After six years of special releases, Westland Peat Week should need no introduction, but we’ll give it one all the same. Peat Weak is a special annual release from the Seattle distillery that, like Balvenie, is made for only one week out of the year. Again, Westland makes peated whiskey all the time, but Peat Week is a special edition with its own barrel regimen, and it changes every year.
Westland Peat Week 2020 is made with Baird’s heavily peated malt and is matured in a French Oak puncheon (a first for Westland) for 50 months — a single cask release that yielded just 580 bottles at cask strength. Per the company, “This year’s release boasts a single vision, a single cask, and a single opportunity to bask in the smoke.”
The very high abv alone makes Peat Week 2020 a unique experience in comparison to older releases. It’s aggressive on the nose, boozy and peaty with more of a burly, barbecued meat quality than a briny seaside one. Notes of overripe berries and eucalyptus add some intrigue and play the foil to the smoky attack.
On the palate, bacon fat leads the way into a body dense with mesquite smoke and plenty of those overripe berries hinted at on the nose. Adding water sounds like a fine idea, but this surprisingly doesn’t let the fruit shine, dulling those elements down instead and leaving a distinctly ashy quality in their wake. The finish lies flat and rather heavy with creosote notes.
Oh well, there’s always next year!
120.8 proof. 580 bottles produced.
B / $100 / westlanddistillery.com