Besides being a big whisk(e)y nerd, I am also a total craft beer fan. Against this background, it should come as no surprise that I completely fell for Westward Whiskey’s unconventional approach to distilling: Their American Single Malt Whiskey is being made at House Spirits Distillery by a skilled crew of whiskey makers with a rich craft beer background. When they traversed from the world of ales into the world of spirits, they decided to honor their roots and carry a bit of brewing with them. Thus, they now begin their whiskey making process by creating a genuine (albeit unhopped) American pale ale. In a next step, they double-distill it in their custom-made copper pot stills. And then they lay the spirit to rest in new American oak barrels for at least three years. The folks at House Spirits Distillery have deliberately chosen a not-too-long maturation time for their American Single Malt Whiskey. This is to ensure that the craft beer influence will not get overshadowed in the final product by the powerful force of wood and time. To be honest, I would not have been able to re-tell Westward American Single Malt Whiskey’s unique origin story based on my tasting experience alone. Yet, there are a few things I can say: The whiskey is different. The whiskey is exciting. The whiskey is great! And – due to the many similarities maybe – it pairs extremely well with a cold, fresh pale ale. Cheers, cheers!
Eye: Shining hazelnut wood.
Nose: Sweet, savory and almost sticky – the first sniff is all about thick, drippy maple syrup. Bit by bit, additional scents join in: candied apples, cooked plums, crunchy brittle and noissette chocolate. Another prominent note is that of creme brulee with a freshly cut strawberry on top. All of these sensations are densly entangled to form a weighty, expressive bouquet.
Palate: On the viscosity scale, the whiskey clocks in at “full and heavy”. It brims with vanilla, toffee, cake, nuts, cream and Bounty bars. These chewy treats are contrasted by some bitterish wood and – way down below – some fresh apples. Also some plums and just a wee bit of modeling clay. On the one hand, Westward American Single Malt Whiskey offers quite a bit of diversity; on the other hand it is easily approachable. A fun combination!
Finish: The good, yummy finish provides a variety of sweet notes (almond creme, cookie dough, porridge with apple puree) alongside a splash of cappuchino and some mixed spices. When the sweetness has mostly faded, the soft whispers of yellow plums and other light fruits still remain.
Type: Single Malt American Whisky
Region: USA (Oregon)
Alc. volume: 45 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~70.00 Euro
More info: https://westwardwhiskey.com/ (Distillery) ; https://kirschwhisky.de/ (Distributor)
*** Whiskey bottle kindly provided by Kirsch Import. ***