Saturday, 27 August 2016

Tasted #310 - 312: Westland American Single Malt Whiskey (American Oak, Peated and Sherry Wood)

Mention "American Whiskey" to many people, and you're likely to get a response along the lines of "Oh, you mean Bourbon?" or maybe rye if they feel they know a thing or two. American single malt though, is a category that's still relatively unknown and even though there's a lot of it around (and has been for a while), is still seen as being in its relative infancy.

Enter Seattle's Westland Distillery. Drawing on the natural and high quality materials found in the USA's Pacific North West, the distillery produces a core range of three single malts, as well as a number of single cask expressions. Recently we were lucky enough to receive a sample of the three core expressions below, from Alba Whisky in Australia who will soon be distributing Westland:

At a minimum of 2 years old (26 months for the Sherry Wood) they're not old nor super complex, but nor are they trying to be. Aiming to showcase the rich barley of Washington state, the whiskies are designed to show what attention to detail, quality ingredients and intelligent maturation can produce.

Australia's Alba Whisky (known for distributing brands such as G&M, Amrut, Benromach, Wemyss and of course Westland) were kind enough to send us three samples recently (all the way to Hong Kong), to let us see what these whiskies were all about...

Westland American Oak American Single Malt Whiskey  (46% ABV, 2yo, Seattle, USA, Australian price TBC)
Colour: Honey gold.

Nose: Honey, caramel, BBQ'd pineapple. Very pleasant.

Palate: Smooth but rich. Toast, pork crackling, oranges drizzled with honey. Its 46% ABV feels spot on.

Finish: Short to medium length, with slight rubbery notes initially rounding out into bitter cocoa notes.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100. Very drinkable, and quite impressive given the young age of both the whisky and the distillery.

Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt Whiskey (46% ABV, 26 months old, Seattle, USA, Australian price TBC)
Colour: Light honey gold.

Nose: Toffee and caramel, raisins and maple butter. Some sweet PX notes with red berries.

Palate: Crisp and clean, with brazil nuts, a slight meatiness, oak and continuing creamy maple butter.

Finish: Medium to long length, creamy, sweet, slightly drying.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  90/100.

Westland Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (46% ABV, 2yo, Seattle, USA, Australian price TBC

Colour: Light honey gold.

Nose: Initially gives sweet, meaty, citrusy peat notes. Think honey orange-glazed BBQ pork. The peat is noticeable, but subtle.

Palate: Peat smoke that's simultaenously earthy and sweet, and slightly peppery. It's unique, but very enjoyable. Burnt toast, BBQ'd pork and charcoal-roasted pineapple.

Finish: Medium length, slight earthy smoke with a residual sweetness to the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Very enjoyable (especially the palate) and definitely my favourite of the three.

The range of Westland whiskies will soon be available from Alba Whisky in Australia. Thanks to Ian for the generous samples.


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