Event: Irish whiskey at ISES UK

Ice Sculpture by IceBox LondonSo, last night I was out at the summer party for the International Special Event Society UK Chapter (ISES) on the HMS President.  If you thought you knew how to throw a party, wait until you meet these guys!

Imagine having all the people who make Glastonbury or any major event happen, from the stage designer/building crews, catering to band management. They all put a little bit of something toward the party and that was last night! Also, Visit Ireland was there to support the Riverdance themed evening and the team at Cooley distillery had helped me out with some great drams.

After a quick speedboat ride down the Thames and some super fresh oysters from the chaps at the aptly named Oyster Boys, I headed to the back of the boat to set up while Irish dancers pounded away to a standard Irish jig.   

Fresh oysters served on the half shellFollowing the dancing and AGM was a BBQ accompanied by music from up coming Irish band Harry & Alfie, then the whisky sampling started. 

What we tasted:

Kilbeggan blended Irish whisky

Kilbeggan is Gaelic for 'little church' and is the oldest continually licensed distillery in the world.  The distillery lay dormant for a number of years and wasn't until the Cooley distillers stepped in to save the Distillery (initially to use it's warehousing for storage of Tyrconnell and Connemara), that it started production again in 2007.

Since then the spirit has won numerous awards and is known for its light tropical sweet style. Realistically saving Kilbeggan wasn't just a financial win, this is marketing at it's best as it sits nicely in the brand portfolio allowing natural progression. From the lighter Kilbeggan, fuller Tyrconnell and up to a meaty Connemara, as I found out last night.

All are at ABV: 40%vol

Nose: The front is like fresh cut lilies, panda cola and orange citrus. Has a back of oily vanilla, new cardboard, rapsberry and toasty almond. A very simple, but powerful start.

Palate: Slight peppery fizz chases the first sip down. Very warming. The front is soft and creamy, but has a slight bitterness to the back. Building to fresh toast and coffee bean, unsweetened coco powder and Lucozade original. Resonable length, but feels one dimentional.

A fresh clensing start to the evening. 



Originally a product of the Watts distillery dating back to 1762. Tyrconnell was their flagship brand and was a best seller in the United States before Prohibition.

It was revived by Cooley Distillery in 1987 and is now the fastest growing Irish Single Malt in the market.  


Nose: An instant hit of candied pecans is followed by Barr cream soda, brie & dolmadas, fresh cut grass and strawberry. Building into lemon & pineapple curd on a digestive biscuit, shaved white chocolate and ends sharply on vanilla tobacco smoke custard.

Palate: Citrus sweet with a mild thinness, tropical backbone although not sure 100% what it is giving. Nice liquorice tang on the sides of the tongue with vanilla seeds and spearmint following. Slight dryness which develops into used, dry, builders tea bags (or the powder in supermarket own brands). Echineaca, hibbiscus, honey and lemon zest hang into the finish which has a IPA malty long finish.

A easy step up in complexity, great lengh and a nice food whisky. Could see this with a good cheese or white chocolate desert.



Connemara is a double distilled peated Irish whiskey, commonly Irish whiskey is thought to always be triple distilled but isn't in this case. In comparison, Scotch is seen as being a product of double distillation, but some distillers also triple distill. Also this may be the only peated Irish whiskey at this point in time, so it's hard not to compare it to Scotch.


Nose: Burning peat comes in first, but switches to diesel and furniture wax. The nose then quickly returns back to a smouldering fire (possibly that of the furniture thats just been waxed) hiding Wrigley's spearmint gum, green banana's and Cadbury's chocolate buttons. Rhubarb compote, passion fruit, thick cream, oat cake and one of my all time top cheeses ever; Irish smoked Adrahan which proceeds to jump out of the glass and linger endlessly.

Palate: Imagine a front of slightly struck match followed by the taste of everything on the nose. Good length and would place it as a milder version of talisker or possibly an bourbon cask Ardmore.


A great range of whiskey and a thank you to the distillery for there help. Also, have to say a big thank you to the team at Up Beat Event Design for there help and invite to take part.