Portland’s Westward Whiskey — nee House Spirits — has recently added a new whiskey to its permanent lineup, the fourth expression now on offer. Westward Single Malt Cask Strength is a full-proof expression of its original American Single Malt, which we last reviewed under its old House Spirits branding (a two year old whiskey at the time).
Let’s dive in.
This is high-test American single malt in all its glory. Notes of wet saddle, hemp rope, and green grass are all lively on the nose, punctuated with notes of spice box and tobacco. There’s lots of wood here, but it’s not overbearing — though it feels like another year in a new oak barrel might be too much for the delicate malt to handle. The palate offers more to think about: while racy on the tongue thanks to its 62.5% abv, it’s laden with notes of stewed fruits and spicy black pepper before eventually falling back on an intensely malt-driven backbone, elements of sesame seed and toasted almonds lingering forever. The heat sticks with you: It’s a whiskey that can stand some water, though the brave needn’t bother.