Portland, Oregon’s Westward Whiskey just lately unveiled its first whiskey for 2023 for its Whiskey Membership members, an expression of its single malt which has been completed for 14 months in French Sauternes dessert wine casks. This restricted version received’t be extensively obtainable, however at press time it’s nonetheless exhibiting up on Westward’s web site — so price a shot if you wish to nab one.
Sauternes ending can have a profound impression on a whiskey, however right here I really feel the underlying malt nonetheless does extra of the heavy lifting. There’s (surprisingly) instantly loads in widespread right here with Westward’s stout-finished whiskey, wealthy on the nostril with aromas of malt balls, floral hops, clover honey, and almond nougat. Complicated from the beginning, it opens up additional because it will get some air, including a pointy, nearly overripe fruit ingredient to the combination, plus a touch of salinity.
The palate goes in a barely completely different route, a Bit-O-Honey sweet character dropping instantly as issues construct to a extra fruity physique: figs, spring peaches, ginger, after which a transparent banana word. The honey endures and retains the underlying cereal character at bay for probably the most half, growing a end reminscent of pastry cream dusted with grated lemon peel. With extra airtime, a reasonably heavy baking spice character emerges, lingering nicely into the denouement.
There’s loads happening right here — and it’s a whiskey that rewards persistence — although I by no means actually received the essence of Sauternes within the expertise, apart after all from the honey parts that present themselves all through. Nonetheless, it’s positively price making an attempt based mostly on its exuberance alone — must you handle to attain a bottle, or a dram.
B+ / $100 / westwardwhiskey.com
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