The West Cork Approach

Mar 08, 2018

Preserving the Artisanal Craft of Irish Whiskey

West Cork Distillers was founded in 2003 by childhood friends John O’Connell, and cousins Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy. A food scientist and two deep sea fishermen, respectively, the three men grew up in the cultural homeland of Irish whiskey production. The childhood friends share a passion for preserving the tradition of crafting Irish Whiskey.

The West Cork Approach

West Cork is dedicated to producing the highest quality Irish Whiskey using classical techniques and local products. They are the only Irish distillery to exclusively malt its own Irish-grown barley. All of their local spring water is sourced fresh, 6 miles from their distillery for all of their cuts. They also use only Copper pot stills for all of their distillations and not column distillation to provide a smoother whiskey.

The re-introduction of artisan independent Irish whiskey remains a dream of these childhood friends. The family-run distillery has grown to include four additional family members and dozens of workers from all walks of life in the local community.


A classically-trained food scientist, John O’Connell turned his interests to producing whiskey in 2003 with two of his childhood friends. Leveraging his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the science of creating products – and a love for whiskey – John has dedicated more than a decade to distilling the highest quality Irish Whiskey imaginable through both traditional and innovative techniques. And his work has just begun.

Crafted in Ireland

Based in the remote town of Skibbereen, located in West Cork, Ireland, a seaside locale renowned for artisan handcrafted food and beverages. The distillery is located in the most southerly tip of the Atlantic archipelago which provides a unique mesothermal microclimate for which West Cork is famous for and is ideal for the maturation of Irish whiskey.

Master Blender Team

West Cork Distillers is proud to have assembled a collaborative team of Master Blenders with more than 80 years of combined experience; led by the innovative vision of founder John O’Connell. Frank McHardy began his career in Campbeltown in 1977 and has developed countless esteemed whiskey brands. His dedication to the craft has placed him in the top tier of the industry, earning him the honor of the 2014 Whisky Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The late Dr. Barry Walsh was a central gure in the development of Irish whiskey for over 40 years, fostering the export and appreciation of Irish Whiskeys across the globe. His work with some of the world’s top-selling whiskey brands contributed to his undisputed industry expertise. Deservedly, Barry won the 2005 Whisky Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bourbon Cask

A delicate blend of grain and malt whiskey matured in bourbon casks, delivering a smooth and approachable whiskey with a soft vanilla finish.

98pts Tasting Panel, 95pts Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017

10yr Single Malt

A non-chill filtered whiskey matured in first-fill, flame charred bourbon barrels for ten years, resulting in an exquisite aroma, rich taste and long, silky finish.

96pts Tasting Panel, 95pts Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017

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