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Monday, December 23, 2019

Westland single malt, cask 606

I'm closing out the year with six consecutive Westland single malt reviews. Not sure how exactly, but the posts will be posted. So prepare thyself.

Though I reviewed the regular range in October, it's the single cask medium wherein Westland shines brightest. I recently jumped in on six different bottle splits so I could survey the expanse of their uncut whiskies, then I tasted them in pairs in order to compare and contrast.

First up is cask 606 (release 58). It's a baby at only 30 months, made with their oft-used five barley mash bill: Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt and Brown Malt. (See below for more details.) Like its sparring partner, which is being reviewed tomorrow, this whiskey spent its entire short life in new American oak.

Distillery: Westland
Region: Seattle, Washington
Age: 30 months
MashbillFive malted barley strains
Yeast: Belgian Saison Brewer’s Yeast
Fermentation: 144 hours
Maturation: new American oak
Cask #: 606
Release: February 2016
Outturn: 218 bottles
Alcohol by volume: 57.8%
(from a bottle split)

The nose begins with a light combination of white and citrus fruits, along with the chocolate-mocha note that often appears in their American Single Malt expression. Some mild notes of ginger powder and fruity cinnamon float about. With time the whiskey gains subtle band-aid and ocean/brine notes. Very little burn considering its strength and youth. The palate is very similar to the nose, with its mocha and ginger. It's also very toasty (oak and barley), and has highlights of grapefruit and bitter herbal liqueurs. Mocha makes up most of the long finish, along with toasted almonds, lemon juice and bitter herbs.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL of whiskey
Quite a shift in the nose. White chocolate, unsweetened breakfast cereal (toasted nuts and grains), guava juice, grass and brine. The palate has become simpler. Barley, ginger, a sweet creaminess and a tiny bit of bitterness. Mocha, ginger and bitter cocoa in the finish.

This is a burlier, bolder take on their American expression. Unless it's my imagination, the Pale Chocolate and Brown malts seize the main stage here, while something else has summoned a refreshing herbal bitterness. One begins to wonder, as one noses and sips this 2.5 year old thing, matured in the state of Washington, how it is so much more complex and complete than a scotch at 4x its age. Is it the brewer's yeast? Is it higher quality barley? It's not the new oak, as we shall see in the upcoming reviews.

Availability - probably sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85 (preferred neat)