Westland Trio – Sherry Wood 46%

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s 2nd July session featured a Westland trio – with a rather interesting order…. starting 1st with the Peated, then their flagship American Oak followed by this – the Sherry Wood.

We sampled blind, with nothing revealed until after all three whiskies were given due consideration.

What did we find?

Westland Sherry Wood 46%

  • Nose – When freshly opened, we were greeted with varnish, musty old furniture, old wood and polish which then began to shift into waxy fruits, on the edge of becoming over-ripe, mixed tropical fruits, some kiwis, honey nuts, Quality Street MacIntosh milk, mocha toffee
  • Palate – Soft then the spice grows, lots of toffee, complex layers with depth, banoffee pie, spice, oily mouth feel
  • Finish – A proper finish! Toffee or burnt caramel, stays
  • Water – Brings out a super sweetness, a bit of spice, chocolate

Our conclusion was this was quite a tasty dram, with a good balance. It also paired well with the cigar… which is naturally rather important to the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents!

Here’s what the folks over at Westland have to say:

Westland’s Sherry Wood is a new world approach to an old world idea. For decades, the use of ex-sherry casks for whiskey maturation has been a favored technique in Scotland and beyond. In marrying the decadence of sherry with our unique grain-forward house style we create something altogether new.

 

Like the grain we source, we hold our sherry casks to high standards of quality. These casks held some of the world’s finest Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry for nearly a century and in the skilled hands of Rafael Cabello and his team at Tonelería del Sur in Montilla, Spain they have been given new life and purpose. Our long-standing partnership with his family-owned cooperage now provides us with one of the largest supplies of sherry casks in America.

And their tasting notes:

  • The nose offers an immediate richness, with honey-dipped oatmeal raisin cookies. Maple syrup follows close behind, drizzled over banana pancakes.
  • The palate initially offers some kiwi with more maple and raisin syrup notes. Extended tastings offer a dazzling array of sweet cookies and pastries, getting darker and richer with time before eventually ceding the palate to stewed yellow fruits on the finish.

The other Westland’s whiskies sampled in our trio included:

Not enough Westland?  Check out other tasting experiences:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Westland Trio – American Oak 46%

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s 2nd July session featured a Westland trio – currently my favourite American distillery, with this my favourite of the three standard official bottlings.

We began with the Westland Peated – an interesting choice as one typically would start with a lighter ex-bourbon. But no – our friend chose to reverse the order beginning 1st with peat then moved on to the flagship single malt – American Oak – neatly covered making it impossible to know what we were sampling.

What did we find?

Westland American Oak 46%

  • Nose – A lovely almost sherry sweet character, spice, pepper, cloves, resin, beeswax, wood sap, fresh pine tree, sweet brioche, pineapple upside down cake, cream… one even suggested Malibu coconut rum! After some time, a sweet creamy banana split, an inviting mix of sweet citrus like blood oranges
  • Palate – Soft, quite light on the palate, smooth, coconut, little spice almost like paprika or cayenne, then after time softens into pink peppercorn, a lovely creamy quality like milk chocolate, far too dangerously drinkable,
  • Finish – A nice medium finish, candy, red liquorice, light spice chaser
  • Water – Pushes spice from the finish to the palate

The nose was initially bursting with character then settled down into a most agreeable and frankly delicious aroma, easy drinking character on the palate with a light but delightful barely there finish.

While not necessarily a cigar whisky, it is exactly the kind of every day dram you want in your whisky cabinet. It is eminently companionable… lovely to sniff, sip and enjoy.

When our Whisky Ladies sampled this back in January 2017, they enjoyed it immensely! With one remarking it simply spoke to her: “Relax my love, just drink me now.”

Here’s what the folks over at Westland have to say:

A flagship malt is the core expression of a distillery’s house style. Westland’s American Oak is a reflection of where it is made and the collective intent of those who made it. When we founded Westland Distillery, we had a vision for an entirely new category of whiskey. Distilled from the rich, flavorful barley of Washington State and matured predominantly in new American oak casks in the steady, cool humidity of our seaside home, this whiskey is a testament to that vision. All of these choices and ingredients conspire to create an approachable, mature and uniquely American single malt that can stand with the best whiskies in the world.

And their tasting notes:

  • The initial nose provides lemon and orange custard backed by freshly produced waffle cone. Shortly after, a rich creaminess emerges with creme brûlée and chocolate custard while a hint of jasmine hides just beneath the surface.
  • The first sip confirms the creamy and rich fruit custard notes of the nose, adding an element of rainier cherries. After five minutes, melting swiss chocolate is revealed with a hint of almond.
  • Extended tastings brings out bananas and cream with Turkish coffee.

The other Westland’s whiskies sampled in our July 2017 trio included:

Not enough Westland?  Check out other tasting experiences:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Westland Trio – Peated 46%

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s 2nd July session featured a Westland trio – currently my favourite American distillery.

Our whisky and cigar curator for the evening obscured each bottles  so we could have a fully blind tasting experience.

What did we find?

Westland Peated 46%

  • Nose – Immediate sense that this must be 1st fill oak, a nice tingle, ginger, vanilla, honey, bananas, toffee, such sweetness… as it opened further, was joined by old paper, bacon…
  • Palate – A nice spice, sweet wood, rough, with a great subtle peat
  • Finish – Bitter finish, more spice and smoke, a long smell
  • Water – Smoothed out the various elements

Our conclusion was this is a “Drinking not tasting whisky.” One even thought it may be a blend, with its agreeable character.

After sampling all three Westland’s, we returned to the Peated and found the smoke, leather and meats clearly came to the fore… in a way they simply were not present when freshly opened. There was also a sense of old perfume, one even remarked “I’m in an Egyptian Tea House.”

The gents found it paired reasonably well with their cigar, with all well in the world.

Here’s what the folks over at Westland have to say:

This Peated Malt whiskey is a variation on our house style made from a mash of peated malt that is among the smokiest in the world. We combine that with a variety of malt-focused spirits that together create a single malt whiskey that encompasses a wide spectrum of peaty and smoky flavors without dominating the palate. The peat character is sturdy enough to satisfy the cravings of those looking for a solid dose of smoke, while malt-focused mash bills contribute grainy and fruity notes that round out the whiskey. Westland’s Peated Malt is filled primarily into new American oak and 1st-fill used American oak, resulting in a multi-dimensional and balanced peated single malt whiskey.

And their tasting notes:

  • The nose starts off with a background of nuttiness accompanied by smoldering moss and flamed orange peel. The peat leaps from the palate, expressing campfire notes, iodine, and roasted pistachios. With time, the smoldering moss on the nose evolves into burning embers and roasted plantains.
  • The palate also transitions over time, moving towards significant earth notes, green herbs and increasing iodine towards the finish.

The other Westland’s whiskies sampled in our trio included:

Not enough Westland?  Check out other tasting experiences:

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

Westland Trio – Peated, American Oak, Sherry Wood

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar club try to meet every month or two… however sometimes busy schedules get in the way and derail our best intentions.

For example, our February session was postponed to May (Undisclosed Distillery Drams). Our June session could only happen early July (Scotch Malt Whisky Society Quartet)… and  yet amazingly, we were able to hold our original July session as planned!

What was in store for us?

Our whisky and cigar curator for the evening put careful thought into our evening… tracking down a trio of Westland whiskies… carefully obscuring the bottles even the caps! All so we could have a fully blind tasting experience.

He also chose an order to deliberately trip us up a little:

Be patient for tasting notes as will catch-up in the coming weeks or so!

In the meantime, do check out our other brushes with Westland?

And his cigar pairing choice? A Gurkha Founder’s Reserve 12 year…

From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on:

“Relax my love, just drink me now” Westland Single Malt 46%

Next in our “out of the ordinary” North American evening was another offering from Westland.

Westland distillery is based in Seattle, Washington and I’ve tried their Hand Filled and more recently their Sherry Wood. In both cases, I was quite impressed with the quality and character.

So when our American “mule” asked what he could bring this time from the US – Westland was definitely on the list! He picked up their flagship ‘house style’ whisky made from five different barley malts (Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, Brown Malt).

And what did we find?

westlandWestland Single Malt 46% 

  • Nose – Caramel, marmalade, banana, chocolate, praline
  • Palate – Subtle, very smooth, buttery, woody, orange peel, bursting with different elements – creamy, slightly salted, toasted wood chips, a little raw paper
  • Finish – Slightly spicy

For many ladies, they simply didn’t even try to describe what they found – too caught up in simply enjoying. Clearly a good sign!

And one who did?

“Relax my love, just drink me now.”

So while we were light on observations and comments, we were high on appreciation. In short it was a whisky that satisfied.

Here is what they have to say:

The initial nose provides lemon and orange custard backed by freshly produced waffle cone. Shortly after, a rich creaminess emerges with creme brûlée and chocolate custard while a hint of jasmine hides just beneath the surface. The first sip confirms the creamy and rich fruit custard notes of the nose, adding an element of rainier cherries. After five minutes, melting swiss chocolate is revealed with a hint of almond. Extended tastings brings out bananas and cream with Turkish coffee.

In keeping with new generation new thinking distilleries, the Westland team disclose full details on their approach – from yeast strain to fermentation time. You can find more details here.

What all did we try in our “out of ordinary” American evening?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Whisky Ladies “Not your ordinary North American” whiskey – Shelter Point, Westland + AD Laws

Our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai are no strangers to North American whiskey… we’ve had other evenings checking out offerings from both Canada and the US.

What distinguished this evening is that we eschewed big brands to opt for newer  players…ad-laws

What did we try?

shelter-point

Other American themed evenings:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

New World Classic – Westland Sherry Wood 46%

Next up in our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s blind tasting surprise evening was a brilliant example of what attention to detail, quality, marriage of art and science can produce.

With an old world aesthetic but new world know how, Matt and the folks over at Westland are making the world pay attention to what is possible from the West.

westland-sherry

Westland Sherry Wood Whiskey 46%

(circa 2016 via La Maison du Whisky, Singapore)

Here is what we discovered:

  • Nose – While the colour was an instant ‘give away’ that this was likely Sherry cask, the nose wasn’t over the top sherry. Tingly, spicy, cinnamon bark, hint of wood smoke, dark treacle, some cereal, in short – delicious!
  • Palate – Now the sherry comes through rich with stewed prunes, currents with sweet spices, complex
  • Finish – Lovely warm with stewed fruits and a hint of liquorice
  • Water – While initially shy to add, it brought out more sherry sweet in the nose, a dash more spice on the palate. While this whisky can continue to hold its own with a few drops, it honestly isn’t needed.

We had an immediate positive response to this whisky. It hit all the right elements for a darn good dram.

Speculation was this was likely a Speyside though not possible to pinpoint a specific distillery. Without a doubt, it was the most immediately enjoyable of the trio tasted. It also was the most complex, beautifully well-rounded.

With the reveal… lots of surprise and a squeal of delight (Ok that was me).

Let’s just say that many folks assume that only the Scots can produce a decent dram. And that time is required to bring out the best in a single malt.

Matured for a minimum of two years (take that folks who think age automatically means good!), Westland proves that you do not need age or be steeped in traditions to care about quality and translate that passion into making a very fine whisk(e)y indeed.

When I was first introduced last year to a Westland single malt with a hand filled cask strength, I could tell they were doing something special. The fellow whisky adventuress who brought the bottle had met with the team, trying their new make spirit and selecting the whisky she wanted to bring back from the US to India for us to try.

In short – I was impressed.

And with this Sherry Wood, I’m still impressed.

Here is what the folks over at Westland have to say:

  • The nose offers an immediate richness, with honey-dipped oatmeal raisin cookies. Maple syrup follows close behind, drizzled over banana pancakes.
  • The palate initially offers some kiwi with more maple and raisin syrup notes. Extended tastings offer a dazzling array of sweet cookies and pastries, getting darker and richer with time before eventually ceding the palate to stewed yellow fruits on the finish.

Westland’s Sherry Wood is a new world approach to an old world idea. For decades, the use of ex-sherry casks for whiskey maturation has been a favored technique in Scotland and beyond. In marrying the decadence of sherry with our unique grain-forward house style we create something altogether new. Like the grain we source, we hold our sherry casks to high standards of quality. These casks held some of the world’s finest Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry for nearly a century and in the skilled hands of Rafael Cabello and his team at Tonelería del Sur in Montilla, Spain they have been given new life and purpose. Our long-standing partnership with his family-owned cooperage now provides us with one of the largest supplies of sherry casks in America.

It paired exceedingly well with our cigars (Gurkha 17 year) and more than half the bottle had disappeared by the close of our evening!

Other whiskies featured in our BMC Blind Surprise tasting:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BMC go ‘blind’ – Old Pulteney 17 year, Westland Sherry, Amrut Bourbon

Til date, our Bombay Malt & Cigar (BMC) gents have proudly shown off their bottles. And who wouldn’t? We’ve had some rare treats like the Balblair 38 year or whiskies all filled by hand.

However sometimes half the fun of a whisky tasting evening is to have a surprise – discover something new about a distillery you thought you could readily spot or have your notions challenged by something completely different than expected!

Our most recent BMC night adopted a ‘blind tasting’ approach, with our whisky curator carefully covering each bottle. He was rather excited to see what we thought before the unveiling… prompting us to try to guess the region, if not distillery.

old-pulteney-westland-amrut

What did we sample? And what did we guess?

Gleefully the whiskies were uncovered to show that while we guessed the right region for the Old Pulteney and the distillery was named at one point, it didn’t have the clear maritime stamp we now associate with Old Pulteney…

As for Westland? Wow! I will confess to shouting out my delight as it proves once again the folks there know exactly what they are doing!

And Amrut? The verdict is still out…

If we were betting, the house clearly would have won this round!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Westland Cask No 395 Hand Filled 54.6%

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.

Westland Whiskey (Whisky Lady)

Westland Whiskey (Whisky Lady)

Westland hand filled 54.6% 
Cask strength, cask No 395, bottle no 365 which was hand filled by our host on 2/5/2015
  • 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
Here is a whiskey that is simply bursting with character! Very creative, complex, insanely interesting. While likely only three years, Westland has managed to produce a whisky people will definitely enjoy. In our opinion. this whisky is in the ‘watch out’ category as opposed to simply ‘interesting but…’ league.
Westland Cask No 395 (Whisky Lady)

Westland Cask No 395 (Whisky Lady)

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.

There are few reviews out there of Westland and even fewer for Cask No 395 – which alas is now sold out. The official notes share:

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.

For more info, check out their website – Westland Distillery – Thoughtfully Made

Or see what others say about the distillery:

For many, the Westland was the highlight of our June 2015 monsoon tasting trio which also featured whiskies from Ireland and Scotland:
Monsoon trio - Tullamore DEW Phoenix, Westland Cask No 395, Ledaig 18 year (Whisky Lady)

Monsoon trio – Tullamore DEW Phoenix, Westland Cask No 395, Ledaig 18 year (Whisky Lady)