Tag Archives: White Pepper

Westland Garryana – a new and true innovation in the world of single malt


Region – Seattle, Washington – 56.2% ABV

Not to be confused with Gary, Indiana…

Westland GarryanaWestland’s new Garryana single malt is a deep dive into the exploration of a new type of oak that few have used before. That oak is conveniently named after the whisky at hand (or is that vice versa? I think it’s vice versa. I’m sure of it. Yup, vice versa).

All single malt producing countries have access to  oak casks for maturing their whisk(e)y. The good bulk of those oak casks comes from right here in the US of A. The oak used to make said casks is called American White Oak.

(There’s a fancy schmancy Latin name for it, too, but I’m not that fancy schmancy so I’ll just stick with “American White Oak.” Plus, I failed Latin in my senior year of high school – Mrs. Whatsherface had it out for me. I didn’t want to fish for Carpe in that Diem pond, I told her!)

European Oak casks are quite common, too. You’ll find those are more widely used in whiskies that were matured using sherry casks (though there’s a lot of sherry matured in American White Oak, too).

Now, Japan is lucky. They have their very own Mizunara Oak which is quite loverly but who the heck can afford Japanese whiskies these days, not to mention Japanese whiskies matured in Mizunara Oak which is VERY leaky.

The French have their oak, too. That’s called French Oak. How convenient. That oak offers up nice, spicy flavors to whiskies.

Because we’re America, and apparently the winningest (or so we like to say over and over and over again) we’ve got another type of oak that grows specifically in the Pacific Northwest that is suitable for maturing whisk(e)y.

This oak is called Garry Oak, or, Garryana.

Having visited the Westland distillery a few times, and having once been in their warehouse, I had the luxury of tasting some single cask Garry Oak matured Westland. It was intense, for sure, but damn unique and quite delicious.  Westland has now been maturing single malt in a good number of Garryana casks and this release is the result.

Given the intense flavor profile of Garryana matured single malt, it makes sense that the use of this component makes up 21% of the over all mixture. The malt used in the Garryana casks, btw, is Washington Pale Malt. The rest is:

  • 26% Peated Malt (New Charred American White Oak)
  • 10% Washington Pale Malt (used American White Oak)
  • 43% Five Malt blend (New Charred American White Oak)

If you want to learn more about this wonderful single malt whiskey and the process of Garryana discovery, be sure to check out this Podcast:

Also, if you have a few minutes, be sure to watch this video (it’s beautifully shot, cool, informative, and fun):

Finally, without any further ado, my review of this new whisky from Westland Distillery. ***Spoiler Alert — it’s fantstic through and through***

On the nose — Chocolate, to be sure, but I expect that note given Westland’s use of Chocolate malt in their Five Malt mashbill.

Westland GarryanaDeep sweet notes of burnt sun dried tomatoes, crushed raisin with sugar and balsamic, sticky smoke, and herb rubs – like cleaning the BBQ sauce off your grill at the start of Grilling season.

Back to the more chocolatey notes, hints of mocha or cappuccino with a side of red velvet cake. Newly opened tin of oil paint tubes.

Also a swirl of melting and toasted, yet milky caramel.

Westland GarryanaIn the mouth — We’ll begin with the smoke but that’s immediately followed up with German brown bread and a side of carrot cake, cream cheese frosting and all.

Sweet meets ashy meets savory meets sweet again. The mouthfeel is oily verging on succulent – it’s big.

Westland GarryanaOn to the spices of ginger, nutmeg, and clove. I want to say smoked paprika but I wont. Forget I typed that, forget you read it. No, put it back in there. Smoked paprika.

White pepper, too.

Westland GarryanaAs we near the finish, that German brown bread makes it self be known again. This time with a raisiny fervor!

Finish — Long with a sweet yet smoky – like BBQ sauce with an umami-esque goodness.

In sum — This is one of the finest single malts I’ve had this year, hands down. Top 5 for sure. This is not only ticking all of the boxes as far as what I long for in a single malt, this has created new boxes I never even thought to look for.

**Special thanks to the good folks at Westland Distillery for the sample!!

Westland Garryana

Speed dating… with whisk(e)y! Episode 3: Kilchoman 100% Islay, 3rd edition


Islay region – 50% ABV – $89 | £65

Here I am, back on the dating scene!  My first two dates were with a couple of sisters from America – Koval Four Grain Whiskey and Koval Bourbon.

Today I am dating a smoking Scottish lass.  I hope she treats me right!

Kilchoman-marge-schottOn the nose (Date # 1) –  Ashtrays meet white pepper meets rice vinegar and wet cardboard.

Am I on a date with Marge Schott?  Did I mention I love her?  Marge does have a sweet side, you know…

Tinned fruits, brown sugared boiled apples and a butter crusted apple pie.

925959b98fa71b669d96a5046d29e853On the mouth (Date # 2, This girl seems to have a complex personality.  Let’s see how the 2nd date goes.  She could be blowing smoke up my @$$) – Heavy smoke upfront with lemon citrus spray.  Say it, don’t spray it!

Burnt apple skins – this I like!

Heavy on the white pepper but there are also notes of cherries in sweetened pear sauce.

Finish (Date # 3: The deciding factor)– Notes of re-opened barbecue grill, first time since last summer.  Distant smoke and old barbecue sauce…

In sum (The decision)– A fine 100% Islay expression from Kilchoman.  I did like her older sister (2nd edition) a bit more as it showed a truly unique character.  Still, this young lass is well worth another date…

Special thanks to the folks at Impex for the sample!

Old Malt Cask 20yo Speyside


OMC-Speyside-1Speyside region – 50% ABV – from a single Oloroso Sherry Butt, 150 bottles for the US.  Not sure who got the rest of the bottles from this butt… Maybe a UK/EU Bottling at 700ml?

This whisky reminds me of the theme song to Spielberg’s old cartoon (that I LOVED as a kid/teenager), Tiny Toons.

Here we have single cask of whisky matured in an Oloroso Sherry butt.  What would we usually expect from sherry wood?:  Notes of dried fruits, leather, chocolate, brown spices, cherry stones, cola syrup, etc…  Deep and dark, sometimes cloyingly sweet flavors.

But this cask is breaking all of the rules!

“So here’s Acme Acres,
It’s a whole wide world apart,
Our home sweet home,
It stands alone,
A cartoon work of art!
The scripts were rejected,
Expect the unexpected
On tiny toon adventures
It’s about to start!

OMC-Speyside-2On the nose –  A wonderfully peppery nose that has hints of coastal grasses, medicinal throat lozenges, model glue and diaper cream.

A hint of peat perhaps – not smoky at all but an interesting waft of peat and vegetality.

OMC-Speyside-3Onion crisps (Funyuns™) malt grist and vinegar.  A touch of honey and citrus comes to the fore.

Not an every day sort of nose for me but I am really digging the components.  Well put together so far and above all, interesting.  Let us carry on, wayward son!

On the mouth –  Much more restrained and fruity than expected.

OMC-Speyside-4That coastal element comes out again (again with the grasses and now salty beach stones) and reminds me a bit of what I love about the Laddie Ten.

Loads of white pepper and a gooseberry sourness to boot.  More onion crisps and a hint of adobo spice.

OMC-Speyside-5Very malty, this one.  Like a malt beverage cut with 2% white cranberry juice.

Mouth feel is like flat soda.

Finish – The flavors dissipate pretty quickly but some zing remains on the tongue.

In sum – A very interesting whisky that would likely do well in a tasting of many different whiskies.  Not my favorite Speyside bottling but the nose get extra points for uniqueness.

It’s whiskies like this that get me excited when looking to explore deeper within a distillery to see what it can offer.  This helps to show why single casks are so unique and sometimes quite special.  Or, in this case, odd and a ton of fun.

Special thanks to the folks at ISW for the official sample!

Glenglassaugh’s latest official bottling – “Evolution” which is matured in George Dickel Tennessee whisky barrels


Highland region – 57.2%ABV – £57 | $93

Crack that whip / Give the past the slip / Step on a crack / Break your momma’s back

When a problem comes along
You must whip it

Before the cream sits out too long
You must whip it

When something’s going wrong
You must whip it

Now whip it, Into shape, Shape it up, Get straight, Go forward, Move ahead, Try to detect it, It’s not too late, To whip it.  Whip it good.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Devo as much as the next guy.  In fact, I likely love Devo way more than the next guy and think their music is quite genius but man, these lyrics go on and on and I never got them (but love the ever living snot out of the song).

I’m such a Devo-geek that as soon as I heard what Glenglassaugh was calling their 2nd bottling, Evolution, I thought of Devo.  (Who, by the way, got their band name from the concept of De-evolution – “the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society“.)

Whatevs – rock and roll!!

And now, perhaps my favorite version of The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”:

Ok, enough with my love of the Devo, let’s get on with my new found love of the Evo(lution)!

Glenglassaugh-1On the nose –  Another “confident” whisky here.

To start, a great and somewhat forceful interplay between churned butter, oodles of butterscotch and fresh white grapefruit.

Heaps of white pepper and vanilla wrapped in saran wrap and all warmed up (yes, this is a warming nose).

Glenglassaugh-2Did I mention butterscotch?  Yes, I did.  Just above.  It’s well worth another mention though…

Barley cakes & oat cakes.  Light lemon notes and soft leather gloves.

Glenglassaugh-4On the mouth – Perhaps it should have been called “Explosion.”  This dram bursts with that now classic Next-Gen Glenglassaugh fruity character.

It is, however, tempered quite well with the very Tennessee oak characteristics of vanilla, honey and spice.

Light malt laden flavors now and back again with white pepper and a bit of that grapefruit I got on the nose.

Glenglassaugh-3Oh. So. Butterscotchy.

Medium oil-like texture with some citrus zing on the sides of the tongue.

Finish – Heavy wood spice, toasted oak, long and slightly bourbony.

In sum – I bought a bottle the day it hit the Glenglassaugh store.  I had to have it.  Glenglassaugh matured in George Dickel barrels?  No brainer.

I obviously wanted to do a formal review of the whisky but went through half the bottle before I took actual notes (mainly because I just wanted to enjoy the whisky without dissecting it).  Like George Dickel, this is great sippin’ whisky.  Perfect for sitting on your porch or deck and letting the hours pass by…

Normally I do not like to mix cigars with my malts but I imagine this would go quite well with a cigar.  Perhaps a mild bodied one.

To Glenglassaugh, this whisky is an evolution in their new story (and a great story it is!)  For you as the consumer, this whisky is all about a little you time.  Relaxing times.  At only 6,000 bottles, you may want to to grab a bottle fast!

You may be interested in Oli’s notes on dramming.com