The path to Peated Glory is either a long, painful and strange one or you zip through it in no time at all. It depends on what your palate is ready for. It should be no surprise that it takes time to acclimate to a beverage that tastes like iodine, smoke and fossil fuels, but God help me, I love it so. To a salty veteran of peated whiskies, a moderately smoky Johnnie Black is child’s play, but to the newcomer the peat may be too stiff. Such is the world of smoky whisky. For us, Johnnie Black was the gateway. Then came Talisker which softened the blow from Lagavulin. Now, nothing stands in our way. We embrace Islay in an intimate, loving manner these days. Little weird, yes. It’s a peat thing.
We reviewed last month an American attempt at a traditional Scotch style peated whiskey, and now we look at Ireland’s attempt in Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey. This peat smoke dried single malt is double distilled rather than the traditional Irish triple distillation and is aged 12 years in bourbon casks. Don’t be fooled however with the prominent “peated” aspect of Connemara as compared with Islay, for today’s selection is peated at a phenolic level of 13-14 ppm (Ardbeg is above 50ppm). Also, 12 years is not generally a kind aging period for those that want peat kick; longer maturation tends to calm and smooth out peaty flavors, hence a number of Islay standards are only 10 years old. Nevertheless, the Cooley distilled Connemara 12 is produced in limited quantities and clocks in at 40% ABV. On to the review…
SWC Group Review
Nose- Light waft of campfire smoke and burning tire. Soft with menthol and black liquorice. Sweet grapes with some nice cereal notes. Fresh, clean, light.
Taste- Smoky fruit- grapes and pear. Earthy clove. Smooth and medium bodied.
Finish- Long with lightly smoked meat with hints of vanilla. Burnt barley and charred oak on back end. Building. Satisfying.
Comments- Overall, a quality whiskey. Well balanced, clean with decent flavors. The age has nicely calmed the kick and really no rough edges to speak of. The nose is nice and the finish rather excellent. However, the high price and low ABV are negatives.
SWC Rating – 85/100
Avg Price – $82
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
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