Cooley! How cool is that! As the label states, this is peated Cooley so probably spirit that was made to become a Connemara. But what is Cooley?
In 1985, Jack Teeling bought a former state potato alcohol distillery and two years later converted it into an independent Irish Whiskey distillery with a column still and two pot stills, located on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, hence the name. Cooley is known for distilling only twice, where other Irish distillers distill three times.
25 years later Mr. Teeling sold his distillery for €71 million to Beam Inc. On January 13th 2014 however, Japan’s Suntory Holdings sort of bought Beam Inc. for about €10.2 billion, making Cooley part of Suntory now. In the same deal our beloved Laphroaig, will enter the Japanese outfit wich already contains Bowmore.
After selling Cooley to Beam Inc. Teeling bought Diageo’s recently closed Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk with a group of investors and is converting it into a distillery. Great Northern made Harp Lager, Smithwicks, and Carlsberg (for the Irish market) and Diageo moved the production of these beers to their Guinness St. James Gate brewery in Dublin. Production of Teeling Whiskey should commence after the summer of this year. Today Teeling Whiskey is already on the market, obviously sourced from another distillery.
Color: White Wine.
Nose: Sweetish, light, lemony and young. Very fresh, lightly smoky, dusty and fatty peat. A long time ago, I had a tall bottle of cask strength Connemara (59% ABV), and this smells very similar. Grassy and lemongrass. Alcohol, chocolate and a bit fatty. Hints of wood. Lemon again which pushes the peat and smoke to the background. The smoke returns after some breathing. Bonfire. The wood and fire notes are really great. Small hints of toffee, cardboard and strangely enough some perfume. Empty glass has a lot of smoke and toffee notes.
Taste: Smoky sweet and quite a lot more peat than in the nose. Wood, ashes. Bonfire again. A little bit of bitterness from the peat (and the wood). Quickly turns dry and fatty. Soot, ashes and a lot of dust. Animalesk (there is that word again), with lemons. Quite some balls for an Irish Whisky. Cloying toffee with nice depth. Lacks some zest, or freshness, to be a proper Irish Whiskey if you ask me. Salty lips. Finish is half-long and somewhat introvert.
On the nose, quite a nice Cooley. Taste wise it’s also nice, but not very complex. WYTIWYG (What You Taste Is What You Get). Definitely a nice Cooley, but I have to say there are some more outspoken examples around. Great nose though.