Connemara (Irish Single Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 40% ABV)

Visual: Light yellow gold.

Viscosity: Very fast, quite thick streaks.

Nose: Smooth. Peat. Beef broth. Lime sorbet touch. Pencil shavings.

Body: Very smooth. Custard. Olives. Lime. Dried meat. Vanilla. Peat smoke. Lightly noticeable alcohol. Water makes more golden syrup and more beef. Much more vanilla, now with toffee. More contrast. Cherries come out.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Dried beef. Salt touch. Vanilla. Very drying feel. Light toffee. Water makes less drying, adds more chocolate and fudge.

Conclusion: Peated Irish whisky. This should be an exercise in contrast I thought to myself before sampling. For once I was actually right as well. Go me!

The peat is there, and with it the accompanying meaty character and smoke. Without water it even has slight salt and slight noticeable alcohol. Most of these are very unusual characteristics for Irish whisky in my experience.

However below that there is the pure smooth sweet style that you would expect, all custard and toffee notes. What gets interesting is what happens when you add just a tiny amount of water. The alcohol softens, but the other elements ramp up resulting in much bigger sweetness, but also much more peat elements. There’s almost beef broth notes, it is a lot less harsh, but gives much more flavour.

Like this it really appeals to me, the easy sipping Irish character is classy, but it comes with all my beloved peat. The two traits, though contrasting, aren’t that complex in their individual expression – where you get the joy from is in their interactions.

It makes for an easy to drink spirit that keeps the joy of the heavier peated ones. This is a fairly uncommon occurrence, and while you won’t find a huge amount outside those two characteristics, you have to like it for what it does do. It has a quality and a niche, and for that I can overlook it not having vast complexity.

Background; Ok, there are different expressions of Connemara – therefore this should have some sort of name. Even default Bushmills has “White Label” but nope, no fancy name. So, erm, Connemara.. normal edition. I’ve been meaning to try this for a while – the peated Irish whisky, but never quite got around to it. So, finally, at Brewdog Bristol (Please pretend to look shocked) I gave it a try.