Connemara 12 yr Peated Review

Connemara 12 yr Peated Review

Connemara 12 yr Peated Irish Single Malt is the only peated Irish Whiskey on the market today and it was created by the Kilbeggan Distilling Co., and is distilled at the Cooley distillery like all of their other products besides their namesake. In a nutshell, it’s an irish Whiskey that’s been given the Islay treatment. What I mean by that is they import 20PPM peated barley from Scotland and then mash, ferment and distill it in Ireland.

“Peating” a whiskey means peat smoke was used, instead of hot air, to halt the malting process of the barley. This process most often associated with the isle of Islay in Scotland where the big peaty monsters like Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg hail from.

Though that isn’t to say that’s why Connemara was created; to be the Irish answer to them. Irish whiskey has a long history of being peated because, like in Scotland, peat has been used as a source of heat for hundreds of years. However, none of the peat used here comes from Ireland. It’s a100% Scottish import… and that’s a bit sad to be honest, it’d be great if it was 100% Irish whiskey.

Connemara 12 yr Peated Review

Distiller: Cooley
Bottler: Kilbeggan Distilling Co.
Age: 12 years
ABV: 40%
PPM: 20
Price: $75

Pear juice

Tart and peaty it’s a bit on the light side with notes of orchard fruit, honey, burnt wires and camphor. There is an underlying sweetness of vanilla and jellybeans to the nose, but it’s dominated by the heavier medicinal-industrial notes.

The peat firms up and takes over in the flavor and the fruitiness becomes a bit more tropical in nature. Honey and vanilla are present along with a cinnamon heavy spice, dried apples and a light woody astringency. There’s some of that burnt wire / blown fuse and camphor character from the nose. The palate as a whole comes through a bit on the light side.

A long campfiery fade with notes of dried fruit, pine, sugary sweetness, char and old wood.

The nose is off balance while the palate and finish carry a decent balance to them. Light body with a slick oily texture.

Connemara 12 yr Peated Single Malt is an odd whiskey to be sure. It’s simultaneously good, bad, interesting and boring. Normally I like the weird whiskies, but this one’s a bit too all over the place. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the amazing peated whiskies of Islay, but this one just does’t hit on all sixes for me.

It feels like something is missing something from the Connemara 12; warmth. It comes across cold and clinical despite it’s nice flavor and fair aroma. It doesn’t have that deep warming allure of a Lagavulin or a Kilchoman. Not my favorite, but far from my least favorite.

SCORE: 83/100

Connemara 12 yr Peated
  • Nose - 82
  • Palate - 84
  • Finish - 84
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 82

Connemara 12 yr Peated Value

value = At $70+ a bottle the Connemara 12 isn’t worth the price in my opinion.

User Rating: 1.2 (28 votes)
Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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9 Responses to Connemara 12 yr Peated Review

  1. I’ve seen from a few sources–but nothing official, unless it’s buried in the official Turf Mor story–that they source the peated malt from Scotland. In fact, it’s from Islay’s Port Ellen Maltings if my memory serves. So it’s not made with Irish peat, which I think is a total shame.

    I really like the Connemara CS though.

    And I agree with your value assessment here.

    • Thanks and I would like to try the CS sometime soon. You could be right about that, when I was searching I found a few sites saying it was done using Irish peat, but I’ll do some more research on it and I might have to go back and edit it, if it ends up all being sourced.


  2. I have to register a BIG disagree with you on this one. I find Connemara a quite satisfying peated whiskey. Your mention of “burnt wire/blown fuse” is interesting, as I detect none of that on the nose or the palate. Using your explanations of the different numerical ratings, I would rate this one 87 (“a satisfying daily drinker”).

    Also, I wouldn’t pay $70+ for it either, but it averages for about $44, so no one should pay $70 for it when there are plenty of shops that sell it for considerably less.

    • If you like it that’s what matters. This has mellowed out a bit and gotten fruitier with the harsher aspects of the peat rounding out over time and I’m liking it a bit more now. Though around here (Los Angeles) it’s an expensive dram. $75 is what I paid for it at the time :/

  3. My buddy bought a bottle a couple years back. A group of us were tasting it and couldn’t put our fingers on the peculiar odor coming from the glass. (You’re pretty close with the burnt wire/blown fuse description). Finally a friend yells out “new vinyl shower curtain”. Nailed it! It was a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons. The owner of the bottle has since gone back and tasted it again and claims it’s better, but nobody else is game for a second chance.

    • Ha, that’s a greta one. This definitely got better after being open for a while, so I’d say it’s worth a try. Still, it’s not going to blow you away and DEFINITELY skip the Cask Strength version.

  4. Love the 12 year Peated. I am disappointed to hear that it is not 100% Irish, but then again, neither am I. Took a bottle to the near by cigar shop to share with friends and didn’t bring any home. There were other choices. The amber color evokes feelings of warmth as did each sip. The first taste or so had me scratching my head but in a very short time it mellowed out and was full of fruit; had to get past the initial peat bouquet. Flavor reminded me an oaked wine. Picked up a half dozen bottles when found it for $65.

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