Review: Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

100% Malted Barley
Distiller Cooley (Louth, Ireland)

This whiskey is a single malt, owned by Kilbeggan and distilled at Cooley distillery, home to brands such as Kilbeggan, Greenore, and Tyrconnell. This whiskey is a bit unique as far as Irish whiskey because it double rather than triple distilled, and it is also peated bringing in smoke and earthy flavours. The whiskey itself is blended from a mix of younger and older whiskies to bring out a good peat character from the younger whiskies as well as maturity and depth from the older whiskies. The name itself, “Connemara” refers to the region of Western Galway, where peat dwells and is cut, and where some of the distillery staff themselves used to cut peat.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Nose: A bit peppery, with a light note of smoke above a decent mix of oak and rich grain. Malt, a light sourness, and light minerality. Woody, slightly marshy earth and the lightest note of apples as well with vanilla emerging more over time as well.

Taste: Starts sweet, moving towards some grassy notes, roasted nuts, and tingly spice with a good kick of lemon zest too. Not as much oak as on the nose. Earthy, lightly smoky peat comes centre stage at the very end in wonderful fashion. Not heavily peated , though- lightly so. Vanilla right on the end, too.

Finish: Lightest bit of bitterness here. The lemon zest continues, with some tannins, nuttiness, a light touch of apple – and quite decent length to it with the oak coming, and remaining, after the rest has died away. However, a bit empty.

The peat quality in this one is a bit different than those seen elsewhere – quite earthy and a bit funky. A bit lacking for the imagination (i.e. simple). Though the parts are simple, they do their work well and there aren’t negative pieces counteracting really good pieces – there are just a few things missing here and there.

Value: Average, at $59.