West Cork Arrives
What's that thing whisky consumers are always asking for? Oh, I remember what it is. They want new and interesting products, from small, independent producers, who do everything from scratch and make whisky that tastes better in quality than the mass-produced stuff the big boys make, but ultimately costs less and represents a better value, and isn't necessarily hard to find, but hard enough to find so that they can get a bottle before the rest of the whisky community finds out how cool it is. You know—the whole fucking package.
If you had asked me for such a product earlier in the week I would have laughed in your face and sighed. Today, I'm posting about such a whiskey here on this blog. Enter West Cork Distillers. The West Cork distillery started as a pet project by John O’ Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy in 2003 in Union Hall, West Cork. In 2013 after much expansion WCD moved to a larger distillery in Skibbereen, West Cork where it now resides. It now operates as only one of two independent distilleries in Ireland. That means they can actually make their own ten year old single malt whisky (currently married with whisky from another distilllery) that somehow, someway costs about the same as a bottle of ten year old Bushmills, despite the fact that they're an independent distillery with heaven knows how much debt and overhead to account for. They're also the only producer in Ireland to actually malt their own barley and use Irish spring water for the production process, resulting in a softer, more delicate spirit.
If that wasn't enough information to get you excited, West Cork has now added the ultimate in whisky street cred by hiring on former Springbank master distiller Frank McHardy; a man known for making some of the best single malt on the planet. So how does it taste? Really good actually. I'm still wondering how a small distillery can make whiskey this good for this price, but apparently it's not just some crazy dream. Pinch me in an hour to remind me this is all real.
West Cork Original Classic Blend Irish Whiskey $26.99 - Gobs of fruit vanilla on the nose turn into a pleasantly mixture of fresh fruit and grain on the palate. The finish is clean and malty with more sweet grains on the back end. Jameson who?
West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey $36.99 - The nose is all malted barley, along the lines of Glenmorangie 10, which is fitting because both are lighter, ten year old, Bourbon-aged single malts. The palate is creamy and soft with short flutters of oak spice, and the finish is robust, rich, and lasting with warming notes of burnt sugar and creme brulee. Good God. Where in the hell did this come from?