...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Westland Week ends

As of late 2015, I ranked Westland's core range as follows:

1. Sherry Wood
2. Peated
3. American Single Malt

Sherry Wood and Peated were the two I had considered purchasing.

Four years later, after a corporate buyout, an increased age statement and one name change, the core trio is ranked as follows:

1. Peated
2. American Oak
3. Sherry Wood

Peated and American Oak are the only two I would consider purchasing.

The Sherry Wood went from a balanced somewhat-complex whiskey to a lumpy oaky yet sort of raw Craft Whiskey. The "American" improved a little bit, actually showing less oak than the Sherry Wood. The peated expression held its strengths, and possibly improved, over the years.

But you may notice I used the words "considered" and "consider" when it comes to actually buying a 750mL bottle. Westland's prices have always been steep. For years they were 2 year old whiskies selling for $70-$75. Even though they're 3 years old, $70 still seems bloated. I'm not sure what audience they're aiming for. Bourbon geeks will spend that amount of money on a bottle, but only when it's 10+ years old or extra limited or flippable. Casual bourbon drinkers (which is almost all of the market) can still get quality brown likker for less than $40. Scotch fiends will spend $70 on a 3-year-old bottle, but only if the brand lies to us really well in a Scottish accent while bestowing a Gaelic name upon the whisky. So who's left? I understand single malts are more expensive to produce than other whiskies, and that Westland hasn't cut corners, historically. But how does the company grow their business at these prices?

I may get a bottle of the Peated malt if I can find it for under $70 (with shipping, because Ohio). Otherwise, if I were to recommend anything it would be the 3-pack. It's a great way to test the whole range out, and 200mL is a lot more fun than a mini (says the man with many minis).

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