"A slightly different take on peated whisky with a good deal of smoked tropical fruits"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Cooley is widely known as one of the prime suppliers of Irish single malt whisky. The distillery was founded by John Teeling in 1987, during a time when the number of Irish whisky distilleries had fallen to only two (Middleton and Bushmills). Within 12 years, Teeling succeeded in building a solid reputation within the world of whisky and gather various highly regarded prices. In 2011, he sold the distillery to Jim Beam (now Beam Suntory) for €71 million and moved on to Great Northern Distillery. Although, Cooley is mostly famous for its incredibly fruity double-distilled whisky, they also produce a peated variant that is also sold under the Connemara brand. Now and then, you also find a peated whisky from Cooley among independent bottlings, in particular those from Cadenhead, like today’s subject.
Full on apple juice with a hint of various oils. I find a clear sense of metals, like copper and iron, distant hints of cow stables and old sheds, old leather and a surprising note of fresh cold tomato sauce with a touch of basil. Some smoked pineapple, although the expected fruits remain in the back. Honey, cider, more tomato sauce, and more iron.
First metals and minerals, then the wave of tropical fruits starts to built. It arrives on full speed with tangerines, nectarines, fresh peaches, mango: you name it, it’s got it. When that has faded, apple juice, copper and oils come up like in the nose. There is a clear hint of a light form of peat, kind of a very light Ledaig, and a grassiness that approaches the Lowlands. There is a fairly long aftertaste with the fruits coming back, in particular fresh nectarines, slightly smoked, and tinned pineapples. The palate is also much more “Irish”.
I never had Connemara, so this could be just as well been an fruity Cooley spirit finished in a Islay (or Ledaig) barrel. I tis slightly weird, but also rather interesting. The peat is much softer and, although not perfectly integrated into the rest, provides a different experience compared to many Scottish peaters.
Big thanks to for sharing the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •