Peated

Review: Westland Distillery Peat Week American Single Malt Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Westland Distillery.

Image courtesy of Westland Distillery.

ABV
~50%
Aging
Various (See Below)
Recipe
100% Heavily Peated Malted Barley
Distiller Westland (Seattle, Washington)

Westland has a peat festival every year where they release a special, limited edition peated whisky focused more heavily on peat than their standard Westland Peated bottling. It is based on a variety of casks, and changes year to year.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A (54.4%; 1500 bottles)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Westland released this limited edition, created from peated Scottish barley, in three different labels, at cask strength of 54.4%, representing the best of big, peated whisky from Westland. It's a blend of distillate 36-56 months old, and a blend of two first-fill ex-bourbon casks and five new american oak barrels. 1500 bottles produced.

Big and smoky – with lots of dry peat, charcoal, vanilla, and a bit funky. Caramel, smoke, banana chips, hay, roasted stem tea, almonds, dark chocolate, beets – leading into a caramel-laden, smoky, oaky, and rich palate including many hints of dried tropical fruit. Pear, The finish has lots of cacao, fruit, caramel, and spices which emerge – clove and white pepper.

I quite like the proof. It’s flavorful and rich without being overpowering. I quite like this, but it’s hard to beat their wonderful single malt.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. It isn’t far from “average”.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: Fifth Annual (50%; 1083 Bottles)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This is another peat week bottling, made from 5 casks - 2 first fill ex-bourbon, 2 ex-westland American oak, and 1 new american oak (Westland’s cooper’s reserve cask). It is matured between 36 and 63 months. The malt is from Bairds in Scotland, peated to 55 PPM.

The nose is peaty, but also very fruity – peach, dried apricot, cranberry jelly – this, however, is more like an Islay whisky than the previous batch I tried. It has a very nice creaminess to the nose, with caramel and maple growing with time. The nose is very nicely balanced between the peat, earthiness, oak, and fruitiness. The mouthfeel is terrific. The palate is sharp and ashy, but then the fruitiness and roasted grain kicks in, in a very Westland-like fashion.  We also have custard, rich and rooty wet earth, macadamias, hazelnuts, cranberry chutney, whole grain porridge, toasted oats – and of course sharp smoke. The finish continues with nuttiness, rich grain character, peat, ripe pear, and light medicinal notes. Very nice!

This edition stands out to me much more than the previous one. It is amazing how much Westland malt character is brought in through the Westland casks. Delicious!

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. $100 for this competes fairly well with the standard for something of this quality.


Review: High Coast (BOX) Second Step Collection 02 Swedish Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
51.2%
Aging
Ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso
Recipe
100% Barley
Distiller High Coast (Adalen, Sweden)

A special, cask strength release from BOX. For more info, their website is packed-full of information.

This whisky is a vatting of:

  • 8.2% unpeated single malt, aged 5.2 years in a first fill bourbon cask

  • 31.3% unpeated single malt, matured 4.7 years in first fill oloroso sherry cask

  • 12% unpeated single malt; matured 4.9 years in first fill oloros sherry cask

  • 8.5% peated single malt; matured 4.7 years in oloroso sherry cask


Review (2018)

  • Batch: 02

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Lots of dried fruit – has a slight sulphur edge. Wine gums, oak, toffee, apple, vanilla – with still a light oily youth. Raisins, prunes, and a nice set of spices – tannic, clove, and nutmeg. It’s heavily sherry influenced – I really like it. Quite complex – and there is a really nice integrated peated component – impressive with all of the sheryr involved. Lots of nice earthiness and dried fruit too. The palate is quite nice – balanced, fruity, with spice and lots of dried fruit and a slight touch of sulphur and smoke too. Rancio, dried peaches, dried orange, and tannins. Nice finish that is a bit bready and woody, and with a touch of burnt-like bitterness. Spicy, rich, smoky on the finish.

The sherry works pretty well with their distillate, and this displays it very well. Rich, and much deeper than Dalwe.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $148 CAD.


Review: High Coast (BOX) Dalwe Swedish Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
First Fill Bourbon Barrels
Recipe
100% Barley
Distiller High Coast (Adalen, Sweden)

BOX (now named High Coast distillery) is an emerging Swedish single malt. They are extremely generous with information - probably the most information on a bottling of their spirit I have ever seen from any whisky brand. Even the yeasts used are listed! The whisky is made from 63.5% is 5.24 year old first fill bourbon cask (200 L), 24.1% is 5.23 year peated whisky from 200 L first fill bourbon cask, and  12.4% is 5.1 year old  135 first fill bourbon cask.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: 01

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Really interesting peat. Peat fires, green apple skins, rye porridge, whole wheat noodles, licorice, and confectioners sugar. Very interesting. It’s quite nice, but not too deep. The palate comes out a bit more with lots of spice, rich and organic earth, and burning pine. Slightly confectionary, still. Pine needles too. The finish is spicy and slightly tannic. It’s nice, and a pleasant micro-distilled peated whisky – often I find they aren’t as appealing as this one. I like the rich, porridge-like character. A bit of smoked tobacco on the end.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value:  Low, based on $122.

 


Review: Lohin McKinnon Peated Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Lohin Mckinnon Peated 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs Ex-bourbon barrels and px sherry
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

This is a heavily peated malt (sourced from Baird's in Scotland), aged in ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Pedro Ximinez sherry casks. The whisky is about 3 years old, and if you taste it, you'll notice different characteristics than your classic Scottish peated malt. Though the peat is Scottish, it's not Islay peat, and there are a number of key differences which drive flavour:  the stills, the fermentation (they use stainless steel fermenters rather than washbacks which expose the fermenting wort to more environmental effects like bacteria), the water source is from the city (soft mountain water) and yeast used is brewers yeast. This single malt was also double distilled to try to extract more of the peaty character (their typical distillate is single distilled in their hybrid still). It's pretty rare to find Canadian peated single malt, and the ones I've had have all been quite diverse (e.g. this is a very different whisky than the Two Brewers peated stuff).


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Very interesting nose. Slightly earthy, ever so slightly medicinal – but this is unique among peated whiskies for me. There is some smoke, but also some very interesting earthy and vegetal notes – like baked sweet potato skin, rich earth, cacao, ginger, and a slight grassy sharpness. Yet, it has its sweet charms too, with light vanilla and marshmallow and a touch of milk chocolate emerging with time – a number of notes develop as it sits – and from all over, things like dried lemon peel and baklava.

The palate has a middle core of creamy malt, but includes burning pine, caramel, and all kinds of other notes from all over the place: dried parsley, cedar, limestone, mineral water, and cinnamon. The finish has a touch of sage, more dried parsley, oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, and white pepper.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average.


Review: Westland Distillery Peated American Single Malt Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Westland Distillery.

Image courtesy of Westland Distillery.

ABV
46%
Aging
First Fill Ex-Bourbon & New American Oak
Recipe
100% Malted Barley (6 malts)
Distiller Westland (Seattle, Washington)

This is Westland's peated whiskey - made with Saison yeast and a mixture of 6 malts, one of which is a heavily peated malt. It's peaty, but they also make a massively peaty Peat Week limited release each year. Bottled non-chill filtered and without caramel colouring.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Here is some peat! Banana, pear, sharp and mineral-laden peat, clove, moss, prunes, sandalwood, and celery seed. Caramel and fennel grow in the glass. The palate is full of pear, smoke, caramel, toffee, and white pepper – all with a really nice body. The finish has some roasted lemon, celery, toffee, sea salt, and cacao.  I really like it – increasingly as I continue to drink it.

It’s nice – this tastes peated, but not in the style of a Scottish single malt.  

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average.