Ireland – 58.5%ABV – 750ml bottle – $54 and up | £42 | €47
What an interesting whiskey this is! Many of you who know me or a regulars of this blog know or can see that I, for the most part, stick to Scottish single malt whiskies and will, on occasion, dabble in the American whiskies. I tend to steer clear of Irish whiskies. Not because I do not like them or have a prejudice toward the Irish, I plum just don’t know much about Irish whiskies or what to expect from them. I aim to change this and I’ve got to say Connemara is helping me!
When I think of Irish whiskey, like many Americans, I just think of Jameson (the standard entry level stuff) right away. Dr. Whisky, by the way, actually has a nice post on Jameson which can be found here. It’s nice enough but nothing to cry home about and certainly not an every day dram (at least not for me).
So after reading a few reviews of the Connemara, realizing that it was St. Patty’s day and hearing some nice stuff about it from my friends Gal & Kfir over at Whisky Israel, I decided to pick some up.
A peated Irish whiskey [you say]?? Yes, a peated Irish whiskey indeed. This, unlike most Irish whiskies is distilled only twice (as with most Scottish whiskies); the vast majority of Irish whiskies are distilled three times. Connemara whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon casks (not sure if they are first fill, 2nd fill, etc…) which also adds in the overall flavor.
So, here’s how it all went down:
Initial whiff — Huh… Chinese food, Lo Mien perhaps? Very floral (salted celery?) but quite sooty. The peat is so strange here, not smokey at all. Like soot on a steel pipe from a barrel stove (I used to have a barrel stove in a wood fort my old buddy Jason and I stole. I tell you the story some time. Funny stuff. Ah, the things 13yr olds do…), honey and very grassy. Strange though, I can’t shake the Chinese food…
On the mouth – Even at almost 60%ABV, it’s not that hot (though I’ve got a fairly high threshold). What a mix of flavors! Again, the peat is not a really smokey peat, more vegetal really. With some water, this stuff is quite creamy, not sweet however. Its all about various types of root veggies with chocolate, unsweetened mind you.
Finish – Long, sooty again and some honey comes back. Not sure how old this stuff is but I am not getting a ton of oak. Peppery and maybe a little white chocolate.
In sum — You know, after a few minutes, there’s an after taste that’s a bit odd. Not bad but not super pleasant either. I guess the best remedy for that is to drink more! Actually, I did, the very next day and started off with water. In so doing, I did not get that after taste — could have been something I ate the day before… This is a good one. It’s a contemplative dram, lots to discover here, though, maybe I’m digging to deep…
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