Category Archives: Other Whisk(e)ys

Westland American Single Malt

Westland American Single Malt Whiskey
46% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
A flagship malt is the core expression of a distillery’s house style. Westland’s American Oak is a reflection of where it is made and the collective intent of those who made it. When we founded Westland Distillery, we had a vision for an entirely new category of whiskey. Distilled from the rich, flavorful barley of Washington State and matured predominantly in new American oak casks in the steady, cool humidity of our seaside home, this whiskey is a testament to that vision. All of these choices and ingredients conspire to create an approachable, mature and uniquely American single malt that can stand with the best whiskies in the world.

The initial nose provides lemon and orange custard backed by freshly produced waffle cone. Shortly after, a rich creaminess emerges with creme brûlée and chocolate custard while a hint of jasmine hides just beneath the surface. The first sip confirms the creamy and rich fruit custard notes of the nose, adding an element of rainier cherries. After five minutes, melting swiss chocolate is revealed with a hint of almond. Extended tastings brings out bananas and cream with Turkish coffee.

Washington Select Pale Malt
Munich Malt
Extra Special Malt
Pale Chocolate Malt
Brown Malt

Cooper’s Select New American Oak
Cooper’s Reserve New American Oak
First Fill Ex-Bourbon

YEAST STRAIN: Belgian Brewer’s Yeast


What Gary Says:
Nose: Young malt, lemongrass with some floral notes over peach and sea air.
Palate: Slightly creamy mouthfeel with apricot, peach, and honey over gentle spice(like mincemeat pie dialed down by half).
Finish: On the short-side, and wet (but pleasant).
Comments: A well done malt – I find it nicely balanced and approachable. Nothing off-putting about it, although it left me wanting more (as in – this same whiskey but maybe with another couple of years, and a few more points of proof). It is pretty tasty, although a tad on the thin side. For the price, unless you’re a whiskey geek who wants to try and support American Single Malt (a noble cause to be sure!), there are a lot of Scotch single malts that deliver more flavor for less. But that is the price of being an early adopter. This is a finely crafted whiskey, and shows a lot of potential. It isn’t trying to be Scotch-like, but clearly is a single malt. I haven’t tried their other offerings, but this sample definitely has gotten me interested in looking!
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich and sweetly floral. There are background notes that are slightly meaty and also brandy like.
Palate: Delicate and well balanced. The sweetness here reminds more more of a cognac than a scotch. Poached stone fruits come to mind.
Finish: A little peppery and slightly hot but a few drops of water smooths that out.
Comments: Yeah, I’m the guy that typically hates American craft whiskey. I find it uninspiring, poorly put together, young, and over priced. That is a broad generalization but I am hard pressed to find exceptions to those descriptors. This however, would be one such exception. This is a delicious whiskey. It’s unique, well balanced, and it doesn’t show its youth at all. That said, you need to approach this on it’s own merits and don’t go looking for a scotch clone. If anything, this reminds me more of a nice brandy rather than a single malt scotch. My only complaint is the price. I know it’s tough for the new guys to sell their product with all that start up cost to recuperate but damn there are a lot of nice $75 bottles of whiskey out there. Hopefully, as Westland gains scale they will be able to target a more reasonable price point.
Rating: Must Try

Jack Daniels Barrel Proof

Jack Daniels Single Barrel Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey
66.35% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
It’s whiskey as nature intended it—bottled straight from the barrel at its full proof. Intense, smooth, and remarkably varied, Barrel Proof is bottled at anywhere from 125 to 140-proof, taking Jack’s trademark vanilla and toasted oak flavors to bold new levels.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Hot, rich sweetness, honey, cinnamon, hints of banana and sticky toffee pudding.
Palate: Thick mouthfeel, sweet but biting with vanilla, caramel apple, and over-ripe bananas with candied pralines. Water tames the heat, and brings some notes of maple syrup.
Finish: On the short side and drying.
Comments: This won’t be mistaken for your daddy’s Jack Daniels – but at the same time is unmistakably “Jack”. That Lincoln County Process mellowing is there throughout, along with the bananas (which I particularly enjoy) – but there is a lot more going on. When I learned that they were offering a barrel proof Jack Daniels, my whisk(e)y geek neck-hairs stood at attention. I bought the first bottle I saw, and wasn’t disappointed. If you’re a fan of Jack Daniels, I’d definitely recommend this whiskey. If you’re not because you find Jack “too sweet” compared with bourbon, I’d still recommend you try it if you have a chance. It might surprise you.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says:
Nose: Fiery and rich. Viscous sweets of melted cinnamon Red Hots, caramel, and banana pudding.
Palate: Even richer and more viscous on the palate than the nose. It’s so oozingly sweet that it delays the heat from the barrel proof alcohol. Praline pecans, toffee crisps, vanilla cream candies.
Finish: Uncomplicated and dominated by the heat of the alcohol. With water it’s more muted and short.
Comments: Wow! This one is hot but delicious. It takes practice to get the water dilution just right but when you do its syrupy sweet and rich as hell. This is everything good about Jack Daniels with none of the bad stuff. A fine dessert whiskey.
Rating: Must Try

Jack Daniel’s Silver Select

Jack Daniel’s Silver Select Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey
50% ABV
$55 to $65
What the Distillery Says:
Bottled in Bond at 100-proof so you can experience the full depth and intensity of its rich flavor. This smooth, aromatic Tennessee Whiskey is only available in select duty-free airports around the world.

Richard’s aside: It’s worth noting that this is no longer called “Silver Select”. Since I bought my bottle Brown Forman has rebranded this edition in conjunction with their other Jack Daniel’s single barrel offerings (Single Barrel, Barrel Proof Single Barrel, Single Barrel Rye) and this now “Single Barrel 100 Proof” and carries the “Bottled in Bond” distinction. It’s availability in Travel Retail only remains.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Thick, rich, mellow with raisins, vanilla, caramel honey, and hints of anise, clove (and yes, bananas).
Palate: Rich/sweet fruit (raisins, figs) with a bit of a sharpness, but not as much spice as the nose advertises.
Finish: Short to moderate in length.
Comments: Another that is unmistakably related to its standard bearer, although I thought this several steps up from Old No. 7 (several more so than Jim Beam Bonded is over Jim Beam White Label). Fairly dark whiskey, so at only 100 proof I expect that this either has a few years of extra age on it, or was aged really high up (and maybe both). I think this is my second favorite Jack Daniel’s I’ve ever tried (below the Single Barrel, Barrel Proof). I wish this was more widely available (no mention of it on Jack Daniel’s web-site, and from what I can see on-line, this is a travel retail offer only). If you are a fan of Jack Daniels, I think this is hands-down a “must try” (maybe a “must buy”, but not sure what the true price tag is). I know if I see one for $60 or less, I’m bringing it home.
Rating: Must Try

What Richard Says:
Nose: Pending
Palate: Pending
Finish: Pending
Comments: Pending
Rating: Pending

The Hilhaven Lodge

The Hilhaven Lodge – A Distinctive Blend of Straight American Whiskeys
40& ABV
What the Bottler Says:
Introducing The Hilhaven Lodge™, a celebration of American Whiskey craftsmanship as aged Bourbon, Rye and Tennessee Whiskeys from three distinct decades combine for a rich and flavorful spirit—the spirit of Hilhaven Lodge.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Bright rye spice with dill and crushed mint, young with candied orange zest.
Palate: Sweet citrus, vanilla, and honey; spice is rather subdued, mellow all around.
Finish: Moderate, with the spice barely peaking up at the end
Comments: A hint of that “Tennessee whiskey” mellowness is on the nose and palate. They don’t list the ratio, or which whiskey came from which decade (others have reported that the rye was the oldest component, the TN whiskey in the middle, and the bourbon the youngest). The nose to me screams rye, but the palate doesn’t deliver. I really wish this could have been bottled at a higher proof. I was rather excited by the nose, and felt quite let down when it touched my lips. I suspect this might have been amazing at 100 proof, but alas, one can only wonder. While not a big financial gamble, I can’t recommend unless you’re a fan of really smooth whiskey.
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says:
Nose: Clarified butter, fresh cut grass, and vanilla extract.
Palate: Sweet orange creams and a light spiciness. I would swear this saw some of the Lincoln County Process.
Finish: Dry and uninspiring with a bit of a hot spicy backing.
Comments: Not bad but not great. There are plenty of $30 bottles of whiskey out there that you might like more. I don’t think the blending gimmick is enough to justify a $40 to $50 price tag. It’s a little too smooth on taste and hot in the mouth…which is kind of odd. Given that this is Diageo, the rye is most likely MGP and the Tennessee Whiskey is probably Dickel. As for the bourbon, who knows.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Diageo for sending us a sample to review.

WhistlePig 15 Year

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey 15 Year
46% ABV
What the Bottler Says:
Within this bottle is the culmination of years of patience – a liquid chosen from our finest stocks to be aged for more than a decade, only disturbed as it was transferred from specially selected former bourbon casks to barrels made from slow-growing Vermont Oak harvested on the WhistlePig farm.

The harsh winters and shorter growing seasons of the Green Mountains bestow a tighter grain pattern upon these trees, imparting nuanced flavors into the whiskey. After being milled, seasoned, and raised by some of the best coopers in America, the new barrel receives a long toast and heavy char designed to draw out a rich sweetness that complements the natural spice of aged rye.

The final product mingles rye spice with wood sugar, earthy oakiness and lush citrus notes, all wrapped in a velvet smoothness unique to the finest aged spirits. We are proud to share with you the fruit of our labors the WhistlePig 15 Year.

Nose: Deep and rich, dominated by caramel, vanilla, and oak with hints of all spice and burnt orange.
Taste: Warm, rich, and slightly creamy; Loads of butterscotch and baking spice with leather and a hint of tobacco
Finish: Ultra long and rich, warm, and inviting

What Gary Says:
Nose: Big, bold, crisp rye spice; citrus punch with underlying oak.
Palate: Thick/viscous/creamy mouthfeel, orange bitters with caramel chews, hints of pipe smoke and pepper spice.
Finish: Moderately long, and not as dry as I expected for the age.
Comments: Very bold rye whiskey – not very oaky/woody. In fact, on both the nose and palate I’d have pegged it as younger because of the lack of oak, but it has enough complexity and bold flavor to make up for it (and for my palate, I prefer less oak – so this is right in my wheelhouse). This has the kind of nose where I could pour and just smell it for hours, and while the palate is quite enjoyable – it isn’t quite as bold as the nose advertises (but is still very nice). I think rye fans would appreciate this, but the price tag makes it challenging – and I definitely recommend a “try before you buy” approach if you have the opportunity.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Vanilla extract, orange zest, something like lacquer, and a minty woody backbone.
Palate: Creamy and spicy with light notes of sweetness. Cigar tobacco, fennel seed, caramel, and oiled leather.
Finish: Much lighter than I would expect. Linger mint, polished wood, and more oiled leather.
Comments: This is a very nice rye. It smells absolutely stellar but the palate is a little lacking to me. I find a little less than I expected. I thought the Boss Hog bottling was richer and more robust of flavor for a bit less. $200? Well that is steep and it is up to you to determine that for yourself. I wouldn’t drop that kind of coin for it but value is very subjective.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank WhistlePig for sending over a sample for us to review.