West Cork Distillers was formed in 2003 by childhood friends, John O’Connell, Ger McCarthy and Denis McCarthy at a time when it made very little economic sense to do so. The early years were far from glamorous, operating in a room at the back of Denis’ house in Union Hall with two small stills bought from a schnapps producer in Switzerland.
Currently the distillery operates out of a 12.5 acre site on Marsh Road, with a distillation capacity of 4mln litres of pure alcohol. With distributors across the globe, the award winning West Cork Irish Whiskey is now sold in almost 70 countries. Case sales have risen considerably every year for the past six years and the staff has grown to over 80 people, with the majority based locally in West Cork.
Distillation is carried out in eight pot stills and two column stills which produce almost 4.5 million litres of alcohol. A further three stills are dedicated to gin. Seven warehouses, which are all located on site at the distillery in Skibbereen, store up to 55,000 casks as needed. Five bottling lines operate 24 hours per day, six days per week. Every hour, there are 2,000 bottles processed on site.
The Bog Oak is a triple distilled single malt, one of two expressions from the initial launch of West Cork Distillers' Glengarriff Series, finished in casks which have been charred using fuel sources taken from the Glengarriff Forest in West Cork. Prior to this unique finishing, the Irish single malt whiskey was aged in Sherry casks. This particular expression was finished in casks charred with bog oak (using West Cork Distillers' bespoke charring device) for six months, then bottled at 43% ABV.
Nose: Smoky notes arrive first - a bit mezcal-esque in their approach. Hints of sultanas and green apple in the background.
Palate: Drying spices, Frazzles, barley sugar and yellow plum.
Finish: Lingering smokiness, joined by a touch of brown sugar.