...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Way Too Many Westlands + a Movie, Part 3

Part 3 has more twists and turns than the previous two posts. Originally my intent was to pair up a fiery film with two 60+%abv Westlands that I'd previously called "a pair of flamethrowers". I started to queue up Don't Go in the House only to realize I didn't really want to watch a man burn naked women to death. So instead I looked for a snowy film and went with...

The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975, Spain)


I love lycanthropes (they're my people), and I had the pleasure of briefly being the production accountant on Finding Bigfoot. So how bad could this be?

Bad.

The eighth in a 12-film series, The Werewolf and the Yeti quarter-heartedly tries to refresh a wolf man origin story by having Count Waldemar get bitten by saucy wolf ladies in a random Kathmandu cave. (We know he's in Kathmandu because the film offers close-ups of off-center magazine photos of stupas.) Before he gets nibbled on, Waldemar and friends(?) are in Nepal searching for The Yeti, an important subject matter for the first 10 minutes of the film, then a MacGuffin for the next 10 minutes, then completely forgotten about for most of the rest of the running time.

The first half of TWATY depicts various people standing around talking about more exciting things, then episodic lurches form in the second half. All but one of Waldemar's crew are murdered thanks to a series of stupid choices. (I almost said out-of-character choices, but there are no characteristics to speak of.) Yellowface baddies and a sadistic nurse(?) dispatch these cardboard cutouts before being chewed up by Waldemar Wolf. There's a full moon every night, and sometimes Waldie stays Wolfie in the daylight, and sometimes not. ''''¯\_(ツ)_/¯'''' He seems to get the girl at the end until OH NO HE GETS ATTACKED BY A YETI. Falling asleep, I fast-forwarded through that climactic struggle.

The violence isn't violent. The sexiness isn't sexy. The horror isn't horrifying. The yeti isn't a yeti. And more thought went into this paragraph than into TWATY's script.

Verdict - Bad.



At least Westland casks 274 and 187 improved the experience! But there's a catch. I originally matched them up because Westland's archives said they were both over 60%abv. Except the archive was wrong. Cask 274 is actually 54.95%abv. So I'm really comparing these casks because they're both Binny's picks.


Westland 2 year old 2012, cask 274 for Binny's

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 33 Months
Mashbill: The five-malt mix
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: New American Oak
Release: Spring 2015
Outturn: 206 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 54.95%

NEAT

Nose = bourbon. Lots of vanilla and barrel char. Then lots of barrel char and vanilla. Then applesauce on a new carpet, and maybe some dunder? Caramel chews and hard toffee lead the palate. Some plastic bottle brandy notes heat up the middle. Malt, herbal bitterness, and dunder stay in the background. It finishes with vanilla, malt, and Mt. Gay rum.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or < 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

Oak spice takes over the nose as the vanilla and barrel char move to the background. The palate reads more complex than the nose, with vanilla, malt, chocolate, mint, and citrus. It finishes with vanilla and mint.

WORDS WORDS WORDS

Westland's gone bourbon here, sort of. It was an odd experience until I stopped insisting the brown liquid was a single malt and just considered it on its own terms. Perhaps cask 274 would do wonders in bourbon-based or rum-based cocktails. Or just on the rocks. At least it was better than the movie.

Rating - 78



Westland 3 year old 2012, cask 187 for Binny's

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 36 Months
Mashbill: Washington Select Pale Malt
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel
Release: April 2015
Outturn: 179 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 63.05%

NEAT

Oh, this is a whiskey of a different color. Floral esters, plantain, papaya, and cardamom swirl around the nose, with barley and brine in the back. The palate has a bright floral fruitiness, with apples, apricots, and citrons on top of cinnamon and cardamom. It finishes with citrons, tart apples, and a dollop of molasses.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or < 2¼ tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

The crisp, clean nose is all barley, honey, lime, and those floral esters. Barley, witbier, tart citrus, and a sprinkle of brown sugar fill the palate. Its finish nearly mirrors the palate with just a little more tartness.

WORDS WORDS WORDS

A lovely raw whiskey. When Westland gets it right, they really get it right. With this barely-legal fruity-fruit style, they're like Chichibu's Western mate. In cask 187, the Washington malt, gentle barrel, and careful cask management have to be the main factors, because the same yeast and fermentation times have been used on all the casks in this series so far, but this one's style is its own. If you possess a bottle from this cask, beware how easily it drinks at this mammoth strength. You're bound to fall in love and down the stairs in no time.

Rating - 89

No contest here. Cask 187 won the night, and the week.

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