In 2014 the Kilbeggan Distilling Company (we still refer to them as Cooley) released their oldest expression to date, the Connemara 22 Year Old.
Cooley distillery, a former potato alcohol plant converted by John Teeling, started producing whiskey in 1987 but the peated runs didn’t start until 1991 so it must be composed from those very early stocks.
Connemara 22 yo (46%, OB 2014, first-fill bourbon barrels, 3996 btl.)
Nose: a gentle nose, not a peat monster but a very deep, smooth ashy start. Some toffee sweetness and vanilla ice cream underneath, and brighter hints of orange peel and berries. Honeydew. Subtle spices / earthy notes. None of the typical phenolic / plastic notes.
Mouth: there’s a sweet and sour note now, bright fruits like oranges, green apples, tangerine and pink grapefruit. Honey and vanilla. The peat is certainly in a supporting act here, but we don’t mind. Liquorice. A minty note and cocoa towards the end. Even a floral touch.
Finish: nice but not too long, with fruits and a little oak.
Undoubtedly a good whiskey, with smooth peat and a nice fruitiness. A tad soft perhaps. Around € 160 which was expensive back then but a fair price now considering the recent Teeling bottlings of similar age.