Behind the Scenes: The Business of Sourcing, Maturing & Vatting Casks

April 6, 2023

W.D. O'Connell Whiskey Merchants is an independent whiskey bottler and bonder based in Co, Waterford in Ireland and run by its founder Daithi O'Connell. 

They are a very different kind of whiskey maker. They don't have a distillery and are not trying to build one. Instead they bottle & blend the best spirits they can find to curate a bottle and cask library that aligns with their vision and tastes. 

Similar to the bygone traditions of bottlers and bonders from the earliest days of Irish whiskey, Daithi and his team seek out new-make and mature spirits from the best of Ireland’s distillers. They work with peated whiskey; they bottle single grains; they have an all-sherry cask strength release., they're happy to re-mature whiskey in a Madeira cask, and source the best Scotch whisky Islay has to offer.

In this behind the scenes chat, Mark McLaughlin asks Daithi to help us understand the business of sourcing, maturing and vatting casks.

Daithi shares:

  • How he sourced his first ever whiskey for the business
  • His philosophy on cask types and spirit types that best suit his vision
  • Who helped advise him as he began his whiskey merchant journey and how that helped
  • The challenges of bringing new styles, vattings and whiskey finishes to market
  • How he identifies new-make and maturing spirit that will align with his whiskey goals
  • The alchemy of choosing parts of casks to release, while leaving other parts to mature further
  • The challenges of planning a whiskey release calendar
  • Why it's not possible to work with as many Irish distilleries as he'd like
  • How he's sourcing barrels from brokers now to give him more control over his wood program

It's a fascinating chat with a founder that has been at the forefront of whiskey bonding and bottling since launching in 2018. 

If you'd like to take a tour of W.D. O'Connell's warehouse and brand home under construction in Waterford, click here


Watch the full video below (login required)



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