Nose: The first impression is of a rich nuttiness—toasted walnuts and hazelnuts—as well as a pleasant, powdery sweetness. Further nosing reveals some deeper, darker aromas like espresso, dried chili, and prune.
Palate: Chocolate chip banana bread leads off—seemingly a signature note for Westland— topped with lashings of sweet vanilla cream. Yet any pretensions towards pastry are quickly usurped by a firm wave of oak, ushering in a compressed mid-palate that takes a few tastings to loosen. It’s worth the time invested, though, revealing a lovely interplay of black pepper, cinnamon, and clove with lots of roasty malt, baker’s chocolate, and molasses. In the finish, a ghostly sweetness flirts with a curious metallic flavor that almost reads as sanguine.
Take Away: Spicy, dark, and complex, this is a fascinating whiskey, with a very distinctive oak profile. Many people say Oregon oak has a particularly intense expression of tannin, and that’s definitely noticeable here, although Westland’s light hand with the Garry oak goes a long way towards helping that tannin express itself in an interesting and delicious way, rather than a mouth full of cotton balls. Very enjoyable, and a must for cooperage nerds.