July Whisky Spotlight: Connemara 12 Year Old
The Cooley distillery is an Irish distillery on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, Ireland. It was converted into a distillery from an older potato alcohol plant by John Teeling in 1987.
Beam Inc. bought the distillery in 2011 for a cool (get it?) US$95million, meaning the distillery now belongs to Beam Suntory (after the 2014 acquisition of Beam by Suntory).
The distillery produces several products:
- Kilbeggan blended whiskey
- Kilbeggan single grain whiskey
- Connemara peated single malt whiskey
- The Tyrconnell single malt whiskey
- 2 Gingers blended whiskey
Since its opening, Cooley distillery has won over 300 medals, including several "Distillery of the Year" awards!
The Connemara Whiskies
Irish whiskies are mostly known for having a smoother finish compared to Scotch, due to its triple distillation compared to the twice distilled Scotches.
Breaking the mould, Connemara was the first widely available peated Irish whiskey, introduced in 1999. Connemara has a ppm (phenol parts per million) of 13 to 14 meaning the whiskey is subtly smoked compared to whiskies from the Islay region like Caol Ila or Bowmore.
Whilst there are other peated Irish whiskies available today, Connemara is still one of the most memorable & pioneer of its kind and still a whiskey that strikes a balance between subtle peat and the signature Irish smoothness!
A full, rounded and complex whiskey that is both smooth and smoky at the same time.
Tasting notes taken from Master of Malt:
Nose: Lemony and fresh. Quite light, oily peat which melds with a deft touch of light apple and pear, a hint of custard, and creamy malt.
Palate: Sweet, fizzy almost, with rustic, earthy peat, atop rhubarb and custard sweets, cream, malt and granary toast with melted butter. Smoky too, like a driftwood on fire.
Finish: Light finish, medium length, some vanilla and tangy fruit with traces of oily smoke and spice.