Today I am presenting The Connemara Cask Strength. This is my fourth Irish Whisky of the month and I must say that I have had a nice time getting to know the Irish. I figured I would save this one for last for a couple of reasons. First, this bottle was a birthday gift. My birthday falls towards the end of the month and I have a thing about not opening gifts before the day of celebration, even though I have known since Christmas that this bottle was coming. That's how I was able to factor it into my March madness. The second reason that saving this particular dram to last made sense is that it is the strongest. At 57.9% this whiskey has potential to pack a punch. At least I kind of hope so, as I do enjoy a good slap now and again.
To soothe this high octane liquid down my throat I will enjoy a listen to some Freddie King. The album is called Déjà vu and I am fairly certain that its a live greatest hits album. I don’t usually like listening or purchasing greatest hits albums and I try not to present them for my blog, I just felt that given the potency of this bad ass whisky it would be well served by a man nicknamed "The Texas Cannonball". Freddie King was also known as one of "The Three Kings” of electric blues guitar. The others being Albert and B.B.. He is well known for his blend of Chicago and Texas blues styles. He was also one of the first blues men of his era to feature a multiracial backing band. I find Freddie’s playing to be really powerful. His guitar seems to have crunch and his voice is gritty. The band sets him up with a solid funky blues rhythm.
So let’s see now if this (on paper) powerful whisky can play nicely with the heavy hitting groove of the big bad King.
Nose: acidic notes meet a certain malty sweetness giving to thoughts of honey and lemon in a cup of black tea.... But no smoke.
Palate: Saltiness comes to the fore front followed by a quick hit of peat that washes it away and then a wave of wood and brown sugar slide over the tongue. While this is happening a thin cloud of smoke drifts over top almost out of reach. A spicy edge then warms things up.
Finish: This finish is long, drying and slightly bitter. On the sides of the tongue (almost underneath) there is a sweetness that clings for a very long time.
Other than the bitter note in the finish this is a great whisky with a lot of interesting characteristics. When I heard that it was a peated Irish whisky I expected something in line with an Islay Scotch. That was not the case, the smokiness in this dram is subtle. In my opinion this is an Irish whisky that exhibits a huge boost of character compared to its lighter comrades. A great addition to my collection, I look forward to more expressions from Connemara... and more Freddie King. This guy is awesome.
Good night and may the good times roll!!!!