[This is another in a series of Westland bottlings that feature ex-Westland casks that Westland then lent to a brewery, which then aged some of their beer in them, then gave them back to Westland. Westland then used the casks to mature their own whiskey. The casks in this case had held Silver City Scotch Ale, and the whiskey was aged in them from 53-61 months.]
This noses up with a redolence that induces indolence. We get butterscotch candies softened on a rag top convertible on a hot afternoon. Then we find a delightful sweetness with perfumey aspects inside, like grilled hamburgers with a cheddar cheese surprise melting within. Then there’s cedar furniture that was seconded due to the warehouse fire. The boys finally snuffed it out with a cocoa bean fire retardant that still makes the floor slippery. Amid this variegated gustatory landscape we find fruit underneath that we take to be plums.
“This drinks hot,” says Bill. Stephen points out the 51.2% ABV while I mark my disagreement with both of them. This feels like a Goldilockian ABV, I think to myself as I drink another sip, and they agree. The mouth is part and parcel with the nose. Which is to say that it’s not disjunctive, but a smooth continuum. The cedar furniture we nosed earlier is now glistening with lacquer that the boys like to make a fortified wine out of. Also, the plummy fruit is still there, but it’s salted now, and not with any of that delicate fleur de Sel or pink Himalayan stuff. Rather it’s darker and briny, befitting a tacky malt that hangs in the mouth with the persistence of tobacco and bridle leather.
The finish is long and sticky. All of the unctuousness of the mouth manifests on the finish with resinous clinginess. It inspires thoughts of a pine resin reduction used in place of maple syrup for a stack of quinoa and amaranth flapjacks. They are so hearty they look like rough-hewn disks cut from a cylinder of marble. Water brings out the fruit, once again, but steeped in a fired brine. It’s not too smoky, Bill insists, and neither is it peaty, avers Stephen. Instead it’s caramelized sugar two clicks past the point that the cook was hoping for. This, of course, lends a basso profundo that agitates the rest of the finish with a herbaceousness that is so righteous, it is a militancy of herbaceousness.
On the scale of books that Chinua Achebe definitely did not write–
The Westland Cask Exchange Series: Silver City Brewing is Things Come Together–How else explain how this richly varied whiskey responds under the crucible of our review process? For while some whiskies fall apart, this one comes together; its center holds.
–Our thanks to Westland for the sample!