Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by BRAND. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Westland Distillery, located in Seattle, Washington, began its journey in 2010, focusing on Pacific Northwest single malt whiskey. Since Remy-Cointreau acquired the distillery in 2017, things have been changing. Westland is phasing out their Heritage range offerings of American Oak, Peated, and Sherry Wood, and most recently decided to shake up their core range.
While the change is dramatic, Westland Distillery notes, “it’s really just a pragmatic evolution after 10 years establishing itself as a leader in the American Single Malt Whiskey category.” Their original single malt isn’t off-limits either. Westland debuted a new Flagship American Single Malt earlier this year still using a 5-malt barley bill and new oak maturation. It gives a chance for the distillery to pull from their expanding inventory giving depth to an entry-point offering.
The Westland Flagship American Single Malt does use peat, but the whiskey isn’t necessarily peaty like their Peat Week expressions, which are comparable to a Laphroaig or Ardbeg. If you are a fan of Westland’s peatier whiskies, then you should find them before they disappear off the shelves forever. It’s part of the drastic change to the distillery maintaining sustainable practices and making their whisky as local as possible. Westland is even working on establishing a Washington peat bog.
I know every whiskey drinker has their favorites, and as a collective, we seem to resist change. If Westland is your favorite brand, don’t fret. Hopefully, I can set your mind at ease.
Tasting Notes: Westland Flagship American Single Malt
Vital Stats: 46% ABV; 92 proof. An American single malt matured for at least a minimum of 40 months. Grain bill: Washington select pale malt, Munich malt, extra special malt, pale chocolate malt, brown malt, Baird’s heavily peated malt. Cask types: Cooper’s reserve new American oak, cooper’s reserve used American oak, first fill ex-bourbon, first fill ex-oloroso hogsheads and butts, second fill ex-oloroso hogsheads and butts. 750ml $59.99. Seattle, Washington.
Appearance: Burnished brass
Nose: Seville orange greets the nose with a mix of grain like a scone. The whiskey is fruit-forward with an underlying layer of baking spices. The nose is fairly mellow and a bit lackluster, however, it is reminiscent of a classic single malt. Once it opens up a little more, vanilla and brown sugar add some sweetness.
Palate: The mouthfeel is light and peppery. It mostly tastes like cereal with a faint smokiness. There is some dried orange peel to it, but it is more floral than fruity. Overall, the whiskey is mellow and does not have much going for it. It comes off a bit tannic like tea. At the finish, some walnut is revealed.
The Westland Flagship American Single Malt is quite simply a Pacific Northwest classic. At the same time, I just wasn’t wowed by it. Maybe it’s too many barrels in the blend because oak and grain are all I seem to taste. Westland Distillery still hasn’t lost this fan, though.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...