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Connemara Peated

Average score from 15 reviews and 62 ratings 81

Connemara Peated

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Connemara Peated

Surprisingly, I've never reviewed this well-known Irish peated malt, though I've always liked it. I did bad review of their now-defunct NAS Turf Mor expression many years ago, but never the standard bottling.

The colour is a pale gold. The peat is gentle on the nose, with the primary notes being light honey, citrus and marzipan. Grassy. Floral. Hint of sardines. Water doesn't do much. Lovely but relatively unassuming.

On the palate the peat is even more restrained, but in nice balance with the oak, white pepper, lemon zest and malt. Creamy mouthfeel, more so with water. Very nice.

The finish is drying with dying bonfire smoke and lemon-pepper spice. I like it but there's no real "wow" factor here - just a nice lightly peated Irish malt, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

@talexander I couldn't bring myself to pop the $350 for the KWM Advent Calendar, but I am enjoying all the samples vicariously through you. Keep 'em coming.


From what I can find online, Connemara is owned by Beam Suntory and is part of the Kilbeggan brand portfolio, er, I mean the Kilbeggan Family. I believe this sample was distilled at the Cooley distillery rather than the Kilbeggan distillery, but who knows? The Kilbeggan distillery has been active since 2007-2008 so perhaps production of Connemara has been moved there. Then again, Beam Suntory also owns the Cooley distillery so maybe not.

This is from a sample provided by @Nozinan It was opened Sept 17, 2019 and gassed the following day.

Tasting Notes

Neat from a Highland whisky glass

  • Nose: earthy, lightly smoky, caramel sweetness underneath, floral, apples, a hint of red fruits
  • Palate: light bodied, earthy, slightly nutty
  • Finish: short, some peat returning, some weak lapsang souchong tea, caramel apples, a bit vegetal. Interesting. Too bad it’s bottled at such a low abv. It would be interesting to try it the Cask Strength version. Depending on the price, I’d probably buy a bottle of Connemara. It would be a great introduction to peated whiskies for a guest who’s not quite “down with the smoke” yet. And even though it's only 40% abv, it's a pleasant dram.

@OdysseusUnbound - thanks for this review. I was gifted a bottle a couple of years ago but haven't opened it yet. Reviews seem quite mixed but I sense you like similar styles of peat as myself so will now look forward to opening it, cheers!

Connemara CS rocks.


In July of this year I was in Calgary for a couple of days. We didn’t really have time to do too much shopping, but we did look around a little, and came upon a store with a number of minis and a discount if you buy three. I had a mini of this one but it was part of a set that was given to me by a colleague, and so because I’ve been wanting to try this for a while (and even more, I would like to try the CS version), I picked it as one of the three.

This expression is reviewed in both the Tuath Irish Whiskey Glass and, because I’ve concerns the nose may be muted in this glass, the Brilliant Highland Whisky Glass in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. I don’t usually add water to whiskies at 40%, but I did it for “educational purposes”.

Nose: 22.5/25

In the Irish whisky glass, soft sweet fruity nose with a hint of peat. Definitely apple, some light syrup. A hint of vanilla and baking spices. Beautiful, clean nose. The nose seems even richer in the Highland glass. Water does not seem to change things in either glass.

Taste: 21.5/25 Sweet, peat forward. A little apple. Vanilla. A little thin on the mouth feel but quite pleasant. More bitter in the Highland glass (would actually bring the score down 2-3 points). Water seems to thin out the flavour a bit. It tones down the peat a little and enhances the pepperiness. Still good. (20.5/25)

Finish: 21/25

Short. Slightly peppery. Unremarkable.

Balance: 22/25

Nicely balanced, between nose and palate, sweetness and peat with the right hint of black pepper.

Score: Neat - 87/100 With Water: 86/100

More experimentation is needed, but I’m beginning to think that as cool as it looks, the Tuath whisky glass just doesn’t provide a good nose.

I’m pretty surprised. 40%. 87/100. This is not a score I usually give to an NAS, low ABV whisky. Since making my tasting notes I’ve checked Connosr and it seems like my score is higher than most, or all, but also I note there seems to be a lot of batch variation.

Definitely a pleasant surprise!

I would LOVE to try this at Cask Strength.

@OdysseusUnbound I can seal up the mini and hold it for you. I like seeing reviews from the same bottle that I taste.

@Nozinan I appreciate the offer, but I’m sure I can find a bottle sooner or later. I have a few people on it.


After having seen a big variance and a few rather positive reviews of this one, I decided to pick one up on a whim as I spotted it on special offer as I was walking through Heathrow airport.

Colour: straw... a light gold.

Nose: malt. sweet. wood. whiff of smoke. a tiny bit of acetone in the background. however, you better close your eyes and work for it cause it's 'delicate' to say the least. (I really wish I had a Glencairn with a lid now here now).

Palate: is it in?? eh... oh yes, there... I feel something wet in my mouth... ah, there it is... finally... a bit malty sweetness... some light honey.. floral... green grass wet in morning dew... some smoke, but oh it's gentle. it's pretty thin, and being 40% really doesn't help. I actually have to concentrate for a nano-second to get the tastebuds to kick in or they will have registered that I just took a sip of water.

Finish: short in terms of the floral and honey elements, with the smoke lingering on for some time. but do not expect the sooty Caol Ila smoke of an overfull ashtray at 03:00 in a New Orleans bar. Rather, think the remaining smoke in a shirt that's hung outside on the balcony overnight after a business meeting with someone insisting to smoke a Camel ultra light next to you.

In fairness, I should point out that the bottle is just opened and the glass I'm drinking from is far from ideal, so things may improve with a bit of time... I really hope so. you probably have figured out from the above that this was a pretty underwhelming experience.

I'd say this: if you have a friend who doesn't like whisky much, but who would like to try something innocuous and containing some of the famous whisky 'smoke' - then, this is a perfect introduction. It's pretty hard to imagine anyone having much of a reaction to this, be it good or bad.

As for the rest of us, I cannot say this is bad per se; it's just pretty... pointless. There are so many other expressions that bring out the representative taste elements in much more interesting ways, and the 'togetherness' of them in this Connemara expression have resulted in a pretty bland concoction with any excitement whatsoever. The only reason I'd pick this one out for a visiting friend would be if he insisted on trying something that could help him understand grassy in a whisky context.

@RikS yes it is interesting that a relatively few malt whiskies strongly show the grassy side of barley. Makes me want to drink some of my recently opened bottle of Hakushu 12 yo. Hakushu 12 yo is as grassy as they come.

Yes, to the best of my knowledge all of the Connemara whiskies are peated. Connemara Cask Strength is most certainly peated. My Julie used to say that the Connemara CS we owned smelled "sacred" like church Frankincense. The ABV of the CS is up arouind 57-60%.

Here's my first bottle:


@RikS "yes' to the observation that cask strength/higher ABV concentrates the flavours to make them more discernible and interesting. There is one other huge observation to be made here, which is: special smaller volume releases of which Cask Strength releases are one of the major types, always involve careful cask selection. It is a general truth that the Cask Strength/Barrel Proof releases around the world are made from more carefully selected, "better", casks. The "standard" release of any whiskey is where the lesser casks have to go.

It took me a lot of years to get past my former bias against low ABV whiskies. N.B. that "low ABV" for me would be everything under 50% ABV. And 50% ABV just straddled the line of acceptability for me. After several outstanding releases got past me because I refused to entertain the idea of purchasing them at a mere 45% or 47% ABV I eventually realized that the most important determinant of quality is always cask selection.

How does one know whether the casks selected are any good? There are only about three ways: 1) taste the whisk(e)y for yourself, 2) trust the skill of the master distiller with respect to designating the product in question to be 'premium', or 3) trust the taste of reviewers.

I give reviewers almost no credence unless I know their personal taste very well from my own experience. Tasting the whiskey is the best approach, but is often not an option. What I have learned slowly and the hard way is that the taste of the best distillers in selecting casks for special releases can usually be trusted. True for all good distillers? No! Ardbeg is my favourite Scottish distillery and they have certainly released a few dud special releases along the way. Most of the time though, I will trust a Limited Edition from Buffalo Trace or Four Roses. Same for most, but not all, LEs from Amrut. I haven't had a bad taste of an LE from Amrut, but their LEs are quite expensive, and some of them I don't want to spring for. Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured or Portonova are likely to give more enjoyment than their more expensive LEs.

With whisk(e)y learning experience in tasting for yourself is everything.


A barren plain of rocks earmarked by the raging winds of the Atlantic, an eerie no-man’s-land of moors, bogs and shimmering blue lakes. How the hell did the East-Irish distiller Cooley think they could capture the essence of the land using nothing but Scottish peat? When trying Connemara (the 12yo) for the first time, in an Irish pub in the town of Roundstone (heartland of the Connemara), I feared it might have the same flaws of some of its Scottish Highland cousins that received the peated treatment. But admittedly they managed to create an original whiskey that is in harmony with the landscape. Let’s see if the entry level is just as good.

Description: entry level whiskey of Cooley, peated at 10-20 ppm, bottled at 40% ABV

Nose: a dusty nose of cardboard and coal smoke on the forefront. In the rear a dash of milk, the aroma of mandarin peel and a whiff of vanilla lingering about.

Mouth: little evidence of peat if you ask me. The palate mainly consists of concentrated orange juice spiced up with white pepper and ginger.

Finish: medium long with a lingering tingling of pepper.

Verdict: you know what, I’m going to give this one a thumbs up. It’s not something that will satisfy the needs of a peat lover, but is an original dram. That being said, it suffers a bit from the low alcohol content, I would love to see this at cask strength

Yep, Connemara Cask Strength is pretty solid. I've got a big sample under my bar that I saved from my last full bottle. I'll be opening it back up in a couple weeks to do some side-by-sides with the bottle of Connemara Turf Mor that I'll finally be opening from my stash on St. Pat's.

Anywho, Pandemonium, it's fun seeing a review of this—it doesn't seem to get much attention. Why did you ask the rhetorical question, "How the hell did the East-Irish distiller Cooley think they could capture the essence of the land using nothing but Scottish peat?" Aside from the disappointing fact that they use Scottish (instead of Irish) peat, what's the concern? That Cooley's in the wrong part of the country to be making something called "Connemara"?

@Victor and @Nozinan Thanks for the tip, I'll be sure to check it out.

@OlJas I do find it a bit unusual to make a geographical connection that has nothing to do with your whiskies. Most people assume that it was made by a distillery from the region and even if they do know it was produced by Cooley they believe it was made from the Connemara peat bogs. I believe you would find it equally wrong if Auchentoshan would call its product Skye whisky without a clear explanation.


Connemara has a few gems. Remember the Turf Mor or the Sherry Finish or some of their single casks? But let us return now to their entry level malt, the Connemara Peated Single Malt. I tried it many years ago and was not blown away, but you know as well as I do that wisdom comes with years. How knows? Maybe this new batch is much better.

The first whiff does not offer a lot, bar some sweetness as if from banana peel. This transforms into apple juice, pears and some mandarin after a while. Green grapes, too. The whole is wrapped in a mildly smoky blanket.

It is fruity sweet on the palate as well, but the peat is now much more prominent. Nicely spicy on ginger and some black pepper, but it also has an edge of wet newspaper which I find rather off-putting. And unfortunately that part starts to dominate.

The finish is medium long on loads of spices.

Not a bad whisky, but by far the least of the Connemara range I have tried so far. Pity. Thanks for the sample, Patrick.


Made at the Cooley Distillery in County Louth, I’m not too sure what this malt has to do with Connemara region which is on the opposite side of the island of Ireland. The Connemara landscape certainly makes a nice picture on the tube and it looks like the kind of place a peaty Irish whiskey might hail from.

The nose is shared almost equally between soft peat, fruits and barley malt, with a very subtle hint of marzipan. The fruit is mainly nectarine, with a touch of slightly burnt apple. A very enjoyable aroma.

The three themes continue through the palate with the undercurrent of peat being a trifle stronger with a slightly bitter edge complimenting the sweet apple and peachy flavours. Juicy malt completes the package, which that slightly bitter peat note apart, is very pleasant.

The finish is fruity and sweet and quite short, probably its weakest suite. A higher alcohol content might have helped.

Anyone who likes peaty whisk(e)y should try this as a contrast to Islay and other highly peated malts.


This review is based on 4 months of researching from top to bottom of a (initially) full bottle looking for answers. Always intrigued, always a little baffled. This peated Irish whiskey met me from the beginning with a nose that was peaty yes, but not in a smoky way, but more in a "motor oily" kind of way. Interesting but also a little off-putting. I didn't find myself transported to a campfire from days long gone, but rather to the insides of an engine. However, on the palate it took me to a beautiful vanilla sky; I might be down some engine, but it got vanilla juices flowing down here instead of oil! Absolutely brilliant, sweet, smooth and attractively peaty at the same time. The finish is mellow, smooth and a little short (probably down to the (used too) typical Irish 40 %). All in all an intriguing whiskey, that kept me coming back. I never quit "got" the nose, but the vanilla-peat mix on the palate did it for me (and, at least for me, the taste matters more than the nose (if I'm forced to choose!)). The more I got used to the short finish, the more I liked it. The feel of vanilla stayed even after the peat has died out... This was my first (of a hopefully long) exploration of Irish whiskey. I know I started off a little unusual with a peaty departure, but I'm looking forward to head into more common Irish gound in the near future with their unpeated Pot Stills.


Connemara Peated Single Malt was a nice addition into the peaty world of whisky. It wasn't a super heavyweight or even a heavyweight but I consider it a good contender. And I'm more than enthusiastic to try Connemara's other products such as Connemara Turf Mor.

This reminded me of the great Elia Kazan's movie On the Waterfront. In my book, the greatest work by Marlon Brando. It reminded me about Brando's character Terry Malloy reminiscing to his brother: "I could have been somebody, a contender"

In Connemara's case the Peated Single Malt is not a reminiscence but it might be a promise to smoky whisky lovers. "Stick with us, we are a contender."

Nose: I expected light smoke but this had more than a light touch of peaty smoke, very nice. Floral and slightly stingy.

Taste: Salty and dry peat. Woody with hints of vanilla.

Finish: Light peat, nicely warm and with good length.

Balance: I guess you could call this a little one-sided, not so complex. Good and warmingly peaty though.

Thanks Ninja! That's one of my favorite movies too, I'm actually a big mobster movie freak (I love films like Casino, Goodfellas, Godfather, Donnie Brasco just to name a few...and of course the Sopranos)

I Have to keep in mind your suggestion

I wanted to buy this today because the weather was nice, but then I saw the Caol Ila 12 was the same price... I like this one too though, nothing special, but interesting what peat can do to Irish malt. Ok, and now for some peated bourbon or rye!


Connemara is double distilled in two small pot stills to ensure the whiskey is full of robust flavor and character.and to my knowledge it is the only peated Irish whisky out there, which is odd considering that most Irish barley in the past were dried with peat. Nose: Nose: I am getting some rubbery notes, also some new make this is a young whisky.. oil, earthy peat, wet tires Palate: Malty and peaty, with a lovely roundness to it, fills the mouth just right , a sweet and peaty combo, slightly herbal with a toffee feel to it too. Finish : Smoke, peat and earthy with a sweet tang.

There is also the Suir Peated Malt by Adelphi, but that may well be produced at Cooley as well, I'm not sure. I was very fond of the Connemara Turf Mor, which I think is better than this Peated, but am especially looking forward to trying the soon to be released Connemara Bog Oak (although at 250 EUR a bottle, that's probably not ending up in the collection).

I had the Turf mor, and looking fwd to this Bog oak. hope to get a sample one of these days. at this price, it's really too much.


I’ve not long emptied a bottle of this whiskey, so I thought it would be best to put up a review to finally put it to rest!

Connemara is Ireland’s only peated single malt, and this is generally seen as the “standard” bottling that they produce. To start with it looks quite light, and the smell just confirms that. The peat is prominent but not overbearing; it’s quite sweet and fresh as well.

When tasting this malt, I thought it was decidedly smooth for a peated whiskey. It wasn’t heavy or too powerful, and was almost flowery and cheerful to the taste, can’t think of a better way to put that into words really! It is very drinkable, easy to enjoy and would be a good introduction to the world of peated whiskies. I could very easily imagine starting with this light tasting peat, then working my way up through some Islay malts towards the heavy kick of a Laphroaig.

So to summarise, it’s a wonderfully light and enjoyable peated whiskey, it’s no surprise that Connemara are finding a lot of success when they are producing whiskies such as this!


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: This is of course an Irish peated whiskEy, however once the word peat is involved, immediately we're thinking Islay scotch whisky. The nose is certainly Islay in character, in that we have the unmistakeable iodine and seaweed character, however it is sweeter than most of the famous Islay malts such as Ardbeg or Laphroaig. I'd say it could be more closely compared with Bowmore, in that it has that candied kipper quality, but even then it stands quite apart. I'd even say it has some banana in there, and mixed with the seaweed aroma I can assure it's quite unexpectedly delicious. Perhaps a new smoothie recipe. 2.5

Taste: Very smooth and creamy, however the peaty spice soon kicks in. Not at all unpleasant, however a sharp contrast to the soft nose. 1.5

Finish: A banana-seaweed cough sweet finish. I'm getting quite hooked on the combination I have to say. The peaty spice is still there to keep us alert, however it is an all together soothing experience, even if perhaps a little short. 2.0

Balance: The peaty-sweet combination is a most compelling one, and I have to say very deftly balanced one. Connemara certainly deserves to be judged in the same league as its Islay counterparts, while at the same time offering a unique flavour structure that also allows it to be judged on its own very fine merits. 2.0

@jean-luc, it's a good point, i hadn't really thought of it. with all the peat, as well as the coastal distilleries, you would have imagined there would be more peated whiskeys. perhaps as a nation they have a sweeter tooth! it's a shame as the connemara is such good whiskey, so they definitely know how to make the stuff!

@dbk, yeah I saw that the cask-strength won at the world whisky awards, so was very tempted to get that bottle instead, but thought that the standard bottling would be a more faithful first introduction to the connemara. I'm definitely now going to have to get the cask strength bottling, i'm looking forward the apples-on-steroids!

I know it's all down to local techniques but I'm surprised that peat didn't embed itself into Irish whiskey making more abundantly. There is no shortage of the stuff out there!

This is one of my favourite Irish whiskeys.


This is my first review on this site and I think Connemara Peated Malt is a good uncomplicated whiskey to begin with.

I bought this bottle over the weekend (on impulse) and its a bit of a reintroduction to Irish malts, which I've stayed away from for some time, other than Bushmills.

For around £25 this its pretty damn good value and it would happily be a staple on my shelf.

Nose: Honey, burnt nuts, peat (of cource) and something which reminds me of cocoa powder.

Taste: Woody peat, sweet smoke, more cocoa. Slightly rough on the through but in a good way.

Finish: Smooth but short and uncompromising.

I'm giving this 8/10 which is quite high but it takes into account the value for money which is big factor for me in this case.

Well done Cooley's!

@markjedi1 Haha, good question. Yeah, strictly speaking you would refer to some food as 'staple' (that which can be stored for use throughout the year).

But in this case I meant - as you say - an every day drink.

Ah. Thanks for the clarification. In Belgium we tend to call this a daily dram :-)


Another beauty from Cooley Distillery (where my fav Greenore is also distilled) just south of the Irish border, that won two gold medals in 2008 (which is when I got my first bottle - definitively not the last!).

Dubbed 'the Smokey One', it starts with a sweet honey taste, followed by dried fruits. It has a nice long peaty finish.

In my humble opinion, the bouquet really comes out when adding just a little bit of water.

I was slightly disappointed by this dram, it has been for three weeks in my cabinet and I'm still trying to "understand" it, if you get what I mean...It seems to me as if the floral bouquet of a typical irish had withered due to peat smoke, but I still cannot decide if I really enjoy it...it challenges me!

After being an expat in Limerick Ireland in mid-90's I got to know the Irish whiskeys too. This one and Black Bush are my favorite "everyday" easy drinking whiskeys. That reminds me, that I have to get some more.....

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