Cooley 16yo (57.4%, Cadenhead)Nose:
Soft and honeyed to begin with, with lots of vanilla, but then a little peat arises and it becomes quite meaty - barbequed ribs? A hefty whack of oak and wood smoke. Lightly salted. Some fruit develops after a short while, along with a faint bourbon character bubbling in the background.Palate:
Velvety-soft mouthfeel. Honeyed. Again, a fair amount of peat and smoke and again fairly meaty. A firm, but never overbearing oaky presence. Lots of all kinds of fruit this time. A little salty.Finish:
Immediately fruity and honeyed, with faint yeasty notes, but it almost instantly reverts to the peat, smoke, oak and meat character. A little mint appears shortly after, with notes of vanilla ice-cream bringing up the rear.
I was actually taken aback by this. I've always associated Irish whiskey as being soft, light and gentle; this is anything but that, with peat, meat and lots of smoke blasting about the senses. The honey and fruit keep that nicely in check though, keeping things well balanced. This is really, really good stuff.
Many thanks to Willie JJ for the sample!