Westland’s New Outpost Range Highlights American Single Malt Possibilities

Westland Distillery, founded in Seattle, Washington back in 2010 and acquired by spirits giant Remy-Cointreau in 2017, has focused its entire existence on producing American single malt whiskey. Outside of its core range, one of its annual limited edition expressions is Garryana, highlighting the usage of Pacific Northwest oak in the aging process. Westland is now expanding upon this, putting Garryana in the new Outpost Range of whiskeys that will explore “a central raw ingredient in single malt whiskey with each name inspired by terroir.”

The new Westland Outpost Range, according to those behind it, will consist of three expressions, each of which will be released annually. You’ll find more specific details on each below, including tasting notes, from the distillery.

“We’ve been working on these projects, exploring the Pacific Northwest and its bounty, for years,” said Westland Co-Founder Matt Hofmann in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled to be finally introducing the Outpost Range to the world. With all three of these whiskies we step beyond what is known in single malt to pursue new possibilities.

“What we’re finding is beyond exciting and these whiskies stand as outposts on the edge of the unknown.”

Westland Outpost Range

Westland Outpost Range (image via Westland Distillery)

Garryana Edition 5

Garryana (named after the scientific name for the unique oak, Quercus garryana) explores Westland’s native species of Pacific Northwest oak in single malt whiskey. In addition to expressing provenance in whiskey, Garryana is an entirely new species of oak to the world of whiskey, where only a handful of oak species over the course of hundreds of years have been used for aging. To create this whiskey,

Westland built an entire economy for sourcing this rare and protected raw material. Now in its 5th  edition, Garryana stands as a widely acclaimed and anticipated annual release that demonstrates the new possibilities yet to be explored in single malt.

(50% ABV, 750ml, around $150, November 2020 release)

The 5th edition of Garryana has a higher percentage of Garry Oak casks – 36% Virgin Quercus garryana with 64% 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Quercus alba – in the blend than any previous edition. Combined with only peated spirit, it is also the simplest in construction, which belies a depth of character that marries the unique flavors of each to create something altogether new. 

  • Nose: A sweet fragrance of cottonwood serves as the greeting followed by Waffle Crips cereal and rich smoked chocolate notes. 
  • Palate: Signature barbecue notes are front and center. It’s spicy and savory, reminiscent of burnt ends. Along with it are notes of cacao butter, charred maple wood, and clove.

Colere American Single Malt Whiskey

Colere, from a Latin verb meaning “to cultivate,” represents leaving behind the well-trod territory of ubiquitous grains and venturing into the thousands of uncharted barley varietals whose flavor has yet to be considered. This expression represents a reconnection to agriculture for the whiskey industry. In an industry that adheres to the belief that barley doesn’t impact flavor, Westland has worked for years with Washington State University’s Bread Lab, located in the Skagit Valley, local maltsters, and local farmers to develop new varieties of barley that prove otherwise. Westland’s work with these partners prioritize flavor in breeding barley varieties and more sustainable agricultural methods.

In doing so, Westland positions itself as a thought leader in not only global single malt but also the future of agriculture more broadly. To date, they have distilled over 18 different varieties of barley (which is more than the entire Scotch whisky industry combined), and has committed nearly 40% of their annual production to these unique barleys.

(50% ABV, 750ml, around $150, Spring 2021 release)

The first edition of Colere marks a monumental step forward for not just Westland but the whiskey industry as a whole. The first in what will be an ongoing annual inquiry into unique varieties of barley bred outside the commodity system with flavor first as a goal, Colere Edition 1 is made with the varietal that began it all, Alba (a six-row winter barley), and intentionally matured in only used casks – 62% 2nd  Fill ISC Cooper’s Reserve and 38% 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon – to relegate the oak influence to a supporting role and focus the attention on the grain itself. 

  • Nose: Roasted pineapples commingle with a floral character on the nose with Life cereal, grape soda, cookie dough, and roasted almond notes joining. 
  • Palate: The pineapple headlines a fruity palate with original Wheat Thins, black pepper, and fig bar, and gingerbread cake driven by the malt. 

Solum American Single Malt Whiskey

Latin for “soil,” Solum explores local peat in whiskey. Peated whiskey has long been a tradition in single malt, always relying on peat sourced in the U.K. As longtime fans of peated whiskey, Westland has pursued a vision for locally grown barley malted with locally harvested peat for nearly a decade. Since the supply chain for peated malt has never existed in this country, once again Westland built the economy from the ground up.

For years now Westland has been sourcing peat from a bog 90 minutes away from the distillery in Seattle and using it to malt barley in Skagit Valley, allowing them to distill a peated whiskey with true provenance.

This whiskey is planned for release in 2023.