Another one of those long titles for a simple review. I have to admit I had never heard of this distillery before my whisky buddy Shai sent me this sample. Not hearing of the distillery automatically means never hearing about the whiskey either. I even had to look up what Straight Malt Whiskey meant.
In this case, it’s a Malt Whiskey. Just like Scottish Single Malt, but just two years old. I find these indicators in the USA rather confusing, since in this case they could have called it single malt. The straight indicator is used similarly to bourbon, since it’s two years old.
The distillery is located in Portland, Oregon, smack in the middle of American Suburbia. I wish we had more distilleries in cities like this. Or at least, in my vicinity like in Zaandam, or Alkmaar or so. It would be even better if they actually made some good stuff there, but let’s keep the wishful thinking for another time and see what those folks in Portland are up to.
It’s very gentle, with soft oak notes on the nose. Quite a bit of vanilla too. No surprises so far. Some cinnamon and clove for spices, and behind that you get a whiff of the raw spirit. It’s very smooth, but not completely tamed. I have to admit, so far, so good, it’s better than I expected / hoped for.
The palate is dry and slightly peppery with crushed black pepper. It’s sharper than I expected with a bit of character. Thick syrupy sugars and vanilla. Some spices again, the cinnamon and clove. Maybe some dried ginger too. The vanilla is almost custard-like but never overpowering. The pepper keeps building up and getting more intense.
Rather oaky again, more so than on the palate. The spices are still here, and there’s a slight burn in my throat, but in a good, masculin way. The finish isn’t too long but the stickiness remains longer than the flavours.
I love tasting whiskies like this. It’s reminiscent of a Scotch, but also has some American bits, like the oakiness and big vanilla notes. And, in this case, contrary to a lot of those really young distilleries and whiskeys, this isn’t all bad. I actually quite like it, although it’s a fairly simple dram.
But, compared to some others I’ve tried that were this young, this is recommendable. Getting back to me wanting more distilleries around, if a local still house produced stuff like this around here, I’d be a fan. Now, since it’s small batches and from across the world, it’d be way too expensive to get hold of here. But, still, if you’re in the area there, go try it out!
Westward Whiskey, 2yo, Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey, 45% – House Spirits Distillery. When in the USA, it should be available around € 35 / $ 46
Thanks for the sample, Shai!