Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Westland Distillery

Who over-drinks nowadays? It's not glamorous to can't hold a few down. Stuffed our faces at yet another huge lunch hosted by the friends. Couldn't say I was surprised at not having turkey at these holiday meals. Hehehe. Yayy. This lunch had wine and beer, but not bourbon or single malts. I didn't drink. Hahaha. Felt the need for a whisky after. Between sitting at a bar and tasting stuff, we went to three-year-old Westland Distillery.

We tend to associate 'whiskey' with bourbon and rye. Having that once in a while is fine, but I'm really not a fan of either. They're a bit sharp. Time to explore the American single malt, which is seeing a number of distilleries pop up. Tried a few but strangely haven't had a dram from a Seattle distillery. A good day as any to check it out.

The Seattle-based Westland Distillery opened in 2012, uses five different strains of barley, and gets its grains from Cedar River in Skagit Valley. It's so determined to create a uniquely American identity for its single malts- it didn't even hire a Scottish master distiller.

Luckily it wasn't that crazy on an afternoon when many were still on leave. Quite awesome for many restaurants and shops to remain open this weekend. Took an easy tasting flight that consisted of Westland's flagship, hand-filled Cask #581, sherry wood, and a peated. They're distinctly different from Scotch. What a pleasant surprise! Certain flavors are coming through similar, yet others are new-to-me. Heavy on the oak, as expected. More coffee than chocolate. The peat is very different from say, an Islay. It's pretty good.

New world whiskey, if you wish. Very young expressions. Westland has only been around for three years, so their bottlings are between three to five years old. It's the trend now of the many bottlings of Scotch, Japanese and Taiwanese single malts. Look at the range at duty-free shops at the airport. Most shelves carry 'no age expressions' on the bottles. Which kinda irritates me. It can come as a shock on the tastebuds. At this rate, a 12y.o single malt is going to be a rarity. Hence it's ridiculously priced at the bars. Grrr. For example, a 10y.o old Tobermory or a 10y.o Ardbeg is USD25 a dram here.

We chose to buy a hand-filled current bottling from a single cask. The Cask #581 (55% ABV) tasted of vanilla and cherries, full of oak and rounded. Good flavors. Felt that its characteristics were more representative of a good American single malt than its flagship. Filled up our bottle from the cask to the stated level and corked it. Woot. 357ml for USD55. A very good deal, we say. More than enough time to finish this bottle here, go get a refill, maybe two, then a final top up to pack into the suitcases! This, I will take the effort to lug it home.

Filling up our bottle!

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