Connoisseurs of American whiskey—we count ourselves among them—are already well acquainted with Westland Distillery, the Seattle stalwart founded 10 years ago, known for its stellar single malts. Though it employs the same ingredients and processes used for centuries by Old World distilleries, rather than replicate these whiskies, Westland creates award-winning expressions that "reflect the distinct qualities of [our] time, place and culture in the Pacific Northwest."
Now there's even more reason to raise a toast—Westland has just announced its new Outpost range of American single malts, comprised of three whiskies that will be released one at a time over the next three years. Garryana American Single Malt will be available this November, with Colere to follow in the spring of 2021, and Solum, the final installment, set for 2023, and all break new ground in the world of whiskey.
Each of them "explores a central raw ingredient" in single malt whiskey, with each name inspired by an element of the Pacific Northwest's terroir, i.e. the unique characteristics that a geographical location impart to an agriculturally-derived product such as whiskey: oak, barley and peat.
“We’ve been working on these projects, exploring the Pacific Northwest and its bounty, for years,” notes Westland Co-Founder Matt Hofmann. “With all three of these whiskies we step beyond what is known in single malt to pursue new possibilities. What we’re finding is beyond exciting and these whiskies stand as outposts on the edge of the unknown"—hence the name.
Garryana honors Westland’s native species of Pacific Northwest white oak (quercus garryana), from which wooden casks are made for aging the whiskey. These Garry Oak casks as they're known are new to the world of whiskey making, and Westland raised a cottage industry to source the raw material from which they're made. Bottled at 100 proof, ex-bourbon casks are also used in the maturing process while the spirit is heavily peated.
Colere, from a Latin verb meaning “to cultivate,” connotes the scores of barley varietals that have yet to be used in whiskey making, and "represents a reconnection to agriculture for the whiskey industry." Common wisdom is that barley doesn’t impact the flavor of whiskey, but Westland has been working for years to prove otherwise—and Colere should prove their point once and for all.
Finally, 2023 will bring Solum (Latin for "soil," a tribute to Westland's use of local peat, which traditionally comes from the UK. "As longtime fans of peated whiskey, Westland has pursued a vision for locally grown barley malted with locally harvested peat for nearly a decade," the brand notes. "Since the supply chain for peated malt has never existed in this country, once again Westland built the economy from the ground up." We can't wait to taste the result.