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
Bottler: Kilbeggan Distilling Co.
Age: 12 years
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.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
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.
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.