Review: Westland Outpost Range – Garryana 8 (2023) and Solum 2 (2024)

Review: Westland Outpost Range – Garryana 8 (2023) and Solum 2 (2024)

Seattle’s Westland Distilling continues to iterate its special edition single malt whiskeys, annual releases of Garryana, Colere, and now Solum, which just hit its second release. We missed 2022’s Garryana bottling and the inaugural Solum release, so we’re picking things up here with our look at the latest Garry and our first spin with Solum.

Incidentally, the environmentally focused Westland just achieved B Corp status, reflecting its hard efforts put into sustainability.

Details, and thoughts, follow.

Westland Outpost Range – Garryana American Single Malt Whiskey Edition 8 (2023) – Release 8 (the X|1 naming convention has been dropped) of Garryana departs from its usual M.O. by branching out into a wide range of casks outside of new oak and first fill bourbon casks. This year’s release features virgin Quercus Garryana wood alongside first fill bourbon barrels, Pedro Ximenez sherry butts, and casks that previously held Washington State Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all matured for a minimum of 4 years. The portion of each cask type is not specified this year, but either way that’s a much more complicated construction than earlier releases, and it shows on the finished product.

The PX sherry is prominent, with a boldly leathery quality that evokes a mix of prunes, spices, and fresh, oily wood. The raciness of the sherry casks melds in an unusual way with the aggressiveness of the virgin wood in the mix, making for a unique — and engaging start to the experience. On the palate, these flavors are even more aggressive, doubled down on heavy, oxidized PX and folding in additional notes of licorice, pepper, and heavier spice notes, followed by a spritz of expressed lemon oil. Very nutty, enduring into the toasty, weighty finish. I liked a little water with this to temper some of the heavier notes and help things coalesce a bit, showcasing the bready malt more clearly on the finish, but you can get by without it. 100 proof. B+ / $150 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Westland Outpost Range – Solum American Single Malt Whiskey Edition 2 (2024) – Solum is Westland’s exploration of using peat in American single malt, which is fairly new territory. It’s aged for 53 months in Cooper’s Reserve new American oak (43%), Cooper’s Select new American oak (14%), and first fill bourbon casks (43%).

The peat influence here is restrained and quiet; those expecting an American rendition of Islay will be surprised and/or disappointed. That aside, it works really well: The subtly smoky nose layers gentle notes of pipe tobacco over well-toasted grains, notes of dark chocolate, and sandalwood, with echoes of floral notes in the background. It’s a quiet introduction, but the palate is considerably sweeter and more immersive, with notes of brown sugar, caramelized pineapple, vanilla custard, and an edge of lemon. Paired with touches of smoke, it’s hard to place, those tropical notes clinging to the sides of the mouth for ages. Somehow the two elements — fruity sweetness and sultry peat smoke — come together to find a happy median with significant time in glass; this is a whiskey to pour and walk away from for an hour before you even stick your nose in it. The evolution is quite a surprise, and worth the wait. The experience concludes with a final punch of candied pineapple garnished with a pinch of smoked salt. I’m ready for another. 100 proof. A / $145

westlanddistillery.com

Westland Outpost Range - Garryana American Single Malt Whiskey Edition 8 (2023)

$150
8.5

Rating

8.5/10

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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