Review – West Cork, 12 Year Old Port Cask.

West Cork, a whiskey brand by West Cork Distillers Ltd based in Skibbereen, Ireland. Established in 2003 and from what I can tell they started distilling their own spirit in 2013. So in all probability that means the original spirit in their current 10 & 12 year old range came from else where. If you happen to know Irish Whiskey you may just be able to work out from where it originated. This isn’t a bad thing in anyway, what they do with it after they get their hands on it is the important thing.

Side note – West Cork’s master distiller is none other than Whisky Magazine, Hall of Famer, Frank McHardy formaly of Springbank in Campeltown, Scotland.

West Cork have released a range of limitied single malt 12 year old statements. Matured in first fill Bourbon casks & finished for approximately 110 days in Rum, Sherry (Pedro Ximinez, a Spanish white wine grape) & Port (Douro Superior a subregion in Portugal). At 110 days for a finish, this is noticeably shorter than other distilleries, the reason for that as stated on thier website “WCD polish matures in selected casks for a shorter period than other distilleries to avoid overpowering the bourbon cask maturation”. It took a bit of thinking & a question to a friend as to what WCD mean by “polish matures”. We think it is their term for ACEing (additional cask enhancement)).

Does it work, only one way to find out & that is in the tasting.

(Photo Credit - West Cork Distillers Ltd)

I got sent the Port Cask, and as the title says thats what I’ll be reviewing.


  • RRP – £44/€51/$54
  • 700ml
  • 43% ABV
  • Non-chilled
  • No added colouring

First up, for being finished in a port cask, the liquid is fairly light a bright golden. You’d expect it to be slightly darker but as stated, being finish in port casks for 110 days it wouldn’t have the same effect if left for just shy of a full year.

Under the nose, the port is very much a subtle one, though still noticeable. There is a small scuffle between a variety of fruits, apples, dark berries, lemon & maybe even a touch of melon. Chuck in some vanilla, spice & floral notes for good messure.

On the taste buds the port notes are there, but also take what else you get from nosing & make them slightly more intensive. Vanilla & spice with others things that are nice such as, red apples, raspberries & blackcurrents. There is a richness to it that is very much pleasing.

The finish is mid-level, a slight dryness, creamy & fruity with a warming hint of spice, maybe even some slightly bitter dark chocolate tagged on at the end.

All around a whiskey I’ll more than happily pour a few more times. Maybe I’ll even polish of the bottle before I finish writing this review if the wife doesn’t stop me.
For £44/€51/$54 on a 12 year old aged statment it is maybe priced slightly too high considering well established brands such as The Balvenie 12 DoubleWood, Redbreast 12 & Highland Park 12 have a RRP at a lower price.

I have to hold my hands up, until this point I had only ever tried West Cork’s blended Bourbon cask once. I had formed an opionion of the back off that quick drink & other peoples opinions, which I really shouldn’t have, thus the reason for maybe not trying somemore West Cork sooner?

I look forward to trying the other two selections within this range this time with a more open mind.

Cheers to the folk at WCD for sending me the present.

Over & out folks, keep safe!

Jamie (Whiskey JAC)

One thought on “Review – West Cork, 12 Year Old Port Cask.

  1. Personally, I only know the rum finished West Cork 12, which is really nice. After your review, I guess I gotta keep an eye open for the port finished one as well. Over here in Germany, the bottles are also more reasonably priced. In my fave whisky store in town, they cost EUR 35 each…


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