*Sincere thanks to Westland Distillery for the sample.
Along with their American Single Malt and their Peated American Single Malt, Westland Distillery’s Sherry Wood American Single Malt Whiskey makes up what is currently the core range for this Seattle distillery. The Sherry Wood is made from six different malts: Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, Brown Malt, and…Peated Malt, according to their website. I’m gonna tell you right now, that I didn’t detect anything near peat when tasting this, so I’m guessing the percentage of peated malt used was used quite small. This expression was matured for 26 long Pacific Northwest months is a combination of ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximénez casks (probably American Oak), ex-Bourbon casks, and heavily charred new American Oak casks.
The Nose: Very malty and sweet with orange blossom honey, sweetened cereal, and just a touch of maple extract. Nice fruit notes of caramel apple, plump golden raisins, and chocolate-covered cherries (does that qualify as a fruit?) as well. There’s a bit of dulce de leche ice cream and a subtle hint of eggy rice pudding with more raisins. Very faint oak notes and gentle cinnamon and candied ginger.
The Palate: As with nose, initially there’s lots of grain and honey sweetness along with juicy fruit notes of apple and tropical fruits. There are raisins here as well, but now they’re tucked heavily into some spiced fruitcake. There’s a hint of chocolate brownies with salted nuts behind that sweetness. The oak is more prevalent and tannic, there’s that candied ginger as well along with more cinnamon and a touch of clove.
The Finish: Medium-ish with a honeyed, raisin-y sweetness, a ginger-y zing and cherry sap-like bit of tannic wood.
Thoughts: Another impressive young single malt from Westland. There are youthful edges, yes, but there’s also a lot of complexity and a very nice balance of distillate character and maturation. The sherry influence is integrated surprisingly well for its age, and lends just the right amount of faintly earthy fruit and spice to the mix. In contrast to the Single Malt, the Sherry Wood comes off a little smoother, rounder, less spirit driven, more wood influenced…just as it’s supposed to, I guess. As I’ve said with the other Westland’s I’ve reviewed, this one’s both fully realized and full of promise. This is American “craft” whiskey done right.