Westland American Single Malt Whiskey

As they say, the best cure for a hangover is a beer… But in reality, the best cure for a hangover is to have what you drank the night before. Mixing different booze will just make you sicker.

Such was the case this past Saturday, after a night of drinking great bourbon and whiskeys the previous night. I wasn’t hung over as much as I was just dragging from the Old Fashioneds and shots of bourbon I was drinking with my sons.

We were in Seattle for my niece’s wedding, so prior to the ceremony, my boys and I wanted to “pre-game” the wedding at the bar in our restaurant.

I started with a dram of Tatoosh Bourbon to get things going. My gracious bartender poured it for me to try out, as I had requested trying a locally distilled spirit. It was good; not very inspiring, but still pretty good.

Since the bar technically wasn’t open for another hour, I had to move to the restaurant bar a floor down. Not a big deal, just so long as there was a bartender – of course, there was!

Once I finished my first drink, I immediately flagged my bartender and asked to try the Westland. I had seen it sitting on the shelf the night before and resolved to try it out at some point during my stay. I really enjoyed this single malt – for a couple of rounds.

What I Smell

The first thing that hit me was a coffee candy aroma, that then resolved into a little peat, wet, salty seagrass. There was a certain sweetness that floated throughout the glass that was akin to fresh-cut sugar-cane. Freshly poured, the whiskey holds its aromas close to the vest. But the addition of a couple of drops of water really helped the aromas bloom.

What I Taste

The coffee candy aspect in the nose persisted on the palate, no doubt due to the moderate peat, with a little cherry pipe tobacco. In addition to the coffee, about mid-palate I got some tangerine and a hint of vanilla and caramel. This whiskey has an excellent coating effect, which makes the finish moderately long, with an ever-so-slight astringency. A little hot up-front, but not overpowering; a perfect complement to wet weather.

Overall Impression

I truly enjoyed this single malt. While it doesn’t have the complexity and sophistication of say a Caol Ila, it’s strength lies in the balance of aromas and flavors it does present. I truly believe that over time, as more older whiskey can be blended into the finished product, this whiskey has the potential to blossom into a truly great spirit.

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Talisker 10 Year Single Malt Scotch

talisker_10When I got this bottle as a gift from one of my son’s friends, amazingly enough, I hadn’t had it yet. Amazing since it is such a well-known brand. But hey! I got a bottle, and I have to say, it’s not a bad little scotch at all. To be completely honest, now that I’ve had it, it wouldn’t be my first choice (I’ll explain below), but it’s solid just the same.

What I Smell

The nose on this is a bit confusing to me. I smell an earthy, peaty component for sure. But there’s also a hint of iodine (not off-putting), and what I can only call an “oceanic” component; like a sea spray. It’s not so much that I can smell it, but it’s as if there’s a saltiness to it. And maybe it’s because of the slight iodine scent that reminds me of the salt marshes near where I grew up in East Palo Alto. Finally, I smell something akin to fresh-cut grass. It gives the whisky a youthful character.

What I Taste

Up front, this scotch is sweet, with notes of honey and molasses, but that quickly gives way to peat smoke that sort of builds up in intensity. It’s subtle at first but becomes more prevalent in the finish, and the iodine comes out near the end. Pretty cool effect. The other interesting thing about thing about the peat in this is that it lingers – a long time. I wasn’t expecting that because the peat is so subtle up front. If you like a peaty single malt, you’d enjoy Talisker.

How I Like to Drink It

Any scotch for me is going to be drunk neat, and this one is no exception, though I will add a couple of drops of water to help the aromas and flavors bloom. That done, the natural sweetness gets revealed even more, and it also slightly tames the peat smoke.

Overall Impression

This is a solid single malt. As I mentioned above, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but that’s personal preference. I usually like very little to no smoke (Macallan), subtle smoke (Caol Ila), or a smoke bomb (Lagavulin). For me, Talisker is a “tweener.” I actually really like it – a lot – but I do know what I prefer, and while I enjoy this single malt, given my druthers, I’d get a different bottle.

My own preferences aside, I recommend trying Talisker. As I said, it’s solid.