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Tasting Irish Whiskey on Twitter with Cooley Distillery

If you’re a whisky lover and have spent any time at all on Twitter, you’re bound to have come across one of Steve Rush’s (aka @TheWhiskyWire) Twitter whisky tastings where a bunch of like-minded individuals get together and explore a range of drams provided by a distillery. This time around the whiskey came from the Cooley Distillery situated in the foothills of the Cooley Mountains to the north-east of Dublin. The line-up included Cooley Distillery’s core range of whiskeys: Kilbeggan, The Tyrconnell, Greenore 8 and Connemara.

Cooley Distillery Twitter Whiskey Tasting Line-up

Having spent 6 months in Ireland many years ago, and full of fond memories of the people and the countryside – especially Connemara and the famed cliffs of Moher – I was really looking forward to trying these drams and recapturing the spirit of Ireland.

Joining us from Cooley’s side were Noel Sweeney (Master Distiller at Cooley Distillery – pictured below) and John Cashman (Global Brand Ambassador for Cooley Distillery). During the tasting I threw a few questions out to the both of them and was very impressed with their transparency when answering – see the questions below.

Noel Sweeney, Cooley's Master Distiller, ready for the Twitter tasting

Without further ado, I present the whiskeys of the evening and impressions from the #CooleyTT participants:


Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Kilbeggan is Cooley’s blended whiskey offering – a very easy-going dram.
@TheWhiskyWire: Kilbeggan: 40% ABV – Blended, no age statement bottling. Matured in ex bourbon barrels. #CooleyTT
@fr1day: Kilbeggan nose: gentle honey with a touch of orange peel and subtle green banana #CooleyTT
@CooleyWhiskey: @fr1day #CooleyTT Agree Mark, orange peel is often very typical of our Kilbeggan 15 or 18Year Old
@CooleyWhiskey: @TheWhiskyWire #CooleyTT the popcorn, cornflake taste comes from the grain, corn or maze during mashing or cooking, like warm cornflakes!
@rodbodtoo: @TheWhiskyWire Kilbeggan palate pleasures: light & limber, short & sweet, harmoniously honeyed. #CooleyTT
@MrMDMaloney: Agree with@wordled_muds – smooth taste, dry oak at the end. A great balanced flavour – everything I want from a blend. #CooleyTT
@ifotou: #cooleyTT Kilbeggan Palate: creamy and sweet, getting crunchy nut cornflakes here, with cream and toffee caramel

The Tyrconnell

The Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey While tasting the Tyrconnell I asked Noel to give us an age for this NAS whiskey. He obliged by saying that 25% is 8 years old, and 4 years old for the rest – added to give it a lift.
@TheWhiskyWire: Tyrconnell: 40% ABV – Single malt, no age statement bottling. Matured in seasoned oak barrels. #CooleyTT
@eimearocarroll: Getting toffee Bon bons, stewed apples, batten burg cake and pear drops on the nose. #CooleyTT Lovely stuff!
@whiskywardrobe: Tyrconnell: honey, fruits, raisins, biscuits and spices: cinnamon. Nose is right! I like this whiskey. #CooleyTT
@S_Rob: Nose on the Tyrconnell is much richer, fruitier, maybe a little peach and red apples. #CooleyTT
@galg: Tyrconell nose: weet stuff, raisins, golden syrup, rich and fruity, apples., spices, a bit of cinnamon bark, woodier also #cooleyTT
@fr1day: The Tyrconnell is the Kilbeggan’s hotter, slightly older sister with a flirtatious nature – I like her! #CooleyTT
@S_Rob: Again quite different on the palette than expected. Very malty but then a wave of fruit salad chews and light toffee #CooleyTT
@TonyWTC: #CooleyTT taste: Orange skins, apples (oops), kumquats, the oak is in the background and never dominates.
@fr1day: A drop of water opens the Tyrconnell up nicely releasing it’s creaminess, fruits and spices in a nicely woven web! #CooleyTT
@YorkWhisky: #CooleyTT Easy-drinking stuff and nice length on that finish – appley and, uh, cakey. #downthehatch #responsiblyofcourse

Greenore 8 Year Old

Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain Whiskey Curious as to where the grain for the Greenore was sourced from I put the question to Noel. He happily obliged and told me that it is from south of the Loire Valley in France. As for his favourite expression in the Greenore range, look no further than the Greenore 18!
@CooleyWhiskey: #CooleyTT Greenore is a very special whiskey for us – only Irish Single Grain!
@TheWhiskyWire: Greenore 8 Year Old: 40% ABV – Single grain. Matured in ex bourbon barrels. #CooleyTT
@cowfish: #CooleyTT Greenore 8 – Nose of arm caramel, overripe banana, rose water, white chocolate and a touch of whiteboard cleaner.
@fr1day: Greenore – acetone, vanilla, pencil shavings(?), green bananas (flesh, not skin) and a smattering of caramel to round it out #CooleyTT
@CooleyGBA: #CooleyTT Now there’s my summer whiskey! Large tumbler and an ice cube – refreshing
@galg:Greenore Nose: Banana, some wood varnish , Acetone, also some grassy stuff going on here. it’s less sweet than the Tyrconell IMHO #cooleyTT
@CooleyWhiskey: #CooleyTT loads of vanilla ice cream, toffee sweets, like a lion bar – chocolate and toffee!!
@cowfish: #CooleyTT Greenore 8 – taste not as sweet, with woody notes coming in: polished wood, brown sugar, sour apple & lingering sweet spicy finish


Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey Once again, Noel replied to all my questions regarding Connemara: “1) is the peat local 2) type of casks used 3) rough age statement?” His replies: “1) originally peating was done in Co. Offaly however the Irish breweries were concerned about cross contamination… 2) we use ex american bourbon and 3) mix of 4 and 6, and 8YO!”. I find it invaluable being able to grill the distiller on the dram I have in hand – the more I know about a dram, the more I appreciate it!
@TheWhiskyWire: Connemara: 40% ABV – Peated single malt. No age statement bottling. Matured in ex bourbon barrels. #CooleyTT
@whiskywardrobe: Starts with an awesome peat punch to show later nice floral and fruity notes: apples and banana #CooleyTT
@fr1day: Connemara palate – sods of wet earth wrapped in banana leaves being smoked on a fire on the cliffs of Moher, salty spray & all #CooleyTT

The final question I put to Noel and John was: “Has the Beam purchase affected/likely to affect day-to-day running of operations?” To which Noel replied “Only moving onwards and upwards in every good way for our whiskey!” with John adding in “Nope, and if it does it will be for the better with increased investment/ efficiencies etc.”. I’m very glad to hear that it’s business at usual – hopefully the Cooley Distillery’s independent spirit will remain and prosper.

A big thanks to Steve for putting this online whisky tasting together, and for Noel and John’s participation from the Cooley side. Irish whiskey is experiencing a resurgence and I personally am loving it! Now excuse me, I’m off to spend some more time with my little Irish friends.


1 Comment

  1. March 9, 2012    

    Nice Mark. Love the Cooley stuff that I’ve tasted, and agreed, love the transparency – wish it was always the case.

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