Review: Westward Single Malts – Stout Cask and Pinot Noir Cask
It’s been far too many years since we’ve revisited the offerings of Westward American Single Malt Whiskey, formerly bottled under the House Spirits brand in Portland, Oregon. (Once things open up again, it’s a great place to visit and taste.) Westward’s stout-finished whiskey was in its infancy when we last visited in 2018, and now it’s hit the market in force. Today we look at this unique offering alongside a rare Pinot Noir-finished whiskey from the distillery, of which two casks were made, all of which are being sold exclusively through Flaviar.
Let’s dig in. Both are 90 proof.
Westward American Single Malt Oregon Stout Cask – Westward’s single malt, finished for an extra year in emptied Westward whiskey barrels that were seasoned with stout and returned to Westward. Clear stout notes give the nose an immediate richness, with elements of oatmeal and chocolate sauce layered atop the barley-heavy base. I get notes of coconut flesh, nougat, and chocolate on the immersive palate, which showcases a creamy body and a gentle, simmering spiciness that melds well with the quiet cereal character. Westward’s rack single malt can be quite fruity, but the stout barrel tempers it with a more dessert-like quality, layered with notes of gingerbread, mesquite, and cloves. Lovely, lively, and fun — worth exploring for the long haul. A- / $83 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Westward American Single Malt Oregon Pinot Noir Cask – Flaviar Exclusive – Aged for four years and three months in bourbon barrels before finishing for two years in two French oak casks previously used to aged Suzor Wines’ Oregon Pinot Noir. This kicks off with a nice combination of flavors: A surprisingly full-bodied blend of red fruit and toasted grain on the nose, with notes of mulling spices in the mix. The palate is bold with chewy malt notes that segue from there into notes of dark chocolate, almond brittle, brown sugar, and more spice notes, here coming across as toasted and rather savory on the finish. The leathery conclusion isn’t as clearly wine-forward as the attack, but it’s nonetheless well balanced and engaging throughout — though not as complex as the Stout Cask bottling. 745 bottles produced. B+ / $90 [BUY IT NOW FROM FLAVIAR]