. Having visited the outskirts of the distillery – sadly I missed the tour as part of the Dornoch Whisky Festival last year – there is some age to the buildings on one side out of camera shot. In the 1970’s a second distilling area was built as an annexe much like that seen at Macallan. Funnily enough this new Teaninich was known as the A-side, which suggests a lack of imagination. Then to much fanfare in 2014, further expansion on the site is announced with the arrival of 6 new stills and an additional 8 washbacks coming online after a short delay. The end result is an expected annual capacity of nearly 10 million litres which is a phenomenal amount for a distillery that remains largely unknown. Even still there is talk of a separate distillery appearing on the extensive site to further increase production.

I was given a sample of this Manager’s Dram by the forever generous WhiskyLifeStyle and along with the Blair Athol equivalent of this bottling to review shortly as well. It’s all been fairly frantic here at Whisky Rover, with so many whiskies to cover and a backlog forming that needs addressed, so lets start with the Teaninich.

Colour: syrup
Nose: a rich seem of resin and pine wood followed by apricots and oranges. There's syrup and grated lemon zest with a real citrus intensity. Crushed almonds and a vanilla sponge cake round off a fun trip.
Taste: I've written sweet and sour down here, with a charcoal coffee finish. Backing up again its a medley of jelly beans, root ginger, more almonds and wood sap for the majority of the palate.

Overall: mixed thoughts on this one really. I actually prefer the more engineered 10-year-old expression, whereas this bottling is a decent enough cask strength release it just doesn't say enough to really engage. I'm not thinking Teaninich when I taste or reflect on the whisky, it could just be another ex-bourbon cask from a host of distilleries.  

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