Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Connemara Peated


Connemara Peated Single Malt Taste ProfileStats – 40% alcohol, single malt, double pot still distilled, aged in ex-bourbon barrels, Ireland
Price – $45
Color – Straw
Nose – Rich peat smoke and bright citrus
Palate – Connemara is billed as Ireland’s only peated whiskey. Very light, you could almost miss it. Sooty ash and peat smoke start to rise up and quickly fades before it comes on too strong. Honey and Granny Smith apple peels. There is also an underlying meaty flavor, like cured ham, but barely noticeable. It sweetens as it breathes and it also brings up some black pepper as well. This peated whiskey is very approachable, it’s like Islay Lite or Diet Peat. If you find most peated whisky to be overbearing and harsh, but like the smoke, this might be a good choice. It may be a touch too light handed at 40%, I think with a higher alcohol content this could be a real gem (the Cask Strength version is certain worth investigating), but in all it is a quality whiskey.

Alternatives:

  1. Yoichi 12 Year (76%)
  2. Kilchoman – Machir Bay (73%)
  3. Ardbeg 10 Year (70%)

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Bushmills 16 Year


Bushmills 16 Year Taste ProfileStats – 40% alcohol, single malt, blend of bourbon cask and Sherry cask matured whiskey, Ireland
Price – $70
Color – Auburn
Nose – Sherry, honey, and figs
Palate – The mid-range of Bushmills’ single malt series, this one is a combination of 16 year old bourbon cask and Sherry cask aged whiskeys which are “married” for another half of a year in port wine casks. Very smooth, light but not short on character. Fruity peaches and golden raisins with some honey. Dry coconut and oak with a spicy note of camphor and pine. While a good showing, I would love to taste this at cask strength to see if it shines just a little brighter. This one is up against some stiff competition for the price point, but if Irish whiskey with a nice soft fruity core is what you’re after, the Bushmills 16 Year delivers.

Alternatives:

  1. Four Roses – Single Barrel (85%)
  2. Sullivans Cove – Double Cask (85%)
  3. 1792 Ridgemont Reserve (81%)

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Teeling – Small Batch


Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey Taste ProfileStats – 46% alcohol, finished in Rum barrels, blended whiskey, Dublin, Ireland
Price – $55
Color – Golden straw
Nose – Sweet and floral
Palate – Teeling a familiar name to Irish whiskey (who started the Cooley distillery in 1987 and rekindled the craft of whiskey making in Ireland after a century of absence and is now part of the Beam / Suntory portfolio) has a long tradition of distilling that spans over 230 years [read more on the Teeling history]. This whiskey is light and a little sweet up front with hints of dates and caramel. This trails into a perfume and floral note. The finish has more backbone with rich fruits and nuts, a salty sea-spray tang makes it almost like trail mix. It’s a bit dry and astringent, but also has good bit of ginger spice and a wintergreen mint lingering at the back palate. A faint bit of resinous pine. The rum cask finishing helps bring in more charm and character than you usually find from Irish whiskey, plus a dimensionality you rarely find from blends. This is a nice sipper from the Emerald Isle, snag this over at Master of Malt.

Alternatives:

  1. Bowman Brothers – Small Batch (87%)
  2. Old Potrero -18th Century Whiskey (87%)
  3. Redbreast 12 Year (85%)

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Teeling - Small Batch sample.


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Redbreast 12 Year


Redbreast-12-Year Taste ProfileStats – 40% alcohol, using malted and unmalted barley, aged in Oloroso Sherry casks, Ireland
Price – $50
Color – Deep Yellow Amber
Nose – Spicy, sweet, oak and mineral notes
Palate – Redbreast is part of the Pernod Ricard family of beverages (which also includes Jameson, Green Spot, Powers, Aberlour, Glenlivet, Longmorn, among many others). The emphasis on this whiskey is on its triple distillation using a traditional pot still, as opposed to a column still. It’s very light at the front, some spice heats up half way through. It’s also creamy and grassy. The finish is on the astringent side, but not overpowering. Some bitter notes and a lemongrass floral tone.

Alternatives:

  1. Greenore 8 Year (86%)
  2. Cardhu 12 Year (86%)
  3. Teeling – Small Batch (85%)

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Greenore 8 Year


Greenore 8 Year Taste ProfileStats – 40% alcohol, Single Grain Whiskey (100% corn), Bourbon cask aged, Ireland
Price – $50
Color – Golden Straw
Nose – Light, fresh apples
Palate – Part of the Cooley family of products (which also includes Connemara, Kilbeggan, and Tyrconnel), now owned by Beam Inc. This corn whiskey from Greenore is very light, but sweet and little grassy. The finish trails into sweet raw honey and crisp apples. The midpoint has some dry tannins and oak. The astringency and slight iodine character is balanced with a hint of acidity. Lemon pith and soapy ginger, and the faintest wisp of peat smoke and a dose of black pepper. The traditional triple distillation of Irish whiskey may have stripped out some of the character, but otherwise this is a very pleasant whiskey. If you usually drink vodka and typically find whiskey to be overpowering, this is right up your alley, but may be lacking in backbone for those drinking the brown stuff on the regular.

Alternatives:

  1. Dry Fly – Bourbon 101 (88%)
  2. Glenfarclas 15 Year (87%)
  3. Redbreast 12 Year (86%)

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Still can’t make up your mind about this one? Then try a sample from Drinks by the Dram over at Master of Malt!

Greenore 8 Year - Sample


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