West Cork Barrel Proof Review

West Cork Barrel Proof Review

West Cork Barrel Proof is the culmination of 2/3 of my theory about blended Irish whiskey. I’ve long theorized that if Irish blends were delivered at a higher proof, non chill-filtered and allowed to “marry” for a longer period of time than individually aged it would turn the whiskey into something that far surpassed what we’ve known as blended Irish Whiskey.

If all three came together I think It would bring something new and revolutionary to the market. I think it would deliver what could be the best possible version of what the blended Irish category could be. Here in the West Cork Barrel Proof we have 2 out of three.

In West Cork’s Words: West Cork Barrel Proof

“West Cork Irish Whiskey – Cask Strength (62% abv/124 proof) – is a blended Irish whiskey containing 66% grain Irish whiskey & 33% malt Irish whiskey. Patiently matured in first fill bourbon & then polish matured exhausted Irish whiskey casks to allow marry for a further 6 months. This marrying process allows the malt and grain whiskeys further mature and interact to produce a cask strength released of unique smoothness.”

Higher proof and non-chill filtered means we get all the lovely oils and a natural delivery with no water added. We’re getting to taste an Irish blend exactly as it after blending the casks. Needless to say I was quite excited to dig into this which we’ll do right now in the West Cork Barrel Proof review below.

West Cork Barrel Proof Info

Region: West Cork, Ireland

Distiller: West Cork Distillers
Mashbill: 66% Grain Whiskey + 33% Single Malt
Cask: ex-Bourbon (first fill) & ex-Bourbon (used)
Age: NAS (at least 3 years)
ABV: 62%

Price: $46

West Cork Barrel Proof Review

EYE
Honey

NOSE
Honey, malt, marzipan, dried fruit, toffee and a bit of apple juice, vanilla and banana. It’s a rich oily and heavy aroma.

PALATE
Orchard fruit, herbal, almonds, honey candy, dried banana, dried apples and a bit of malt, vanilla and toffee. Oh yeah!

FINISH
Long oily and fruity fade layered with almonds, honey, graham and malt.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance, full body and oily thick feel.

OVERALL
I knew it! High proofed, NCF Irish blends are great and this West Cork Barrel Proof is proof of that. The high proof and NCF delivery present a whiskey that comes across more like a single malt with its depth of flavors and aromas. A bit of water brings out more herbal and vanilla notes on all fronts on top of that traditional Irish profile of honied fruit which itself comes through with a deeper richer delivery than you get with a neutered delivery.

Last year I talked a lot about how the category needs a bit of a shake up and needs to start embracing some of the things whiskey geeks look for in whiskey like a more natural delivery and this definitely fits the bill. The only thing I could want more from something like the West Cork Barrel Proof is more age. I know they’re a young distillery, but imagine how amazing a 7 year version of the West Cork Barrel Proof would be, especially if 4 of those years were spent “marrying” the grain and malt. Something to think about West Cork.

SCORE: 88/100 (B+)

*Disclosure: This West Cork Barrel Proof was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
West Cork Barrel Proof Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 88
  • Palate - 89
  • Finish - 88
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 88

Summary

West Cork Barrel Proof is awesome stuff. 

West Cork Barrel Proof Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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One Response to West Cork Barrel Proof Review

  1. The West Cork range appeared this week in the Yamaya liquor store next to my office. Friday night, end of the week, my Aussie whisky pal and I go check it out. He plumped for the 12 year old Single Malt Rum cask finish ($32), I go for this one ($28) for much the same reasons you state; cask strength Irish blends are rarer than hen’s teeth and should be interesting. And what a little beauty it is, big, rich, clean… lovely.
    We’ll do a sample swap next week to try each other’s one. They also had 12 year old port and sherry finishes, and the Black Barrel (double charred American oak) and bourbon cask you’ve reviewed. All very keenly priced. On the strength of the barrel proof we’ll probably get the club to throw in ¥2000 yen apiece and try the lot. Happy days!

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