A Single Cask Exclusive One of America’s Most Innovative Distilleries at K&L California – American Whiskey News

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A Single Cask Exclusive One of America’s Most Innovative Distilleries
Westward “Single Barrel #B-236-11” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey ($99.99)
“Certainly one of the most exciting products we have in the store right now.”
—David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

The wait is over! We’ve finally received our single cask exclusive from Westward, and it is every bit as delicious as we hoped. As our SoCal Spirits Buyer, David Othenin-Girard puts it, “This insane cask of eight-year-old Single Malt bottled at full strength is one of the most interesting things we’ve ever put into the bottle.” Westward’s commitment to producing a truly singular malt whiskey has resulted in a bottling that can only be described as transcendent. Innovative distilling practices coupled with carefully selected grains are but two of the key elements that make this whiskey so special. As the tasting notes below will attest, this single barrel is about as richly textured and dynamic as they come. Malt, oolong tea, caramel, roasted nuts, and peppercorns are but a few of the seemingly endless waves of flavors this bottling delivers. Yes, it is bottled at cask strength, but you could almost never tell given its perfect balance. It’s not hard to argue that it is one of the most compelling single malts on the market today. Based on the exceptional quality of this spirit along with its rarity, we expect it will fly off our shelves. Don’t miss out on one of the most exciting products we’ve introduced this year.

Westward “Single Barrel #B-236-11” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml) ($99.99)

We selected this excellent cask of Westward Single Malt way back in 2018. They’ve been one of the most consistently good and innovative producers of single malt in the modern era of craft distillation. While the fabulous House Spirits Distillery was made famous for its now-ubiquitous Aviation Gin, it is the single malt that truly drives the operation. The new larger facility opened in 2015 and has allowed House to expand single malt production. Malt now represents the majority of production and the distillery is clearly in the top tier of craft whiskey producers in the U.S. Westward does things a bit differently and is focused on creating a truly unique American single malt without losing sight of the main goal—making it delicious. The whisky starts with locally grown two-row barley milled and cooked, but unlike most single malt, Westward incorporates a boil to inoculate from the growth of Lactobacillus and other unwanted critters. This technique is almost exclusively used in beer production. Next, a powerfully flavored ale yeast goes to town on the rich sugary wash. Double distilled in pots and filled into new #2 char, 36-month air-cured American oak, this is a craft whiskey with the soul of craft beer. This specific cask was distilled way back in 2013 and bottled at the end of 2018, making it the oldest single barrel that Westward has every bottled. Bottled at cask strength without any chill filtration, the ultra-high proof is dangerously deceptive. Big, bold, malty flavors mesh perfectly with the rich, sweet, and spicy oak.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 11, 2019

I visited Portland back in the summer of 2018 and was totally blown away by the scale with which House Spirits has committed to its Westward Single Malt. These guys are distilling lots of great whiskey and while other brands constantly release special editions, new expressions, and one offs, Westward has devoted itself to one singular product. The results are in the bottle, but I finally convinced the team that the world wanted more! After a year of waiting, we finally have it. This insane cask of eight-year-old single malt bottled at full strength is one of the most interesting things we’ve ever put into the bottle. I’ve always been worried about how older American single malt would handle the oak, but this cask proves there’s no limit to the amount of age when you start with a robust flavor spirit. On first nosing, you’re overwhelmed by deep, dark chocolate maltiness. Powerful aromas of roasted hazelnuts, grilled peach, red fruit compote, exotic honey, woodsy underbrush, and zesty citrus peel. On the palate it’s pure malt framed by dark tea, sweet caramel, and powerful spice. But add a few splashes of water and you’ve got something much more supple and quaffable. Now we move into the gorgeous orchard fruit, honeysuckle, nougat, cracked pepper, and subtle herbal undertones. The palate continues with the bright malt, stones fruits, and some pepper, but finishes long and warming, like a glass of sweet barley tea. I’ve rarely come across craft single malt this complex and put together. The style is the perfect balance between the bold malt flavors and the heady woodsy aromatics that an American whiskey drinker might love. I don’t know if I’d call this a crossover whiskey because it just feels like it should inherently appeal to anyone, but it’s certainly one of the most exciting products we have in the store right now.

Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 25, 2019

So often when we taste in a professional setting we try our best to break things down into qualities that readers can identify, interpret, and evaluate with relative ease. This, however, is one of those rare occasions where a spirit bucks conventional characterization, as it is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Truthfully, I tasted this four times before writing, and each time I got a different impression; there is so much going on here. Sweet, crunchy grain; savory dough and marzipan; plum and cherry; tons of spice; and sweet caramel with a touch of fudge, all wrapped up in a taut, fiery expression of young but astoundingly complex malt. Candied almonds and chamomile in the mid-palate arrive suddenly at a snappy, savory, spicy finish that lingers with dark, brooding chocolate, and toasted oak. With enough water to cut the proof, suddenly it feels like a much tamer beast: salty pralines, banana, and peach cobbler purr softly, with some of the heat replaced by nutmeg and allspice. Either way you sample it, this is delicious, and definitely worthy of multiple revisits.

Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 23, 2019

American whiskey is one of the most exciting products in today’s beverage scene and has grown well beyond its original roots in the deep south. The Westward whiskeys represent the cutting edge of what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest. Our spirits team secured another K&L exclusive with this eight-year-old single malt. It’s an assertive little number, but with a splash of spring water, you can tame this robust libation and enjoy the purity of cask-strength American whiskey. The nose is amazingly complex, bursting forth like a fire hydrant with cocoa, nuts, caramel, flowers, pepper, and herbs. With just the right amount of water, to your taste, you can enjoy the palate’s interpretation of one of the most interesting and compelling domestic whiskeys I’ve tried in quite some time. This is just one more example of why K&L has one of the most dynamic spirits programs in the U.S.

Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 16, 2019

The nose is full of caramel and orange rind, with some stone fruit in the background. On the palate for me…OK, I had to add some water to this; 131 proof was a bit too powerful for my delicate palate! But then a lot more intrigue emerged; more honeyed than caramel character came forward with some elderflower. A powerful, decisive spirit with real depth and persistence.


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