Friends of mine know that I am quite a fan of craft beer and single malt scotch, but I have not ventured much into Irish whiskey — yet. Armed with my friend and resident booze expert, Mr. Christopher Day, we perused a lovely list of libations at Bar*Food on Wilshire Blvd. Besides AWESOME happy hour specials and a nice beer list, there was an impressive selection of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon.
Having downed a few beers alongside a plate of “Thai Bangers n Mash” (OMG!), I asked Chris to pick something lovely to introduce me to, and a dessert to pair alongside it. Knowing my affinity for super smoky scotch, he went for the Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey (Aged 12 Years). The peat definitely made me feel at home, drawing an aroma similar to the scotches I know and love. The flavor was rich and complex, evoking notes of green apple, hay, and chamomile. Mixing with the vanilla undertones from the oak aging, this whiskey was a stellar match for the delectable bread pudding we somehow managed to force down (with a little help from our friend Lauren, although not much).
Jason Killalee, the owner of Bar*Food, came over personally and chatted with us a bit about our selection. He was obviously a fan of his list, and talked at length with us about the differences between several of the spirits, explaining that a few of his choices were just shy of impossible to find in Ireland, not to mention the States. He also explained that everybody thought he was crazy to open without offering vodka, gin, or any of the other so-called “white spirits.” He and Chris never mentioned that Connemara hailed from Cooley Distillery, which Malt Advocate magazine named as Distillery Of The Year, but with such an incredible nose, spicy body, and lingering finish, it’s easy to see why they earned such a distinguished accolade.