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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.