The origins of whiskey are murky, with both the Irish and Scottish claiming to have been first to the still. Some sources suggest that the first written record of whiskey can be found in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise, purportedly written in 1405, predating Scotch production by about 90 years.
According to bourbon historian Michael Veach, Americans didn’t begin producing the native spirit until the 1820s. Veach notes that the first written account of bourbon occurred in 1821, when it was mentioned in an issue of the Western Citizen, a Kentucky-based newspaper.
Five years later, a letter from a Lexington grocer to a distiller detailed the benefits of charring a barrel to improve whiskey’s flavors. But it was Dr. James C. Crow, a Scottish immigrant, whom Veach credits with refining the quality of bourbon in the 1830s.
A major difference between whiskey on a broad scale and bourbon lies in the ingredients. In order for a bourbon to be labeled as such, it must include a mixture of at least 51 percent corn, whereas whiskey’s ingredients can run the gamut from wheat, rye, barley, and corn.
But there’s more: Bourbon must also be made in the U.S., aged a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels, and cannot contain flavor or color additives. While Kentucky, bourbon’s birthplace, is the center for a majority of its production, the spirit can technically be made around the country.
Whiskey can hail from literally anywhere in the world and depending on the country, is made using a wide range of production, regulatory guidelines, and aging processes. Even in America, there is plenty of whiskey distilled that does not fall into the bourbon category, such as Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey.
It’s a little known fact that the majority of Irish whiskey sold is actually grain whiskey as it makes up the majority of the composition in big multinational owned brands of Irish whiskey,” Jack Teeling, founder of the Teeling Whiskey Company, said in a prepared statement. “As such, since our formation we have been keen to ensure we offered unique and interesting expressions of Teeling Single Grain Whiskey. Our new 13-Year-Old release is a further representation of our mission to help drive the continued expansion of the Irish whiskey category through unique bottlings and expressions.”
This release is Teeling Whiskey’s second and oldest release of Single Grain. It follows the distillery’s core offering of single grain, which was released in 2013.
The 13-Year-Old, older expression of Telling Single Grain has undergone dual-cask maturation. The initial Bourbon cask maturation produces what’s described as a beautiful base of sweet vanilla and caramel with buttery oak, which is then complimented by the extra aging in the Bordeaux Red Wine casks, layering on a beautiful bouquet of red berry and soft orchard fruits with honey notes.
Before we talk about what makes this bar good, it’s helpful to explain a little bit about what it’s not, and what it’s not is a deep-drop road bar. A “deeper” drop bar is one where there’s a greater vertical distance from the bar top to the lower hand position. A “shallower” drop bar is one where jesus whiskey there’s less distance between the bar top and the lower hand position.
The great thing about a deep-drop handlebar is that the difference between riding on the hoods and in the drops is significant — you get two really distinct riding positions here. You can set up the bar height so the hoods are relatively comfortable for climbing, drafting and easy riding, while the drops get you super low and aero to cheat the wind at high speed. Think Belgian road pros grinding out hours of 30mph pacemaking across pan-flat fields in brutal crosswinds.
The not-so-great thing about a deep drop becomes very evident the moment you point your bike down a steep, chunky downhill that requires braking. There’s less risk of your hands slipping off the bars in the drops than there is on the hoods, so that’s where you hold on. But wait a minute: Now your weight is so low and so far forward and so nose-wheelie-inducing that it’s all you can do to keep from going over the bars every time you hit a bump or tap the front brake.