In its quest to express the unique terroir of Westland’s Pacific Northwest origins, Westland Distillery’s ambitious Garryana series relies on the limited supply of the very rare Quercus garryana, a species of white oak that imparts a distinctive flavor profile to single malt whiskey. With the September release of Garryana 2018, Edition 3|1, Westland reveals how supply fluctuations can challenge the distilling team to evolve the series in new directions.
Unlike the previous two editions, which married ratios of full-term matured Garry oak casks to traditional oak casks, the limited supply of Garry oak forced Master Distiller Matt Hofmann and Blender Shane Armstrong to employ a series of vattings and casks finishes for this year’s edition. The resulting whiskey features component whiskies that are each matured in a combination of casks, producing a complex integrated flavor profile. With a mash bill of 5-malt, Washington Select and heavily peated, the whiskey was aged in Garry oak, New American oak, 1st fill ex-bourbon, 1st fill ex-Port and refill ex-Westland casks.
“Each year, we must begin with assessing what is available to us, and then be open to following a path that the cask and the whiskies reveal,” explains Hofmann. “Because we cannot rely on a formula, we must be inventive in the ways we work with the supply in order to end up with a whiskey we are proud of.”
Garryana 2018, Edition 3|1 (112 proof)
Nose: Loads of toffee, and surprisingly, a banana-like ester that gives this a tropical nose. Quite unique.
Taste: Less peated than I expected, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It allows the malt to shine with a hearty and semi-spicy chew. The flavor is round and full, with a tannic sizzle on the far back palate. Aggressive and wood-forward.
Finish: Long with some darker, molasses and toffee notes finishing the journey. Curiously, there is also a cigar-like tobacco taste that lingers for quite a while.
Overall: Definitely a lot going on here. Unlike any whiskey on the market ever. Worth checking out if you can manage to procure a bottle. This one won’t last long with collectors scooping it up.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Westland Distillery