By April Manning
Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey is the creation of House Spirits Distillery, which is based in what some would consider one of the unlikeliest of places for whiskey, Portland, Oregon. However, Oregon’s dry, warm summers and wet cool winters are just what House Spirits’ founder, Christian Krogstad, called for in the crafting of this spirit.
House Spirits sources the 100% malted barley locally from the Pacific Northwest. The barley is fermented with ale yeasts for double the amount of time of most other whiskies. This means less processing later leading to a cleaner ferment. Like most single malt scotch whiskies Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey is double pot stilled in single batches to yield a higher concentration of alcohol. It then ages for the minimum requirement of two years in lightly charred (#2 char instead of the more commonly used #3 char) new American oak barrels before being bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV).
Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey shows its lack of maturity through its color with a resemblance to light honey with bronze highlights throughout. The nose of Westward is very light and reminiscent of breathing in flowing amber waves of grain showcasing the barley nicely along with hints of earthy oak. This marriage of the grain and the barrel gives Westward a uniquely balanced essence that stands out in the oak dominated world of whisky crafting. And the flavor has more zing then the nose implies. It starts with the grain sensation that quickly moves onto the impression of peppery spices and tobacco ending with a smooth clean finish that leaves a hint of citrus lingering lightly.
All in all, a nice, clean attempt at clearing the aging hurdle that all distillers face. With the price squarely in mind, I can recommend enjoying this spirit neat.
$49 for 375 mL