Whiskey Review: Westward Whiskey

, | February 8, 2016

Westward WhiskeyEditor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.

I’m not a sports fan, but when it comes to my booze, I want to root for our home team. Luckily, living in Portland, Oregon, with all its food and drink delights, this is rarely a challenge. One of our hometown distillers, House Spirits, recently set up shop in a new and expansive location in Southeast Portland, and their Westward Whiskey is all the better for it.

I like my drink like I like my food: Clean, unadulterated, without a lot of sauces to muck it up. When I go for sushi, I want to taste the fish, not the crunchies in the roll or the spicy sauce. To me, the grossest thing is a fresh and crisp salad buried at the bottom of an ocean of dressing.

Thankfully, Westward complies. Made from 100 percent malted barley that is locally sourced from the Pacific Northwest, it is fermented with ale yeasts for five to six days, unlike many whiskies, which are only fermented for half that time.

According to House Spirits’ founder, Christian Krogstad, this leads to a very clean and wholesome ferment so they don’t need to do a lot of processing down the road to remove any objectionable flavors that may develop. The whiskey, double pot stilled, is aged for upwards of two years two-char American oak barrels before being bottled at 90 proof.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: An enticing bronze-orange

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Nose: Clean and soft, with apples and a touch of vanilla

Palate: That subtle, clean apple scent follows through on the palate before a spicy, peppercorn-inflected finish, but it’s not too much.

Finish: Lingering but finishes cleanly.


Westward isn’t looking to be a superlative whiskey in the “-est” sense. They don’t want to be the driest, sweetest, fiery-est product. They want something that’s smooth and elegant, something that stands on its own. I liked the modernity of it—it’s whiskey, but it’s fresh and modern, the brown liquor equivalent of a perfectly furnished loft apartment. The price point—about $50 for 350 ml—means that you’re probably not going to want to glug this into a whiskey sour, but rather to sip on its own, enjoying the flavor of a true quality product.


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Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor...