By Randall H. Borkus
West Cork Distillery was founded in 2003 by three lifelong friends; Denis McCarthy, Ger McCarthy and John O’Connell in Union Hall, West Cork, Ireland. Ger and Denis McCarthy had long histories as deep sea trawler men and O’Connell was a scientist focusing on research and development for the food and beverage industries. Inspired by West Cork’s proud history in artisan food and beverage production, the three men established a distillery to produce spirits (Vodka, Gin and Irish whiskey) in a remote and beautiful location in Ireland.
That said, founding the company is not the same thing as opening a distillery and laying whiskey stock into warehouses for maturation. This particular single malt is a sourced and bottled product, not an in-house whiskey. Sourcing is still very widespread in Irish Whiskey, though. If it isn’t a Bushmills, Cooley or Midleton (Jameson) brand, it’s sourced. Even the popular Teeling whiskeys are sourced.
The West Cork Irish Whiskey Sherry cask is 43% ABV (86 proof) is a limited release of single malt Irish whiskey, aged in first fill Bourbon casks for 12 years and finished for 110 days in Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks.
The juice is a light copper color with medium legs in the glass. The candy sweet nose held hints of vanilla, sherry and significant floral burst. The mouthfeel was thin and slightly warming. The flavors teased my palate with sweet candy, raisins and dates rolled in powdered sugar with a hint of vanilla. The finish soothed my palate with a sweet candies, blackcurrant, dried fruits, sherry sweetness and a kiss of oak dryness.
The juice is mature and a pleasure to drink neat; absolutely no water required. The extra time in the barrel and the Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks really sculptured this Irish juice into something special for the taste buds.
I found lots of it available on the shelf in my home base of Chicago in the $45.99 – 54.99 range.