Connemara 12 Peated Irish Whiskey is a premium Islay Single Malt born on the wrong side of town.
If you look at a map of Ireland, you will see a tip of land pointing out as the western-most point—that’s the district of Connemara. The Cooley Distillery is on the other side of the country, but that’s where they make Connemara Whiskey these days, alongside Kilbeggan, Tryconnell, 2 Gingers, and a few other Irish gems.
Cooley has won more than three hundred awards since they consolidated operations there in 1985. Shieeeeet. Pretty impressive, don’t you think? They market all of their products under the master brand of Kilbeggan.
Connemara is different… REALLY different. It says “Irish Whiskey” right up front on the label, but it is not what you expect. Sure, it’s a Whiskey and it’s made in Ireland. But Connemara is a Single Malt, where most Irish Whiskies are a grain mixture. And all Connemara Whiskies are peated. Now look at that map of Ireland again. The Connemara is made closer to Islay Scotland—just across the Irish sea. And that is what it tastes like.
The good folks at Cooley Distillery have crafted a premium, peated Single Malt Whiskey that you would swear comes from across the sea. So, is Connemara 12 an Irish Whiskey? Legally yes, to your taste buds maybe, but what matters is that if you enjoy high-end Bowmore or Laphroaig, you should consider this troublemaker too. Need another reason? Connemara has probably won more awards than the Scotches we're comparing it to!