And if you were to ask a drinker about Irish whiskey, you probably would be told it is “sorta sweet,” “fruity,” and “light-bodied.” Which also is the case frequently, although many of the Midleton Irish whiskeys are robustly flavored.
All of which is to say that drinkers tend to lump boozes into flavor categories. Then along comes Cooley Distillery with its Connemara Irish whiskeys and blows these categories to bits. If you blind-tasted any of the Connemara whiskeys, you probably would declare them “fine Islay whiskies.” Like Ardbeg, they are very lightly colored; and they offer smoke and even iodine notes.
Why are they so similar to Scotch? Well, because they are made with peated malted barley in copper pot stills just like single malt Scotch.
The standard Connemara (80 proof) tastes of smoke, iodine, and nuts (Rating ****). Connemara 12-year (80 proof) is even better, as a floral note joins the melody. (Rating ****1/2) Connemara also has come out in a cask strength version. We tasted a 116.4 proof version many moons ago, and found it eye-popping and a must-try for the malt maniac. Currently there is a 115.8 proof version selling.