By Randall H. Borkus
West Cork Distillery was founded in Union Hall in 2003 by three lifelong friends; Denis McCarthy, Ger McCarthy and John O’Connell , West Cork, Ireland. Ger and Denis McCarthy had long histories as deep sea trawler men and O’Connell was a research and development scientist the food and beverage industry. Inspired by West Cork’s proud history in artisan food and beverage production, the three men established a distillery to produce the quality spirits in a remote and beautiful location in Ireland.
The West Cork Distillery is almost unique in that most of the mashing, fermentation and distillation equipment was handcrafted on site by the founders and their team. They are thereby able to boast that their distillery work force is intimately wedded to its equipment.
The trio started making spirits well ahead of the current Irish distillery building boom (and concurrent whiskey boom) by making a sugar beet and malt liquor in 2007. For the time being, their whiskeys are sourced.
The West Cork Irish Whiskey Bourbon cask is 40% abv, 80 proof. The juice is a blended Irish whiskey containing 75% grain whiskey and 25% malt whiskey, with no age statement (whispers hint 3+ years). This spirit matures in first-fill bourbon casks and generates a typical smooth Irish whiskey experience.
The juice itself is a light copper color with thin legs in the glass. The nose holds hints of dried fruit, taffy, honey, sweet spice, grain and a floral essence touch. The mouthfeel is thin and slightly warming. The flavor teases the palate with bits honey, dried fruit, fresh grain and an earthy tinge of malt and vanilla. The finish soothes the palate with a delightful burst of grain, caramel, and dried fruit.
The juice is soft and easy to drink. No water required and the Bourbon Cask delivers that something extra to get a bourbon drinkers attention with the young grainy notes of an Irish whiskey. I enjoyed sipping this Irish whiskey. Ultimately, the juice would hold up well as a cocktail Irish whiskey but I’d like to sample it when it has had another 5 to 8 years in the barrel.
I found lots of it available on the shelf in Chicago in the $25.99 to 29.99 range.