Cooley 13 Years Review

If You Concentrate Hard Enough This Logo Might Become a Bottle!

“Cool For (Peat) Cats”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Cooley (An Irish Representative in the The Soul of Scotland Series)
Type: Single Malt Whiskey
Age: 13 Years
ABV: 51.4 %
Sample Provided By Thomas from Germany. Many Thanks!

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Right away there's Fresh Fruit like Melon and Apple but it is followed quite quickly by Smoke from a Dying Campfire, light Earthy Peat, Buttered Toast, light Vanilla, Raisins, Lemon Zest, Tangerine Mousse, lightly Charred Oak, Malt and Mineral tones. The Alcohol is not fully integrated and I think this Spirit could have done with a slightly lower ABV of around 47%. It's not an overwhelming Nose but it's not as Light as most of the other Irish Whiskies I have tasted so far. All in all it's quite pleasant and the Peat smells much more natural than the slightly artificial Peat I found in the NAS Connemara Peated Single Malt. 

Palate: Good Strong Delivery. Again I believe the ABV could be a tad lower. The Fresh Fruit from the Nose is gone. Instead I find some Red Forest Fruit Preserve accompanied by Smoke, Peat, Pepper, Licorice, Herbal Tea, slightly Bitter Almonds, Grapefruit Juice and Butter Biscuits.

Finish: Middle-Long, Spicy, Zesty and slightly Dry towards the end. I find Ashes, Smoke, Earthy Peat with a light Plastic feel to it, Lemon Zest, Grass, Licorice, Pepper, slightly Bitter Almonds and Cocoa Powder. 

I added a bit of water and the Nose becomes more Malty and Waxy with a bit of added Honey. The Vanilla gets stronger as well and the Alcohol is better in balance with the rest. I find some Pear Candies as well. The Palate does not change a whole lot although the Alcohol is less present of course. The Finish becomes a little Flat this way. But certainly a Whiskey where you can play with  Water, always adding only a few drops at the time.

Rating: 86.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: The Cooley Distillery was originally a Potato Alcohol Plant and was converted in 1987. It's located on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth in Ireland. Since 2014 it's part of the Beam Suntory Group. Cooley' s main range include Kilbeggan, Greenore, Connemara and Tyrconnell. Unlike most Irish distilleries, Cooley only distills their Spirit twice instead of three times. Today's Single Malt is a very rare Single Cask Bottling that was distilled in June 1999 and bottled at Cask Strength in January 2013 by Independent Whisky bottler Anam Na H-Alba from the town of Oberhausen in Germany. It matured in an Ex-Bourbon Cask, is Uncoloured and Not Chill-Filtered. It sold at around 100 US Dollars. Only 240 bottles were commercialised and I don't think it's still for sale somewhere. By the way, for the first time I could not find an image of today's bottle. Well, there's always a first time for everything! 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is quite different from your average Irish Whiskey. Certainly an interesting bottling by Anam Na H-Alba. The Nose calls attention with an initial burst of Fresh Fruit. Unfortunately that fades away rather quickly but it is followed by some decent but not overwhelming Smoke and Peat notes. I also liked the Tangerine Mousse Note although you might identify it as Orange as well. On the Palate the good strong Delivery called the attention. I missed some of the Fresh Fruit Notes from the Nose. The Peat and Smoke are still there and are accompanied by Herbal and lightly Bitter notes. Those slightly Bitter Notes are still there in the Finish and Ashes and Licorice become more noticeable. But I do not find any aggressive tones and it all remains within the comfort zone. This Cooley 13 accepts a bit of Water and it's interesting to notice the subtle differences with each added drops. It's a pity that this type of Irish Whiskey is not readily available because I'm quite sure that people who like softly peated Islay or old style lightly peated Speyside wouldn't mind drinking this type of lightly peated Cooley from time to time. Even more so if it would be a bit cheaper. Because around a 100 US Dollars is a bit of a stiff price for a 13 Years Old from Ireland. Even if it's the odd Single Cask!

Jan van den Ende                                                         November 12, 2014

Cooley's Pot Stills

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