Tag Archives: westland

Westland Winter Whiskey Review

Distiller: Westland. ABV: 50%. Grain bill: 65% Washington Select Pale Malt, 14% Signature 5-Malt, 21% Baird’s Heavily Peated Malt (21%). No age statement.

I’m a firm believer that there is a perfect whiskey for every setting. Where you are, who you are with, and how you feel are all important in the art of picking a bottle to pour.

There’s seven inches of snow outside, and crushing cold is closing in on Chicago. The bundle of firewood sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace will soon be put to good use. There’s something special about gathering the family around the hearth on a frigid night and just relaxing in its warmth as the stress of the daily grind melts away.

I can’t think of a better whiskey to pour tonight than Westland’s limited edition Winter 2016 American Single Malt. Master Distiller Matt Hofmann’s superior blending skills are once again showcased with this inaugural seasonal release of 2,400 bottles. It’s a mix of nine casks: six ex-bourbon casks, one ex-Westland, and one new oak were filled with a combination of Westland’s signature malts; one ex-Oloroso hogshead was filled with the Seattle distillery’s heavily peated spirit.

Light and clean smoke is on the nose, mixed with sweet dark stone fruit and honeycrisp apples. The palate has a lot of depth, and the smoke and sweetness have the right amount of balance. The fruit notes of the nose take on a more baked profile on the palate, which plays nicely with the warmth from its 50% ABV. Faint shaved chocolate and spice add an additional layer of complexity. The finish is sustained and leaves a nice smoky reminder of that hogshead of peated malt.

Another great release from Westland–one I know will be the perfect pour to pair with tonight’s fire. To keeping your body and soul warm. Cheers! – JTR

Buy Westland whiskey online at Mash + Grape

Westland graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Westland Peat Week Single Malt Review

Distiller: Westland. ABV: 50%. No age statement. Third release.

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is becoming brisk, the leaves are changing and the waiting for my favorite season is over. Fall is here and I love it.

It’s also time for one of my favorite annual release events from one of my favorite distillers. Next week is Westland’s annual Peat Week, which they promise to be “the most magnificent, daring and unusually wonderful spectacle of peat ever seen in any land since the world began.” In addition to a number of themed events held at the distillery, they are releasing the third annual commemorative bottling of their peated American single malt.

This release, from a marriage of eight casks, will be just over 2,000 bottles (50% ABV) and have three separate circus-themed labels that are just as incredible as the whiskey within.

The nose has notes of petrichor from an early autumn rainstorm combined with damp firewood. On the palate the fresh peat kicks in, and although it’s definitely a unique peatiness, I taste some similarities with a Laphroaig. The peat here though is bathed in a distinctive Westland sweetness of tropical fruits and honey. The finish is just right and reminds me that this whiskey will be a perfect companion while sitting around a late evening campfire this October.

Westland did a great job with this release, and I prefer it over their prior Peat Week ones. I’m looking forward to picking up a couple of bottles and spending some time around that campfire soon.

Cheers! – JTR

Buy Westland single malt online at Mash + Grape

Westland graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Westland Inferno Single Malt Review

Distiller: Westland. ABV: 58.4%. Age: 4 years.

One of the things I love about Seattle-based Westland (which recently won the World Craft Producer of the year award by Whisky Magazine) is their unwavering commitment to innovation and experimentation. This has been evident in the depth of variety we’ve seen in their single cask releases, but the recent Inferno release really defines what it means to push the envelope in making whisky.

Released on April Fool’s Day 2016, this four-year-old American single malt was matured in a cask that previously contained chili pepper sauce. On the nose, there is a hint of fresh peppers and sea salt, and no clear warning of the intensity to follow. For the first few seconds on the palate, there are interesting notes of chile peppers and salted diced tomatoes marinated in single malt–but then the heat begins to envelop your mouth.

I was intrigued at first by the combination of warmth from the high ABV and the chili pepper cask, but the intensity quickly turned into insanity. The spiciness was unrelenting and borderline painful. Welcome relief came in the form of numbness that set in during the long finish.

Although clearly not a “daily sipper,” I’m looking forward to trying this in a Bloody Mary, and to future experimental releases from Westland. Their unashamed approach to this one is refreshing, and I particularly agree with the quote they selected from Dante’s Inferno: “Through me you pass into the city of woe: through me you pass into eternal pain.”

Cheers! – JTR

Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt Review

Distiller: Westland. 46% ABV. Age: 2+ years. Grain bill: 100% malted barley. Price: $70.

You know what I love more than almost anything? The “now I get it” moment. Never comes at the start of a bottle, even one that’s great from the first sip. It’s usually a few days/drams in.

Just had mine with the Westland Sherry Wood last night. This Seattle-made single malt is the third release in Westland’s core range, which includes their standard single malt and a peated version. The Sherry Wood comes from a grain bill that includes Washington, Munich, and pale chocolate malt, and is aged “at least” 26 months, first in new American oak and ex-bourbon casks, then in ex-Oloroso and Pedro Jimenez sherry butts.

Give this one time. The first impression was just pure, unadulterated sweet sherry. Not a finish, but a 50-50 whiskey-sherry mix. Two nights later, maple syrup, cookie dough, and raisins emerged. Then last night: wow. There’s the malt, rich and decadent. Cocoa. Ginger. Roasted nuts. And the other notes now beautifully integrated.

How soon can I make it up to Seattle? – BO