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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Westland single malt, cask 3204

Yesterday's Westland and today's Westland were both matured for 45 months (oops, this one was 46 months), but the similarities end there. The malts are different, as are the casks' sizes and previous contents. Also, for what it's worth the ownership had changed between their releases.

Cask 3204 is a peater from a first fill oloroso hoggie. Many scotch whisky distilleries have been cranking out big peat + big sherry combos recently – because each of those elements sell – seemingly without consideration that those two characters often don't play well together. Lemme try Westland's stab at it.

CARPET.
I should have just done a selfie.
Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 46 months
MashbillHeavily Peated Malt
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: "First-fill Oloroso Hogshead"
Cask #: 3204
Release: September 2019
Outturn: 250 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 60%
(from a bottle split)

NEAT
Kilchoman? Seriously, the nose. It starts out all salty seaweedy peat and dark scary smoke. No generic raisin notes (hooray!). A raspberry treat and maybe some blueberry jam? Lime zest and band-aids. Massive kiln notes lead the palate. I wrote, "Gigundous peating". The sherry is very reserved, and may be contributing to a nice salty/savory aspect that expands with time. Also some fresh chiles, cayenne and white fruits. It finishes savory, smoky and salty, with a dose of good hot sauce and a figgy hint in the background.

I guess I should add water. For science.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or >1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Funkier peat in the nose, more moss and seaweed. The fig notes now shows up here, with some cocoa powder and honey mustard. The palate becomes earthier, bitterer. Extra extra dark chocolate. Peat and limes. More limes in the finish too. It's still very smoky and mossy, with just a whiff of sweet sherry.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
NEAT. I mean, yeah, you can add water. But NEAT. The sherry cask was gracious in defeat, adding small secondary notes when called upon. And yet the whisky is not a palate-killer. The standard Sherry Wood and American Oak expressions were still easily read after consuming 3204. But cask 606 got pantsed.

Though I referenced Kilchoman above, there's also something Ardbeggish about 3204 as well. Yet I like 3204 better than either distillery's current sherried things. It's less raw, and yet there's less cask influence. I hope Westland can continue this level of quality as they start to use more locally-sourced peated malt. In the meantime, cask 3204 is a success.

Availability - A distillery-only release, don't know its status...
Pricing - ???
Rating - 89 (NEAT)

2 comments:

  1. Dang, wish I had known about this one.

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    Replies
    1. Me too! I'll be making annual trips to Seattle (for family, not whisky, purposes) going forward, so I hope to grab a distillery-only single cask when $$$ permits.

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