This bottle was a gift to my friend whose bar I frequent. It was the 2008 Whisky Magazine Editor’s Choice and is signed with his name and a friendly “slainte!” On numerous occasions my buddy has pulled it out and offered a dram or two, but usually late in the night after my senses had been dulled by inferior, albeit delicious, beverages. However, just 2 days ago I decided that I needed to give this whisky the shake it deserves.
My friend knows me well and slid me a Cohiba club size before pouring me a straight up glass of this golden elixir and placing it before me, the dim light of the bar enhancing its glow. I lit the cigar and took a moment to enjoy the smoke. I picked up the bottle, as I have more than a few times, and read the fine details which I usually fore-go. For those who don’t know, Connemara is the only peated Irish whisky and the aroma of this particular cask is complex and rich. Vanilla, honey, rich sweet fruit, and hints of smoke mingle to create a thick and warm smell that makes the mouth water.
Usually with a peated whisky the smoke is one of the first thing you taste, but our friends from the emerald isle feel differently. On the first sip a perfect balance of sweet taste and thick feel fades into a smoky and leathery quality reminiscent of an Islay malt. All this is topped off with a subtle and comforting burn to finish things off.
My buddy chuckles his usual chuckle, lights a cigarette, and pours one for himself. He sips and, as usual, pauses before saying something dirty in a combination of broken English and the local dialect of Japanese. “Bery f*ckingu mme” is a common one. I have a bit of a chuckle myself and return to the smoke and whisky.
My favorite part of this whisky is the aftertaste. Its quite like tasting the whisky in rewind. The burn lingers for a second or two, then segues into an earthy smoke and finishing with the sweet taste of dried fruits. While most of you won’t get a chance to try this specific bottle or even this particular limited edition, but hopefully this will turn some Scotch purists on to what the Irish have to offer, you won’t regret it.