Showing posts with label West Cork Distillery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label West Cork Distillery. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Taste of the Week. West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Taste of the Week
West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Armed with a gift voucher, I made a quick visit to Dunnes Stores in Cork City recently. Had enough socks and shirt, so headed for the drinks section, looking for something around the thirty euro mark. After a couple of near things, I spotted a bottle of the West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt, priced at exactly the thirty (a few euro off, I think). Have been enjoying the odd glass since and it’s now our Taste of the Week.

It is an excellent blend of grain and malt whiskey, a smooth and approachable whiskey with a light vanilla finish. This “non-chill filtered whiskey has been matured in first fill, flame charred Bourbon barrels to deliver an exquisite aroma, rich taste and pleasantly lasting finish”. Malty, toffee, treacle notes are to the fore here. And yes, they certainly deliver on the aroma, flavour and finish.

I must admit I've been drinking this on the rocks and that could get me into trouble with Frank McHardy (a very experienced Scottish consultant with West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen). I met Frank a few months back and he cautioned against using ice. “Add a little water - it opens up the whiskey flavours. If you think it is a little cold, heat it up with your hand.” Next time Frank, I’ll take your advice!

West Cork Distillers was born from humble beginnings. From the coming together of a food and drinks engineer and his two fisherman friends it now has become a global business selling in over 35 countries worldwide.  John O’ Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy are the three pioneers. They reckon their use of local spring water (“from 3 kms down the road”) is a key factor as this natural soft water leads to a smoother whiskey.

They have quite a range at this point and you can see all the latest here.
West Cork Distillers are taking part in next month's A Taste of West Cork Festival. Would you like to visit? See details here.

West Cork Distillers
Market Street,
Skibbereen,
Co. Cork,
Ireland
T: + 353 (0)28 22815
E-Mail : info@westcorkdistillers.com

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Whiskey and Chocolate. Best of Taste Mates!

Whiskey and Chocolate
Best of Taste Mates!
On the banks of the Lee:
Frank (left) and Niall.

So there’s a guy drinking whiskey. Not just any whiskey. This is The Pogues, fruity, rich and round, which is being launched in the US next week. But what’s he eating? Is that chocolate? Yes, it is. It is Shana Wilkies Amazones. What? Whiskey and chocolate. Yes, indeed, the perfect pairing. This whiskey and that chocolate meet on the palate and both are enhanced. What more do you need from a food and drink pairing?

That guy isn't the only one indulging. A whole roomful is at it. The room is called the Lookout, part of the revamp at the River Lee Hotel, a lovely room to which the River Lee’s Paula Cogan has just warmly welcomed us (mainly media and bloggers) to this unusual Whiskey and Chocolate Tasting. The guys taking us through the enjoyable evening (24th Feb 16) are Frank McHardy (a very experienced Scottish consultant with West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen) and Niall Daly (proprietor of the Chocolate Shop in Cork’s English Market).


As Paula said, the hotel is always on the lookout for “new local products” and was delighted that the two this evening were amazing and taking their place in the hotel offering. The evening had started in The Hub, a nearby room, where we enjoyed the Rebel Pour, a cocktail by River Lee mixologist Finbarr Collins. Ingredients: 40mls West Cork whiskey, 20 mls Pimms, topped up with homemade Lemonade, garnished with fresh strawberry and mint, an easy-drinking delight.


As we started the tasting, Frank told us he came from the Mull of Kintyre, 12 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland. “I’ve been working for fifty years in whiskey,’ he said. As a consultant he travels widely, soon off to Australia. “Not bad for a 71 year old bugger,” he laughed.
Mixing a Rebel Pour

These were the headline pairings for the evening:
No.
Pairings
Whiskey Flavour Notes
Chocolate Flavour Notes
1
West Cork Original Blend Whiskey &
Michel Cluizel’s Mangaro Lait 50% – Madagascan Origin
Sweet citrus and vanilla, malt. Sweet nougat with hints of lemon zest.
Caramel, exotic fruits, gingerbread, honey with sultana on the finish.
2
West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt & Domori Occumare 77 – 70% Venezuelan Origin
Malty, toffee, treacle notes. Hints of dairy milk chocolate
Apricot jam, cream and dried fruit. Excellent roundness & persistence, with low acidity and bitterness.
3
The Pogues Whiskey & Pralus Chuao 70% - Venezuelan Origin
Full-bodied, ripe fruits, nutmeg and sweet digestive biscuits
Earthy tones, muscovado sugar, lemon zest – Exceptionally smooth & a fine balance of bitter and acidity.


Sweet things to finish on.

And they were absolutely perfect. But Niall, assisted by Rose, had more than one pairing up his sleeve. When the English Market shop some fifteen years back, they were the first people to stock the famous Valrhona chocolate. But is was a hard sell and they moved very little of it for the first two years. Now their biggest selling bar is a 100%. His own favourite though is the 89% Wilkie's and indeed the Wilkies, made from bar to bean in Midleton, proved quite a favourite on the night.

There were also quite a few tips on the night. Frank cautioned against using ice in your whiskey. “Add a little water - it opens up the whiskey flavours. If you think it is a little cold, heat it up with your hand.” Niall warned us not to store chocolate in the fridge as “the cold damages the chocolate; heat will only change the shape. Store it at room temperature.” And then he had one more tip. You can start your day with it: Add some 100% to your porridge!

As I mentioned, the headline matches above all worked a treat. But there were one of two others worth mentioning, in particular the Vietnamese Marou 80% old plantation, a beautiful pairing with the West Cork Original Blend (75% grain, 25% malt).


River Lee Hotel (top left)
at sunset
Another star was the Akesson’s Single Plantation 75% from Bali, a great match with the 10 year old whiskey and then of course the Wilkies with the Pogues.


The Pogues (50% malt, 50% grain) is quite a whiskey, one that you could easily mistake for a much older drink. But is just the normal three years and one day. Frank: “It shows that whiskey doesn't have to be old to be good. You get those roasted nuts and vanilla aromas, fruity, rich and round on the palate. Quite malty, ginger-y. And don't forget, add a little water to enhance the flavours.”


West Cork Distillers was born from humble beginnings. From the coming together of a food and drinks engineer and his two fisherman friends it now has become a global business selling in over 35 countries worldwide.  John O’ Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy are the three pioneers. They reckon their use of local spring water (“from 3 kms down the road”) is a key factor as this natural soft water leads to a smoother whiskey. Nobody was arguing otherwise at the end of a very interesting and very enjoyable evening in the River Lee Hotel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Great West Cork Distillery Tour. Beautiful Baltimore

Great West Cork Distillery Tour

Beautiful Baltimore. Bountiful Clonakilty. 

A terrific tour of the West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen was the highlight of the first part of our twenty four hours in West Cork. A twenty four hours that had some changes to the “plan”, a rather loose one admittedly.

First hiccup, if you could call it that, came on the way down when a phone call to Baltimore revealed that the two o’clock trip on the SeaSafari was off as the craft was out of the water for the afternoon and being cleaned up.

So then the Distillery tour, one o’clock start, was pencilled in. Got into Skibbereen in good time and called to a busy Apple Betty’s. Ordered a panini. That was a little slow in coming but it was gorgeous, a terrific filling of bacon, Cashel blue and a fantastic relish. Rushed it a bit and hot footed down the street to the Distillery.

John O'Connell (foreground) in the Distillery
Things didn't look good here as people were coming away rather than going in! Apparently, the Distillery weren't very happy with the time published in the "Taste of West Cork" brochure. Director John O’Connell explained they couldn't do the tour at one but would have “a good one” at three.

It worked out well, at least for us. We headed off in the sun (the weather forecast was not exactly spot-on either) to Baltimore, packed with people who seemed to know more than the forecasters. So packed, we didn't find a space in the car parks.

Off out the road we went to the Beacon and enjoyed marvellous views both on the way and during our walk up to the Baltimore landmark. Great views over the islands, Sherkin the nearest, and back to the little town. Later, we had a pause and a walk by the harbour. Hiccups yes but this day was going very well indeed.
The Beacon
So well, we nearly missed the tour or so we thought. But there was no rush as dozens and dozens of people arrived, the big numbers a surprise to John and his friendly staff. Still we were all settled, with a glass of their Drombeg, perhaps their most famous whiskey so far, and a good one too for this time of day as it is just twenty per cent abv.


John then took us on a walkabout of the distillery where the staff were still working. He took us through the process, from the malted barley coming in, and along the journey to the casks (they use sherry casks) and the bottling at the end.

Great informative stuff and more whiskey before we left, with tastings of their West Cork whiskey, the normal and the cask (57% abv!). If you like your whiskeys flavoured then Kennedy’s is the one for you. You may have it Spiced, Honied, Limed and Chillied! They also do a gin, poitin and a vodka here, under the Two Trees brand. And that’s not all.

The ferry, from Sherkin, just arrived in Baltimore
But that was it for us and we headed through the town and off to the Inchydoney Island for that evening’s magnificent nine course dinner “A Taste of West Cork”, all part of the week long food festival in the area. Read all about it here.

And there was yet more whiskey on arrival as we were pleasantly surprised with a glass of the lovely Irish Mist. Time then for a walk on the fantastic beaches here.

The Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa is a four star hotel on the Wild Atlantic Way but I must say that the facilties and service that we enjoyed there were closer to five star. Great place with great staff. The only hiccup perhaps was a delay at breakfast but I think that was down to the many customers that all came together at about ten o’clock on the Saturday. Hard to legislate for that!

At Apple Betty's
They support local produce here obviously and I enjoyed my Scrambled Egg and Ummera Smoked Salmon before we headed off to Clonakilty in the morning mist. It had dried up by the time we arrived and we wandered through the streets looking for the Lettercollum Project shop.

We found it and it was busy, selling salads, tarts, cheese, wine, nuts, seeds, breads and so much more, much of it based on produce from their walled garden in nearby Lettercollum. We went off with enough salad (mixed beans) and bread for two delicious lunches over the weekend.

And we also found Vic and his organic Dexter beef in the market. The main market is on Friday but you’ll find some stalls operating on Thursday and Saturday. I’ll soon have a separate post up about Vic and his tasty beef but for the latest check out his Facebook page

Our twenty fours in West Cork were up and it was time to head back to the city. But we’ll return. Again and again!