I’ve been sitting on a sample of this this stuff for well over a year now. I’ve tried it before without taking notes and was less than impressed but I couldn’t decide what to drink the other day and finally cracked it open.
Connemara is unusual in that it’s a peated Irish whiskey, which is quite different from the usual sweet, fruity profile. As far as I know the peated malt used for this comes from Scotland and is mixed with unpeated Irish malt before distillation.
Aged 3 years * . 40%ABV.
*for lack of age statement.
Nose: Very peaty, but that grassy, herbal peat one finds in Highland Scotch whisky. Even when the peat is at it’s peak there’s a strong fruity note, dominated by peaches all the way through, though it balances the peat quite nicely. Leather. Peaches n’ cream instant oatmeal. Woody vanilla. Wood oils.
Palate: Bitter wood. Sour malt. Sorghum beer. Dirty, oily smoke. That really bad cheap bubble gum that came with trading cards.
Finish: Short. Bitter wood. Sour Grains. Slight woodsmoke.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: No
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No
The nose on this was very promising and for a moment I forgot why I didn’t like it. The peat profile was very similar to the highland peat on some Scotch whiskies and it worked really well with the sweet malt. But then I took a sip and it all went downhill. The palate and finish were both weak and unrefined. That said this is a very cheap whisky in many markets and could be more enjoyable than some of the other whiskies at its price point.
I still wouldn’t write off all Connemara whiskies. I imagine that at cask strength and maybe with some age for refinement this could be quite an enjoyable dram.