This Kilbeggan Irish whiskey lineup completely took my expectations about what I was going to taste based on what the labels said and upended them!

The more experience, the better

I’ve come a long way since the first time I had a triple-distilled Irish whiskey and was intrigued by the lightness of the spirit, only to have my preconceived notions upended when I had my first double-distilled Irish whiskey. Since then I’ve had and enjoyed a number of expressions that are your classic Irish whiskey style, Midleton, for example. So when I heard that Irish whiskey would be featured at Gordon DTX’s Whisky Wednesday, I didn’t think that the Kilbeggan Co. Irish whiskey lineup we were sampling would be unusual. Boy, was I wrong!

Just like the first time I had my expectations upended, I went into this tasting thinking I knew what was what. Light, easy drinking Irish whiskey, yada, yada, yada. The first indication I was in for a treat was that I met  Cathal O’Connor, the Regional Brand Ambassador for the Kilbeggan, the Tyrconnell, and the Connemara expressionswe were sampling. I always like it when we can learn some interesting details about a lineup, and Cathal didn’t disappoint (and was generous with his pours!). One point he stressed was that the entire lineup from the Kilbeggan Distillery Co. were all double distilled (rather than the standard triple distilled)…very few Irish distilleries produce their whiskey that way (that was my second clue to this was going to be an interesting night).

The label doesn’t tell the whole story

One by one as we went through the lineup, I noticed that what I thought that dram would taste like based on the label didn’t match what I did taste. For instance, a rye whiskey should have strong spicy, peppery notes, and flavored with anise, right? This one didn’t for me. For port cask finished samples I expected notes of plums and cooked fruit…wrong again! Each time, my expectations were upended. This was an interesting lineup indeed.

 

Connemara with peat and glass

By the way, I had actually tried the Connemara Peated Single Malt Original previously as part of a greater peated whisky lineup. I liked it then, too. Good times…

(let’s get to it then!)

 

Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell, Connemara lineup

Kilbeggan Irish whiskey lineup

At Gordon’s DTX, presented by Cathal O’Connor, June 12, 2019

Kilbeggan Single Grain

43%ABV
A fusion of Irish whiskey in the style of bourbon, 94% corn & 6% malted barley
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: honey, hay, sunshine, wheat
  • Taste: very soft entry, clover honey, thick and oily, chewy, ripe banana, creamed corn
  • Finish: very light baking spices and white pepper at the very end
  • Comments: very approachable, has depth of flavor, really appealing

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye

43%ABV
30% rye & 70% malted and unmalted barley, it's the first modern Irish whiskey containing this amount of rye in almost 100 yrs
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: floral potpourri, cream, hay
  • Taste: starts soft then flavors rise, medium body, oatmeal, clover honey, rye rises up with softly spicy notes of white pepper and caraway
  • Finish: finishes with caraway and cardamom with a hint of corn sugar
  • Comments: lots of bread influence with a spicy kick at the end, not like a usual rye...really interesting, a sweet rye

 

Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey in bottles

 

Tyrconnell Single Malt

43%ABV
Double distilled
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Single Malt, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: peaches, cereal, cream
  • Taste: chewy, oak, medium body, coffee, cloves
  • Finish: coffee lingers, cloves
  • Comments: less sweet as is flavored with cloves and coffee, a different style from the previous batch and lovely in its own right

Tyrconnell Single Malt 10yr Port Cask Finished

46%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Port Cask Finish, Single Malt, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: light cream, pineapple
  • Taste: thick and oily, peaches and cream, vanilla fudge, nutmeg, green forest moss
  • Finish: creamy nutmeg, vanilla fudge
  • Comments: not your usual port cask…more tropical and creamy, excellent

Tyrconnell 16yr Oloroso & Moscatel Finished

46%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Irish Whiskey, Moscatel Cask Finish, Oloroso Cask Finish, Rye Whiskey, Single Malt
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: corn, hint of mint, light peaches
  • Taste: thick, caramel, cinnamon
  • Finish: mint and brown sugar, prunes
  • Comments: competing flavors, very complex, not like any Irish whiskey that you’d expect

 

Tyrconnell lineup in bottles

Connemara Peated Single Malt Original

40%ABV
This brand is the only peated single malt Irish whiskey currently available
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Peated, Single Malt, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: easy ash, light wheat, oatmeal
  • Taste: smoke, menthol, leather
  • Finish: ashes, dryness, honey
  • Comments: an easy intro to peat, soft and pleasant

Connemara Peated Single Malt 12yr

40%ABV
This brand is the only peated single malt Irish whiskey currently available
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Whiskey, Peated, Single Malt, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: very soft ash smoke, mossy, wheat
  • Taste: smoke forward, menthol, oak, soft sweetness
  • Finish: menthol lingers, smoke lurks behind
  • Comments: smoke forward

Connemara Peated Single Malt Cask Strength

57.9%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Cask Strength, Irish Whiskey, Peated, Single Malt, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: peppermint candy, mossy
  • Taste: thick, oily, eucalyptus, mossy, campfire
  • Finish: ends with smoke, menthol
  • Comments: lots of green flavors, like wet smoke; this was an extra pour (not pictured)

 

Connemara lineup in bottles

 

I love to get my socks blown off when I go to a tasting, and since I wasn’t wearing socks for this particular tasting, suffice it to say that I was really impressed. Each one of these Kilbeggan Irish whiskey lineup expressions had its own story to tell, and that wasn’t on the label. If you get to have any of these lovely, tasty drams, open your mind and prepare to have your expectations about Irish whiskey upended.

Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!

Tammy

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