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West Cork Irish Whiskey Review

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I always reach for bourbon when I want a tasty pour of whiskey. Sure, I’ve had a number of scotches I have enjoyed and I have the requisite bottle of Jameson on my bar, but when I crave whiskey I crave bourbon. That’s why, after trying a number of world whiskies at Whiskies of the World last year, I had to pin down some bourbon late in the evening just to get my wits about me.

However, every year around March 17th I get the craving for a nice glass of Irish whiskey; enter West Cork Irish Whiskey. West Cork makes some fantastic, affordable Irish whiskey that will impress at your St. Patrick’s Day party much more than a dusty bottle of Jameson. Let’s see what the distillery has to say about it:

West Cork Classic Blend:
A delicate blend of grain & malt whiskey matured in bourbon casks to deliver a smooth and approachable whiskey with a light vanilla finish.

West Cork Single Malt
A non-chill filtered whiskey matured in first fill, flame-charred Bourbon barrels to deliver an exquisite aroma, rich taste and pleasantly lasting finish.

Sounds delicious, now let’s get sipping!

West Cork Irish Whiskey Classic Blend

Name: West Cork Irish Whiskey Classic Blend

Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Age: NAS – No age statement

Year: 2016

How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn Whisky Glass.

Nose: Custard | Green apple | Cut grass | Citrus

Taste: Custard | Black Licorice | Cut grass

Burn: The burn begins with a burst of lemon candy, think Lemonheads, and then malt takes over. It has a surprising amount of malt since it is a blend, a testament to the skill of the blender. After the malt, the burn subsides to a delicious buttery taste and feel. This has a fantastic mouth feel for only being 80 proof.

Neat, Splash or Rocks: Neat only. The flavors are so light that water or rocks would ruin the whiskey. I’d argue that this is under proof, I’d really love to see it at 90 or 100 proof.

Share With: Friends and family this upcoming holiday. It is cheap, tasty, and Irish, so it checks all the boxes for a St. Paddy’s Day celebration!

Worth The Price: Priced in the low $20’s, this one is a winner.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you are normally a bourbon drinker, try this at a bar first. It’s very different from bourbon, so don’t grab a glass expecting caramel and vanilla and lots of oak. It’s a good glass of whiskey, but not if you expect it to be bourbon!

West Cork Irish Whiskey Single Malt

Name: West Cork Irish Whiskey Single Malt

Proof: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Age: 10 years

Year: 2016

How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn Whisky Glass.

Nose: Red licorice (Twizzlers) | Malt | Green apple

Taste: Buttered popcorn | Red licorice (Twizzlers) | Anise | Lemon

Burn: This finish is coated with butter like in the Classic Blend, but malt, lemon, and anise are much more prominent. Again, the mouth feel is luxurious considering the proof, but I wouldn’t even dare to water this down for fear of ruining it.

Neat, Splash or Rocks: As I mentioned earlier, this whiskey is dangerously close to being under proof. Add a splash or rocks at caution – and don’t be surprised if you lose the flavor and the mouth feel because of it.

Share With: Good friends who are interested in whiskey. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away with this pour compared to the Classic Blend. I’d serve this to a friend interested in the impact of age on whiskey, or curious to taste a single malt Irish whiskey, but save the Classic Blend for friends who just want a smooth pour.

Worth The Price: At around $35, this is not too bad for an age stated imported whiskey. I personally didn’t find it to be highly superior to the Classic Blend, so next time I’m at the store I’ll pass up the Single Malt, but it’s very reasonable considering the age.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: Start with a glass at a bar, since it is so unlike bourbon. If you enjoy fruit in your whiskey and need a bottle for St. Patrick’s Day, this is a delicious choice and not too expensive. Slainte, friends!

About the Author

Melissa Alexander

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Melissa is an aspiring bourbon historian who began her romance with bourbon the night of her 21st birthday. She is studying for her Master’s in History at the University of Cincinnati, and works at Historic Locust Grove in Louisville where she contributes to their hearth cooking, distilling, and dairying demonstrations. In her free time, she enjoys stitching reproduction historical garments for living history events, and, of course, spreading the bourbon gospel to anyone who will listen.