Westland Garryana Single Malt (2016 edition), 56.2%
Craft Whiskey | $125
This holds real promise for the scotch lover. Interesting vanillin oak, peaty phenols, and adhesive bandage balance the generous, sweet malt foundation. Robust on the palate, but far from fiery, the mouth coating peat takes charge of the marshmallow-sweet malt, before dusty cocoa and dark chocolate win out across the long finish. Like other Westland efforts, this tries hard on many fronts and succeeds on some. It’s hard to deduce what the Oregon Quercus Garryana oak actually brings to the whole.
Westland Garryana Single Malt 2|1 (2017 edition), 50%
Craft Whiskey | $150
Aromas of woodsmoke with hints of hot tar and rubber are draped over ripe berry fruit. Dark and somewhat brash, it comes off a touch hot, fully revealing its 100 proof, becoming more fruit driven on the palate, as sweet berry, buckwheat honey, and sorghum syrup give way to smoldering baking spice on the drying, oak-laced finish. More muscle than finesse, however the 21% Quercus garryana is revealing itself more in this second iteration.
Briney sea air, wet stones, and pretty wisps of campfire smoke give this a strong Scottish bent, while the medium-bodied palate nicely balances the sweet malt, salt, and smoke in a bit of salt water taffy. Showing nice complexity and balance overall, the finish smolders and evolves to become more herbaceous.
Floral and spice, including orange blossom and clove, this pours berry fruit on the palate before the chocolate malt balls set in. Seamless, nicely done, and certainly moreish, as the clean, drying finish gives way to biscuit, brioche, and pain au chocolat.
Sweet vanilla, dried berries, and a soft display of woodsmoke introduce this whiskey. While notably improved from earlier bottlings, the sherry is still rendered a bit dull, like chocolate-covered cherries, as smoky cocoa nibs and the chewy malt meet on the palate, offering a honeyed finish with hints of baking chocolate.
A non-age stated single malt from Washington State. Light amber in color, there’s more oak on the nose than you’d expect, along with baked apple, chocolate, cinnamon, and clove. Chocolate leads the entry, followed by clove, cinnamon, baked apple, and salt. A spicy mid-palate picks up some ginger and a dash of heat. The finish is fairly short and dry. This feels a bit young and lacks depth. An interesting start; let's see where it goes from here.
This young peated malt, aged at least 24 months, has a nice, dry peat smoke nose, backed by honey and oak. On the palate it’s disjointed: the young peat malt argues with the heavy char barrel, a struggle that needs more time to be worked out. Honeyed malt tries to lend support but everything topples in the mid-palate, where things turn dry, spicy, and slightly acidic. A medium finish wraps up a whiskey that simply needs more time.
With a mash featuring no less than six different kinds of malt and aged in four different barrels (two sherry, a bourbon, and heavy-char new American oak), there are lot of moving parts with this whiskey. A jammy, inviting nose features blackberry jam, raisin, apricot, and ginger. On the palate it’s a cacophonic mess: chocolate and peated malt clash and do battle to grab focus. Add some heavy char and sherry to the mix and it's a bloodbath.