Can I simply admit I haven’t yet got on the American craft whiskey band-wagon? I’m just not a crazy bourbon fan… and while I certainly recognise there is some great stuff out there, most American whiskies just don’t seem to float my boat in the way a mature, complex, Scottish cask strength whisky does…
Til now… yes… this Westland just might make a convert out of me. I kid you not – it is that good.
Part of our June tasting trio, our host’s partner studied with the master distiller – Matt Hoffman – and they personally visited the ‘lab’ in Seattle to pick up this remarkable dram. Everything about it simply stood out and demanded undivided attention – in the best possible way.
- Nose – Sweet peaty charcoal, fills up the glass with its aroma, prunes and plums, the kind of nose that makes you salivate and want to immediately dive in, a scent reminiscent of village life heating water in copper handis with a hint of smoke, fermentation… after it is left for a bit, we returned to discover freshly baked cookies
- Taste – A bubbly champagne, like a bright proseco with a ‘zing’ that continues, dry, smokey quality that remains on the tongue, an odd yet pleasant astringentness, chilli with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, secretive ash, complicated, an odd yet likable old dry roasted puffed rice
- Finish – Long… sweet and lingers with a delayed bitterness
- Water – Spicy tarka
Our host shared her experience visiting his lab in Seattle, enjoying an opportunity to sample a range of whiskies before picking this one – hand filling her own bottle. She described the new make spirit as ‘almost there’ even before maturing in new American oak casks – amazing. In part, this is a result of Matt’s practise of using Belgium yeast which gives the whiskies a slightly chocolate flavour.
The latest cask in our Hand-Filled series is Cask #395, filled with 30% of our signature 5-malt new make spirit and 70% peated new make spirit. Interestingly, the peated malt doesn’t dominate the character of the final whiskey. The 5-malt holds its own and more while the heavy toast/light char cask adds a nice third dimension to the overall profile.
FLAVOR PROFILE NOTES
This multi-dimensional whiskey has a lot to offer. The peat notes are floral and fruity with a mossy aroma on the nose, all underpinned by smoky barbecued meat. The presence of the 5-malt is exhibited by a backdrop of waffle cone with chocolate custard.
Or see what others say about the distillery: