American Single Malt r/Bourbon Cask Selection
Made with 5 different levels of malted barley, this single barrel selection was aged for 7 years and 4 months in virgin oak. The “definitive” Westland flavor, this bottle set the baseline for the other 2 barrel selections. I’ve really been intrigued with American Malt lately after tasting through offerings from Westward, Virginia Distillery Co., and also Chattanooga. So when I heard r/bourbon was doing a selection I was eager to try.
This was tasted neat in a Glencairn, rested for ~5 minutes with no additional dilution.
A lot of sweet aromas on the nose with a very strong oak backing it up. Coffee, like an espresso crema. Dark chocolate. A bit of all-spice dram with some clove, pepper, nutmeg, and star-anise. Brown sugar and heavy molasses. The malt smells unlike any Scottish malt I’ve had and is certainly closer to the Chattanooga malts I recently reviewed. Burnt sugar and slight tobacco.
The sweetness follows through to the palate tasting like an oatmeal cookie. Bit of a ginger snap like spice after that initial sweet wave flows over your tongue. Bitter and acrid flavors overwhelms with lots of oak tannins. Takes a few sips to get really acquainted with the whiskey. With time it opens up more and balances out. Apple and pear crumble with a nice creamed butter flavor. Despite the sweetness I would describe this more on the bitter side with the oak being the dominant flavor.
The finish is just..woah! The malt is now much more present with a big rush of those grains coming out. Rich cocoa and dark chocolate. Oddly minty like some ryes I’ve had with a chocolate mint flavor. There’s a burst of plum and apricot along with a really rather enjoyable tobacco note. Some slight bitter dryness at the very end.
This is just a fun whiskey much like the Chattanooga bottles. I enjoyed it quite a bit but it does have a back and forth flavor to it that I didn’t like. Some sips that bitterness overtakes your taste buds and other times, the sweet fruits and sugars do. The malt really only coming through for me on the finish was also a bit of a disappointment. A good selection in terms of cask type and age. A few drops of water and air time really helped this out to bring out some more of those flavors into a cohesive dram.