DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was provided by the distiller. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.
Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Single Malt”? Scotch right? When we think of Scotch we think of Scotland. Well, today’s triple shot review comes from the fine folks at Westland Distillery, in Seattle, Washington. I’ve had a bunch of American single malts from all over the country. Most, I wouldn’t give to even my buddy that would drink anything. The Pacific Northwest seems to have the corner on American single malt market. One of my favorites is from Oregon. On to the reviews, but first a quick excerpt from the Westland Distillery website, that says it better than I can.
“…For centuries, single malt whiskies have been considered solely the domain of Scotland. But a new category of single malt is taking root. One that offers us the chance to make a mark in the world of whiskey. It must be led by your own ideas, done on your own terms and realized through your own hard work. Here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, we are graced with world-class natural ingredients. Those ingredients inspire us to pursue our own unique American-style single malt to rival the finest whiskies in the world. With each expression we work to create something that both honors the traditions of distilling that we admire and adds something worthwhile at the same time. Something new and distinctly American. The character of our malt provides a wealth of flavor profiles for our whiskies. Regardless of the individual expression, every whiskey at Westland Distillery is underscored by our house style – a sweetness and ease on the palate accompanied by a fruity and complex but ultimately grain-focused finish worthy of its place in this new world.”
The American Single Malt base is a barley locally grown in Washington. From there, four more barley’s are added to the grain bill. Once distilled, the distillate is put in new American oak barrels for at least 2 years, which is more like Bourbon than Scotch. Although it is uncommon, some scotch does get the new barrel treatment and there have been a number of virgin oak finishes. Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Deanston, Benriach and Glendronach have all done them.
The nose is fruity with a touch of barley. Cherries, Raisins, vanilla and perhaps a bit of pecan are also there, with a bit more oak than what I’d normally expect from a single malt. Very pleasant. There is a small underlying smell of leather, not predominant or intrusive. The nose makes the mouth water in anticipation.
The first sip has rich dark chocolate, spicy oak, coffee, butterscotch and a bit of tart cherry to start things off. The barley is quite pronounced as well lending a nice malt note. It seems to fill the mouth and hug the tongue. One of the better mouth feels I’ve had.
The finish was a little fruity, but it left a nice warmth that lingered for a short time.
Sam: The second entry is the peated malt. I have mixed feelings about this one. I am always looking for new things, but at the time of this review I didn’t like peated whisky. I have since gained a taste for it, it was actually this that started me on the road to embracing peat.
I am going to admit I didn’t like this one at first. Looking back I realize that it had been this that peaked my interest, and allowed me to try the Compass Box Peat Monster. I know, one extreme to another, but that’s just how I am. Because of the fact that at the time I tried this I was a peat rookie I am going to just leave it here for now. I plan to buy a bottle in the future to review at another time. If you are looking for an introduction to peat, this would be a good one to start off with. Be warned, it’s like nothing you ever tried before.
Rick: Loved it. He loves peat, and thought this was great. He’s looking forward to doing a proper review once we buy the bottle!
We liked this one better than the original. It is aged in American oak casks previously used for Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry. I have always loved the Sherry finish when it comes to single malts. The Glenlivet XXV and Glenfiddich 15 come to mind, I know these are a lot to live up to, but these are two of my personal favorites. Sherry seems to really compliment single malt.
The nose really is pancakes and maple syrup. With the added touch of raisins, green apples, soft oak, port, and vanilla. The nose is outstanding. It’s one i could sit and enjoy for a while without even taking a sip.
The palate is a balanced with the nose quite nicely. It is thick in the mouth and warm. While the sherry is there, it is a bit lighter than i’d like, and doesn’t it’s presence known as much as I’d like it to.
The finish is warm and dark, with a bit more sherry and spice.
I’d like to have all three bottles on my shelf, but if I had to choose one it would definitely be the Sherry Wood! Thanks for reading!
I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Review suggestions are welcome.
Until Next Time,