Connemara is the Cooley brand for the only irish peated whisky. Normally Connemara is available in a lighter peated expression, a cask strength , and a Sherry finished version. While the Connemara is peated to around 20 ppm, the new “Turf Mór” (meaning : Big Turf, or Big peat) is peated to a whopping 58 ppm. (For comparison, this is a very high ppm, which peaty Ardbegs are peated to, and higher than most Islay peated malts!).
As it seems, Cooley had a rough time getting lightly peated malts from Scotland, so they chose to simply mix peated and none peated malts for their regular Connemaras. In addition they experimented with using only the higher 58 ppm barley and the outcome is this “small batch” highly peated expression (20,000 bottles to be released ). The whisky iteself is very young (3 years old), and will be bottled at Cask strength. I was able to sample a wee pre-released dram, as this whisky will hit the shelves, only in a few months.
Connemara Turf Mór, 3yo , 58.2% ABV , Still not available
Nose: rubber, peat in kilos. This is very strong stuff. Kind of synthetic feel to it. Some sweeter notes too under the peaty layer ;candy and rose water. Also pepper.
Palate: yikes. This is quite the peaty monster. Big heaps of peat, earthy peat. rubber galore, pepper, then off to malty sugary notes.
Finish: rubber bitter smoke and ashes.
Bottom line :
This is a not a dram for the faint of heart, it’s very strong, peaty, and at Cask Strength it’s quite intense. As much as I love Peated malts (and you all know i love them), this one feels a little too much. Usually i do love my peaties young and kicking, but this one has too much rubber, or that synthetic plastic feeling to it. I think a few more years in the cask might do it some good. at three years of age, it’s a bit to young… Anyways, i’d recommedn it to anyone who is into peat, and would like to try a different approach to a peat monster (out of Islay)
Sincere thanks to Rachel of Cooley for the official sample.