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Connemara Turf Mor

Average score from 6 reviews and 15 ratings 85

Connemara Turf Mor

Product details

  • Brand: Connemara
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 58.2%
  • Age: 3 year old

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Connemara Turf Mor

Connemara is, to my knowledge, the only peated single malt Irish whiskey on the market (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). This brand was started by John Teeling after he purchased Cooley Distillery, the first new Irish whiskey distillery in over 100 years. Cooley has a bit of a checkered past; the Irish government used it to distill industrial alcohol, until selling it for scrap to Dr. Teeling in 1988. But rather than dismantle it, he decided to make whisky, and seriously struggled for a couple of years before it started to take off, thanks to the resurrection of old, iconic brands such as The Tyrconnell, Locke's and Kilbeggan. They also market a grain whisky called Greenore. Cooley may be the most innovative and boundary-pushing of the Irish distilleries, which has served Dr. Teeling well: he cashed out last year, selling the distillery and its brands to Beam Global for a cool 71 million euros. Not a bad investment given he paid 106,000 GBP for it in 1988.

Connemara Turf Mor (gaelic for "big peat") is the most heavily peated of any Irish whiskey, at a staggering 58 ppm (standard Connemara is 20 ppm). It is part of their Small Batch Collection, and like Octomore from Bruichladdich, seems to be a bit of an experiment in Extreme Peating (sounds like something you'd watch on ESPN). It is non-chill-filtered. Many thanks to Johanne McInnis for this sample. Because I do not have the bottle, I don't know the bottle code, nor any other pertinent information that might be on the label.

The colour is a brilliant light gold. Be careful when you nose it - alcohol burn! But when you get past that, some nice sweet peat smoke with sage, thyme, lavender and a slight soapiness (that I'm not crazy about). After only a few minutes in the glass, it starts to smell like, um, an ashtray. Seems extremely young - this may be less than four years old. Very tart and sharp. Improves with water, replacing the soap and "ashtray" notes with more malt.

On the palate - wow! Very rubbery and medicinal, with very pronounced lemon citrus. Bitter. Lots of Fisherman's Friend - I feel like I'll have clear sinuses for the next few months. Very oily, with the slightest hint of cream soda in the background. Surprisingly, I don't get that burning alcohol heat at this strength; and conversely, a drop of water actually adds that heat.

The finish continues the Fisherman's Friend note, with more lavender, turning into cilantro. Powerful, but medium length. Although the ppm is higher than Laphroaig or Lagavulin, the smoke doesn't stay in the mouth as long as with those malts. Surprising delicate for such a peat monster, but a very challenging dram - a little too challenging. It's very imbalanced; while very complex, there is a lot of conflict between the notes. It's like a party in my mouth and everyone invited eats kippers and smokes Camels. If you know me, you know I love my peated whiskies, and I enjoy other Connemaras, but this one, as interesting as it is, doesn't bowl me over. But don't listen to me - I have many friends who love this malt, it has won a number of awards, and Jim Murray scores it a 94. So to each their own!

@WhiskyBee, thank you for the kind words. I was lucky enough to get a sample from fellow Canadian "Whiskylassie" (check out her blog) so I didn't have to spring for a bottle. I had heard enough good things about it that I would have been happy to shell out for one - but I'm kind of glad I didn't. The sample had two generous drams in it, and I had all of it over the course of 90 mins or so. Just wasn't crazy about it. But it is worth trying, who knows...

@Victor, I agree. I love the Connemara CS, which I've had a few times (the last time was with my partner's father, a serious brawler of an Irishman who used to be an investigator in the UK and seems amazed I'm not intimidated by him). The Connemara NAS is also very good. This one just went over the top with a whole bunch of off-notes. I know @thecyclingyogi really likes it, I presume Johanne "Whiskylassie" McInnis likes it as well. Am currently cleansing my palate with ye olde Ardbeg 10.

Thanks, @talexander. I hear what you're saying re: the battle of the family scepters, but I'd still like to get my hands on an Octomore 2.2 one of these days. If I could only find one.

Yeah, Ardbeg. I think I'd hate them if I didn't love their whisky so much.

I chose Fergie mainly because she's the best-known part-Irish lass I could think of. I prefer Rachelle Lefevre or (giving away my age here) Ann-Margret. Both just slightly Irish, I know. But being half-Irish myself, I'm a sucker for gorgeous redheads. (I married a Hungarian blonde, but I'm not complaining.)


Connemara is the Cooley brand for the only irish peated whisky. Normally Connemara is available in a lighter peated expression, a cask strength , and a Sherry finished version. While the Connemara is peated to around 20 ppm, the new “Turf Mór” (meaning : Big Turf, or Big peat) is peated to a whopping 58 ppm. (For comparison, this is a very high ppm, which peaty Ardbegs are peated to, and higher than most Islay peated malts!).

As it seems, Cooley had a rough time getting lightly peated malts from Scotland, so they chose to simply mix peated and none peated malts for their regular Connemaras. In addition they experimented with using only the higher 58 ppm barley and the outcome is this “small batch” highly peated expression (20,000 bottles to be released ). The whisky iteself is very young (3 years old), and will be bottled at Cask strength. I was able to sample a wee pre-released dram, as this whisky will hit the shelves, only in a few months.

Nose: rubber, peat in kilos. This is very strong stuff. Kind of synthetic feel to it. Some sweeter notes too under the peaty layer ;candy and rose water. Also pepper. Palate: yikes. This is quite the peaty monster. Big heaps of peat, earthy peat. rubber galore, pepper, then off to malty sugary notes. Finish: rubber bitter smoke and ashes.

Bottom line :

This is a not a dram for the faint of heart, it’s very strong, peaty, and at Cask Strength it’s quite intense. As much as I love Peated malts (and you all know i love them), this one feels a little too much. Usually i do love my peaties young and kicking, but this one has too much rubber, or that synthetic plastic feeling to it. I think a few more years in the cask might do it some good. at three years of age, it’s a bit to young… Anyways, i’d recommedn it to anyone who is into peat, and would like to try a different approach to a peat monster (out of Islay)


Reviewed by @OJK

0 1095/100

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

Nose: Well, it's Connemara alright, (and at the risk of bludgeoning this review to death with a bad pun before it's even started), just with a little "more turf". Literally wafts of turf - wet mud specifically, like a changing room after a game of football in the rain. Within the turf notes there is also clay and white chalk, the kind used on a blackboard, and even plasticine. Classic coastal notes of seaweed and brine are richly represented, along with the usual peat suspects charcoal and smoke. As we dig deeper there are more unique flavours to savour, such as dark chocolate infused with chilli, burnt pork sausage, baked potato, unripe apple, bitter marmalade, lime and and extra strong mints. As we step back and go in for one more nosing, there is an overwhelming undertone of Lapsang Souchong tea. Amongst the very best noses I have had the privilege of exploring. 2.5

Taste: A warm and rich coating of turkish delight, melon and nougat, with a balancing note of jalapeno spice. Further velvety sweet notes come in the form of trifle, guava and meringue. Blissfully indulgent. 2.0

Finish: A soothing plume of honey and lemon smoke, condensing into a peaty molten brown sugar, drizzled over wood-smoked melon, nougat and pomegranate served on a platter of wood-bark. The show is closed with a Lapsang Souchong serenade that leaves us swooning. 2.5

Balance: As I attempt to summarise my experience of this whisky, I'm going to do my best to avoid knee-jerk hyperbole. I don't think I would be exaggerating however if I said this was amongst the finest consumable substances I have had the pleasure of tasting over the past 12 months. That said, Connemara is very much a personal favourite of mine, and this is like going to see your favourite film that you've only ever seen on DVD, now re-mastered with added bonus material and deleted scenes, projected in 35mm big-screen glory and viewed from the royal box of the Royal Albert Hall, which has been privately rented for the evening for your own personal enjoyment. OK, so I've succumbed to the hyperbole... 2.5

Hi @OJK ... I think that was the most tantalizing review on Connosr to date ! Almost makes me want to drop everything I am doing, and immediately seek out some Turf Mor ... and well, some Connemara in general :) Sadly, my state of Michigan does not carry it :(

Thanks very much @AboutChoice, I'd say the credit for that goes to the whisky itself and not the review! Sorry to hear it's not available in Michigan, I would get on the guys on the Cooley page to get it shipped out there!

@dbk and @Victor, I very much look forward to hearing your thoughts once you've had a chance to try it. As you mention @Victor, the Cask Strength is almost just as brilliant and more widely available, so it may be the easier first stop!


Cooley has set its bar high in the past. Watch out, it’s just raised the bar again. The company is rapidly turning in to the Irish version of Compass Box – and praise doesn’t come any higher than that. This is without doubt world class whiskey making, so expect it to pick up another clutch of awards next year. Great name, too; bad pun it might be, but it tells you everything you need to know about it.

Nose: Like watching the Irish rugby team catch the ball from the kick off, run it wide and score in the corner in the first few seconds. It’s in your face immediately. The smoke is all burning steam engine oil, but it’s countered by lemon and lime syrup, and there is a hint of spearmint toffee. It shouts ‘come on in, it’s lovely.’

Palate: This is the metaphorical whisk(e)y bridge between Islay and Ireland. The oily industrial smoke is offset by an Irish one-two of rich fresh green fruit and delightfully spritely barley. There’s no real winner, and some time through the battle the two sides make friends and cosy up to you.

Finish: Exceptionally long with the smoke and fruit holding hands and wandering slowly off in to the distance.


Turf Mor means ‘big peat’ and that is to be taken literally. The malt is peated up to 58 ppm (as opposed to their regular peat-level of about 20 ppm). Actually, this Turf Mor was something of an experiment. And it’s now being released in Cooley’s ‘Small Batch’ releases of Connemara.

Nose: signature Connemara with gentle citrus and some toffee sweetness, but strong peat on this one. Earthy. Lemon peel and some rubber. Very nice!

Taste: Citrus fruit with strong peat, wonderfully balanced. Peppery bite without water. Water brings out the sweetness more. The bite has to do with the peat level, sure, but also with the fact that this is a very young malt indeed, only three years old. And of course, it’s a cask strength (a whopping 58,2%). This one is a swimmer. Don’t hesitate to try it with some water.

Finish: Long, dry and peaty. But definitely not in the Islay way, meaning it’s peaty but without the iodine/medicinal character.

To be released in December 2010 (20.000 bottles), this is a must-have whiskey. I read somewhere that it’s even finished on a sherry cask to give it extra depth and complexity, but judging by the color it was a refill sherry cask and a finish of only a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, this dram is indeed complex and will probably be gone before you know it. I don’t often say ‘buy this’, but I’ll gladly make an exception this time.

If this was really sherry finished, then it's probably just a few casks while the whole batch is made up of at least 30 casks. I don't think you can deduce much from the colour of a large batch release.

Sherry cask finished or not, I'm definitely keen to try this one!


You already guessed this is a heavily peated version – around 58 ppm which is in the range of Ardbeg and well above Lagavulin or Laphroaig. The regular Connemara contains around 20 ppm phenols. It’s 3 years old.

Nose: nice round peat profile. Sweet almonds, smoked tea, a few floral notes (soft lavender). Nice fruity notes: apples, citrus marmalade, violet and strawberry candy, some white chocolate. Some dried fruits. A rubbery and medicinal edge as well. Really enjoyable.

Mouth: strong attack with thick, creamy peat. Not a lot of smoke though. Growing a little herbal. Soft vanilla. Burnt sugar. Citrus peel.

Finish: long and drying, on peat, cereal notes and vanilla.

This Connemara shows heavy peat but in another way than most Islay distilleries. The added roundness and fruitiness brings a nice variation on the theme. This will be popular.

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