American Single Malt r/Bourbon Cask Selection
I find myself surrounded by American Single Malt at the moment and I could not wait to dig into these new selections. I am especially fond of Moscatel cask whiskies and I haven’t found one I don’t enjoy yet. The one cask type I’ll gladly blind buy.
Using their 5 malt barley blend, this Westland selection was initially aged in new charred oak for a little over 3 and a half years. Transferred to a muscat cask for a lengthy secondary maturation of about 5 years, the total age is likely just under 9 years old. Bottled at 105.2 proof, this one isn’t a scorcher and is right in the average range considering their climate.
Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 10+ minutes of rest. Dilution was added throughout the tasting with additional rest for upwards of an hour for comparison.
The nose is enticing! Fresh-baked oatmeal butterscotch cookies immediately come to mind. Browned butter and vanilla bean paste. Almonds and marzipan. Lightly sweetened yeast rolls, brioche, or challah bread. Fresh ground and toasted cloves along with some old or expired ground nutmeg. A lactic quality like a cream cheese danish and rum raisin ice cream. The oak is noticeable and earthy like walnuts. While the nose is intensely fruity, it’s difficult to describe it as anything but rehydrated raisins, like a rum raisin holiday cake. Adding water lifted a pleasant and bright citrus tangerine note.
Chocolate and sea salt coat your mouth right on the first sip. The salinity sticks to your cheeks and the back of your teeth. Yeasty and malty at the same time. Fruited bread like a sticky malt loaf. If like myself, you were experimenting with baking bread during the pandemic lockdowns, these flavors remind me so much of that time in the kitchen. Baking spices are more identifiable on the palate. Clove, allspice berries, cinnamon, black peppercorns, and very light star anise even. A green element as well with some wet tobacco leaves, black tea, and roasted fennel. Adding water was preferred and brought out a lot more sweet fruit notes. Peaches, nectarines, and dates. More tobacco but less like a cigar and closer to freshly shredded leaves.
The finish brings all of those cereal grains to the forefront. Oats, barley, and wheat bran. Dark chocolate, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Heavier on the oak with a dank, musty sherry flavor. The back end of those wood flavors gives you a tongue depressor dryness that I’m not too fond of. Having just made a new batch of allspice dram, the finish really encompasses that flavor well. Lastly, an odd flavor I only faintly got on the nose but was clearer on the finish was a banana chip flavor. Starchy and caramelized. Adding water lightened the sherry notes to be a touch sweeter. The bitter oak is still present and lingers around for a while longer.
A complex whiskey for sure, although very well balanced and easy to drink. The sweetness leads me to classify this more as a dessert whiskey. Paired well with a custard tart or crème brûlée. The boozy fruit nature of the cask did well with the malted barley. It brought such a lovely decadent yeasty quality that I rather enjoyed.
While the #2949 Oloroso still is one of my favorite American Single Malt bottles, #4859 is really something special. As it is still available, I highly recommend buying yourself a bottle. Not a daily dram kind of bottle, but one you will certainly break out over the holidays to pair with dessert.