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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Westland single malt, cask 177

I know you're asking, How deep can a Westland man stan? Everyone has his/her/their limits. Por ejemplo...

The next pair of Westlands I'm comparing were both 45 months old. Today's whisky (177) was from a 1st-fill bourbon barrel, tomorrow's (3204) from a 1st-fill Oloroso hogshead. The former came from Washington Pale Malt, the latter from heavily-peated sourced malt. They were released three years apart.

Released four years ago, during the distillery's indie phase, cask 177 has lightest color and has the most straightforward production of the six Westlands I'm reviewing, so I'm much intrigued.

Unintentionally the ugliest background I could possibly find
Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 45 months
Mashbill: Washington Pale Malt
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: "1st Fill Ex-Bourbon"
Cask #: 177
Release: December 2015
Outturn: 176 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 59.3%
(from a bottle split)

The nose is very scotch-y. Oranges, citronella, hot plastic, some oceanic hints. Feels a bit closed. Dried thyme. Gravel. The HOT palate eeks out some oak spice, salt, some mild nutty barley. Feels a bit closed. Faint vanilla and butterscotch. Nothing but heat, salt and vanilla in the finish.

Feels a bit closed.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose still hews close to bourbon cask Speyside. More fruit in the mix: apples, pears and lychee. Less gravel, more dried herbs. A pear note arises in the palate, reminiscent of Glenfiddich but with some actual eau de vie added. Some tannins, acidic notes. Not much else. It finishes with heat, salt and tannins.

More water, like enough to make Ralfy nod in approval.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or 1 tbl of water per 30mL whisky
It still noses well. Pears, roses and citronella. The palate gets a little sweeter, brighter. Vanilla and florals. The finish reads like one of the basic Glens.

The palate was very inexpressive for a Westland. I know my palate was not the problem because I sipped some of the regular range just to be certain. (Also, its sparring partner did not have this issue.) The good news for some folks is that this indeed the closest to "Scotch" of any Westland I've had, though with the volume turned down. The 30-month-old cask 606 was sunshine compared to this. Was that due to the cask, or the malt varieties? Why not both. Meanwhile, I'd take the the distillery's silkier, nuttier American expression over this as well.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 77

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