Review: Westward Single Malt Whiskey Elements: High Desert to Klamath Basin
We’ve reviewed several single malts from Oregon’s Westward Whiskey in recent years, but no one told us the distillery had its own whiskey club! Color us a little envious that we weren’t invited to join. For those interested, here are a few deets:
Launched in 2019 and previously available exclusively in Oregon, the home of Westward Whiskey, the Club reaches consumers in nearly 30 states — by far the largest and most national reach from any whiskey distillery. Members are granted exclusive access to club-only whiskey releases, club-only events led by Westward’s team of experts, and fellowship with others who celebrate American whiskey innovation.
Members can choose from two different tiers: Expedition Club and Founder’s Club. Expedition Club members will receive one bottle of whiskey in Westward’s four yearly Club releases, and Founder’s Club members will enjoy three bottles each quarter. Shipping is available to nearly 30 states.
To incentivize membership, Westward gives its club members first dibs at some pretty interesting single malts like this latest offering, Elements: High Desert to Klamath Basin. It’s a preview of sorts for a new single malt series, dubbed Elements, that will explore the region’s provenance. This blended release includes single malts made with Oregon “elements” like two-row spring barley developed at Oregon State University as well as barley grown and malted in Madras, the central high desert. The latter whisky was also finished in Oregon white oak (Garryana) casks made by the only barrel cooperage in the Pacific northwest, Oregon Barrel Works. Safe to say, there’s a lot of Oregon in this bottle. Let’s take it for a spin.
The aroma is rich and buttery, as sweet as it is savory. Initial notes of warm banana bread with walnuts and apple turnovers grow with a more candied and fruit-forward intensity as the whiskey opens in the glass but never quite lose that doughy, malty element. The palate shows a more classic, cereal dimension with a healthy amount of oak influence. Notes of oatmeal cookies, butterscotch chips, and sweetened coconut flakes contrast well with drier sawdust, cigar box, and freshly sawn wet oak. There’s something youthful here, or perhaps it’s just the Garryana being a little aggressive, but it serves to make the many refined elements of this one even more apparent. The finish is long with a mix of dark fruit, tinned pears, and some subtle, woody smoke. A very nice American single malt. I think I’d join this club.
A- / $99 / westwardwhiskey.com
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