The Kilbeggan Irish whiskey lineup has a great range of flavors, and not what you'd expect from Irish whiskey. With rye and cask finishes along with peated selections, there's something for every whiskey drinker to enjoy!
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 expressions we 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.
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.
Kilbeggan Irish whiskey lineup
At Gordon’s DTX, presented by Cathal O’Connor, June 12, 2019
Kilbeggan Single Grain
- 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
- 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
Tyrconnell Single Malt
- 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
- 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
- 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
Connemara Peated Single Malt Original
- 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
- 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
- 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)
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!