[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 spirit in this case was Westland’s normal 5-malt spirit, but produced in the first run after they’d distilled peated spirit. The casks in this case were originally Malbec casks which then went on mature Lucky Envelope Imperial Stout. The whiskey was aged in these casks for 69 months.]
The nose opens with notes of maple syrup drizzled over pine cones in little baskets woven out of pine needles. There’s perhaps also a note of burnt lemon subsumed largely in a swampy note. But these woodsy notes last about as long as an Ewok scene in Return of the Jedi seems to last to a small child watching it. Then, like uncamouflaged stormtroopers barging their way into Endor, the Imperial Stout announces itself. Wow, it’s a malty, dark Imperial death march to a hidden Rebel cache of Malbec casks. It’s as if the Death Star didn’t explode and instead was used to light up the skies over various planets for their Octoberfest celebrations. Or maybe it’s a Imperial Star Destroyer out on the hunt for The Red October. Man, this is so fun, it’s making me mix my metaphors.
The mouth is a big burst of yummy malt. It’s a malt bomb with lots of fire: a great explosion worth celebrating, even if it has unintended consequences. The imperial stout complements the underlying spirit here beautifully. It’s like this dram is a genetically engineered cyborg built for the sole purpose of winning over your whiskey-skeptical beer nerd friends. It fires on the sides of the tongue, marking out a clear peppermint path that leads from the mouth to the finish. Follow that path, young padawan, and maybe someday you, too, can be a Jedi.
The finish is brightly imperial, but with a tinge of guilty colonial. There’s a deep tobacco note coated with a dark brown lacquer, but it’s brighter than that sounds: it’s more like a Victorian bedpost finial serving as a microphone during a kids’ sleepover–or maybe the polished end of Logray’s staff magically dislodging a human finger from a patient’s windpipe (but definitely not like anything having to do with his jungle nuts). There is remarkable depth here in the finish, making this one precocious 69 month-old.
On the scale of stout imperials–
The Westland Cask Exchange Series: Lucky Envelope is George IV–One of the more imperialist kings, and definitely the stoutest (of England, likely of other countries as well), he was an innovator when it came to luxury. And he helped defeat the also pretty seriously imperial Napoleon Bonaparte.
–Our thanks to Westland for the sample!