This will conclude our Irish Whiskey Week, a week that was lurking in the mud and only came into fruition when it was almost too late. I already published the first Tyrconnell review here and was writing the second Tyrconnell review (The Port one) when it hit me that I could make this into a Irish Whiskey Week. Irish Whiskey deserves that. In the end Ireland only has three distilleries that are “big”, Bushmills, Midleton and Cooley. No Bushmills Whiskey was reviewed here this time, Midleton was only featured with Jamesons 18yo and the rest are all really Cooley Whiskies. Even The Wild Geese are supposed to use Whiskey made by Cooley. Maybe I should have called this a Cooley Whisky Week…
Let’s finish this week off with a hopefully nice Single Cask Connemara, or peated Cooley Whiskey if you prefer. Strange enough this and a lot (but not all) of its brothers and sister single casks were bottled at 46% ABV instead of Cask Strength. When I look around, even all these Single Cask Connemara’s are sold out, so if you happen to find one get it if you’re interested.
Color: Light gold
Nose: Very light peat, creamy with vanilla. I smell more smoke than peat actually. Again a very elegant peated Irish Whiskey. Clay (a fresh uncolored clay brick kids play with). Very deep, toned down wet wood. Smoked kippers. Needs some air to open up, but I really like what I smell. Behind the smoke there is also some nice sweet fruits and salty licorice and mint. Meaty.
Taste: Sweet almonds. Sugared nuts. Small hint of peat, very elegant and toned down. Warming. Great balance. Ashes and a tiny amount of wood bitterness. Definitely a very tasty whisky, a mile (not miles) away from the regular young Cask Strength version, which is a lot cleaner, but also full of aroma, with less complexity. The finish is long and goes down the throat like a syrup, slowly and warms you up nicely. It leaves you behind with salty lips. I called this more complex than the cask strength version, but in itself it is not very complex, shall we say medium complexity?
Again we have here a very good Irish Whiskey that is impossible to buy these days. Not a lot of Connemara is bottled as a single cask and I’m wondering why. It is great stuff, even when its reduced to 46% ABV. I hope more bottling will be made like this. It’s a shame it’s that scarce.
This is the end, Irish Whiskey Week is over. A final comment? I have to say that this final Connemara is very different from my beloved Redbreast 15yo, and maybe even a tad better, what lovely stuff. I was surprised at the quality of the Jameson’s 18yo and how it reminded me of the Redbreast. Another plus was the quality of the Kilbeggan 15yo blend and the quality of both Connemara’s. But the sad thing is that all the good Irish stuff is hard to come by. Kilbeggan and Connemara Single Cask are both almost impossible to come by, and that’s a shame.