At West Cork Irish Whiskey, we’re constantly testing out and experimenting with new processes to create something groundbreaking. We have two mechanisms unique to our production.
Process of Whiskey Makingadmin2023-10-17T12:00:18+00:00
This is a physical separation method, mainly used in chemistry. It’s a technique that separates and identifies compounds in a liquid. We use it to get the consistency of our alcohol just right, rather than solely using sensory analysis.
Usually a process used to purify water and remove anything undesirable, Reverse Osmosis is utilised at the distillery to force water out of particular products. This hugely increases the concentration of our stout and IPA releases, prior to putting them into the cask. It allows us to create impactful, strong flavours way before the liquid begins to recess.
We begin the long process of whiskey-making with a simple grain. Barley is one of the main ingredients in whiskey, but it goes through many stages in its journey to the bottle. It’s first submerged in water to soak, then spread out and left to germinate for three weeks in a moist environment.
This is known as ‘malting’. Barley, primarily made up of starch, must be malted in order to manipulate the moisture levels and make it digestible to yeast. It's essential we get the starch from the barley to transform into sugar, so we can make a great tasting alcohol!
After completing the transformation of starch into sugar, we make sure that sugar is then broken down into a more fermentable form. The sugar must be dissolved in order to progress the liquid to the next stage.
This is done through the process known as ‘mashing’. The grain being used, whether it’s barley, wheat, corn or rye, is put in a large ‘mash tun’ with hot water. The grains are then worked until the mixture becomes, well, a giant bowl of porridge. The sweet liquid, or ‘wort,’ is drained from the tun and can now move on to fermentation.
Fermentation is the pivotal point at which we add yeast to the mixture. During the fermentation process, as the wort leaves the mash tun, it is run through to a fermentation tank or ‘washback.’ When yeast is added, all the remaining sugars convert to alcohol.
This portion of the process can take anywhere from two to four days. The result is a liquid nicknamed wash or distillers beer that sits around 10% alcohol. The wash is then sent to the stills and distilled for the first time.
Distilling occurs to increase the alcohol content of our liquid. The stills are made of copper, which removes certain flavours or aromas. We use our own handcrafted pot stills to get the whiskey tasting just right. Inside the stills, the liquid is heated to just below the boiling point of water and a vapour emerges. This new vapour rises into the neck of the still and is then condensed into alcohol through cooling.
This process is then repeated, and any remaining water is removed. As the liquid moves through different stills, the alcohol content rises.
The long wait begins! Most whiskeys are matured in oak containers and require a specific minimum ageing time. Long periods of ageing allow harsh flavours to dissipate from the alcohol and encourage the whiskey to adopt flavour and colour from the wood.
As the whiskey ages over time, some of the alcohol evaporates, which creates a distinctive sweet smell in the distillery. When our barrels are prepared, they’re charred for different lengths of time to make each whiskey we create a special experience.
Once the maturing process has finished, whiskey is bottled at a minimum of 40% abv. Some whiskeys are chill-filtered to prevent a cloudiness when combined with ice. The bottles are carefully sealed and labeled with detailed information about the whiskey's origin, aging period, and flavor profile to ensure that enthusiasts can fully appreciate the craftsmanship behind each bottle.
Once bottled, our whiskey is shipped globally to reach the international West Cork Whiskey community.
West Cork Classic Blends range consists of Bourbon Cask, Black Cask and Cask Strength Irish Whiskey, matured and aged in bourbon casks. Each bottle of West Cork Irish Whiskey is triple distilled, non-chill filtered, matured and bottled onsite and carefully crafted using the finest of local ingredients.
The beer series at West Cork Irish Whiskey consists of the West Cork IPA Cask and Irish Stout Cask Matured Blended Irish Whiskey. Both whiskeys are blended with grain and malt, aged in first fill bourbon casks and finished in casks that held Blacks of Kinsale IPA or Blacks of Kinsale Stout.
The West Cork Cask Finishes is a collection of triple distilled single malt Irish whiskeys. Each whiskey has been aged in first-fill bourbon casks and then finished in casks selected from the finest fortified wines and spirits.
The Glengarriff Series consists of the Peat Charred Cask Finish and the Bog Oak Charred Cask Finish. These triple distilled single malt Irish whiskeys are matured in sherry casks before being treated to a finishing period in peat charred casks and bog oak charred casks.
Presented in a bespoke Maritime shaped bottle, this unique maritime Irish Whiskey range is inspired by the founders and background of West Cork Irish Whiskey. The Maritime range bottle is a masterfully crafted custom-blown spherical bottle with an off centre spout to aid a smoother pour of whiskey. The range comprises rum cask, port cask, sherry cask and virgin oak cask single malt Irish whiskey.