West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey – Distiller: West Cork Distillers. ABV: 40%. Blend: undisclosed. Price: $26.
West Cork 10-Year-Old Single Malt Whiskey – Distiller: West Cork Distillers. ABV: 40%. Age: 10 years. Price: $37.
New Irish whiskey brands are popping up all over these days: Teeling, Hyde, Egan’s, The Quiet Man, to name a few. But for the moment, many of these are bottlings of spirit sourced from the Cooley Distillery. Operations like Teeling are doing their own distilling, but their new juice is still too young to bottle, so it’s sourced whiskey to the rescue–as sourced spirits from LDI in Indiana have floated many a U.S. microdistiller until their homemade product is mature enough to market.
Enter West Cork Distillers, one of the few independent Irish distillers already selling their own whiskey. WCD was founded by three friends in 2003: food chemist John O’Connell and former fisherman Dennis and Ger McCarthy. Their production is distinguished by the use of Irish spring water and in-house malting. Their products have recently hit the U.S. market, and I for one am happy they have.
West Cork’s Bourbon Cask is a blended whiskey of unspecified proportions, bottled at 40% ABV. Fresh grain and sweet vanilla oak on the nose, maple and vanilla on the palate, and a pleasantly drying finish, light but lingering, with new leather and wet cedar. For $26, this is a slam dunk.
West Cork’s 10-Year-Old Single Malt (40% ABV) is even more impressive. Peach cobbler and apple danish on the nose. Sweet but not too sweet. A little marzipan and the slightest hint of smoke. The palate is mild and rounded, with honey and more peach, both baked and canned. The finish has an unexpected, delicate smokiness, a hit of lemon pepper, and the new leather of the Bourbon Cask. For fans of lighter, bourbon-matured Speyside and Highland single malts, this is a must-try.
Cheers, friends! – BO
West Cork Distillers graciously provided samples for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.