The Westland Coldfoot nose opens with the robust peaty, smoky aromas of outdoor woolen coats and leather chaps that’ve been worn sitting down around many a campfire…and had lots of whiskey spilled on it by weary wallaby hunters at the end of the day. [John: Bill! There are not wallabies in the Pacific Northwest!] Perhaps that’s why they’re weary? Because they have to hunt and hunt and hunt? Maybe they hunt capybaras instead? Anyways, we also got sherry-soaked tobacco leaves, black beans simmering in a Lodge cast iron pot, and a cockroach (named Hal) that’s been hanging out in an antique walnut butter churn in a pioneer museum in Wiseman, Alaska. (And yes, I know that Wiseman is about 15 miles north of Coldfoot, but I’d rather be a Wiseman than have a Coldfoot.) We also got antique ice skates from the early 1700s made from beaver pelts, and John got banana cardamom. We found also nickels collected into a waxen album, and the unexpected marriage of Romanian sage and Southern Spanish sage and all that that entails! (Among other things, the loss of suspension of disbelief while watching Love Is Blind.)
The mouth is hot-blooded and spirited. It’s got a light mouthfeel, like a shotgun shell pressed into service as a shot glass for a murky gin that was, after a sniff, wisely thrown on the ground. There are different perfumes, Eau de Eunuchs, Eau de Veils, Eau de Sultan, and Eau de Oreo Ohs: It’s like spending an afternoon in a harem of filled with exotic foliage, lounging long and languorous, letting the time idly pass by while eating delicious chocolate cookie sandwiches with creme centers. The herby Herbie the Gin Bug botanicals persist throughout the finish, much as if Herbie’s fuel tank had been modified to run on ethanol, rosemary, and eucalyptus leaves.
The finish is faintly medicinal and there’s a funky barley slew-footing the opposition—now, I don’t know who Westland’s “opposition” is—the hypothetical distillery Eastland?—but I have a feeling that for Filson, it’s LLC PintoBean. There’s a tough leathery chewy sensation, too, as if you were playing tug of war with your sled dog team’s harness. Also, some cherry cough drops following up the eucalyptus in the mouth. John got antelope bone throat lozenges, because of course he did.
On the scale of the nicest thing to feel while hiking, camping, skiing, hunting, or tracking in the winter–
The Westland Coldfoot American Single Malt Whiskey is toasty feet! Cold feet herald, at the least, an unhappy night sleeping in a bag that never feels warm, and at the worst, frostbite, missing toes, and probably gangrene. Toasty feet? They are the best. One feels salubrious, expansive, world-beating. Put your feet up at the campfire, knock back some Coldfoot, and toast your toasty feet and your good fortune.
–Our thanks to Westland for the sample!