Taking inspiration from the thriving local brewing culture, Westward Whiskey is brewed and distilled from scratch on-site at the Portland distillery, their grain-to-glass operation giving Master Distiller Christian Krogstad and lead distiller Miles Munroe complete control over the production process, and a provenance that truly reflects where it was made.
You can’t expect a distillery run by a brewer to use just any old wash, and to that end, all Westward Whiskey is made from 100% Northwest two-row pale malted barley and ale yeast. In the early days, before the new distillery was built, washes were brewed in collaboration with a number of iconic Portland breweries, such as Breakside, Alameda, and Rogue, but since November 2015 every single wash used has been brewed inhouse, with a true craft beer philosophy, fermentation taking place over a long time at a low temperature. The result, a spicy wash with bright and fruity notes.
The wash is then double pot-distilled, first up in the 11,350 litre pot still that was handcrafted for Westward by Vendome Copper & Brassworks in Louisville, KY. This is one of the largest of its type in the country. From there to the 2,650 litre spirit still that was designed by Westward themselves, and built by Global Stainless in Canby, Oregon. Both stills feature short open heads that ensure the distillate is rich and robust.
The new make is then filled in newly charred American oak barrels at 62% ABV. The majority of the barrels are #2 char, this lower char amount allows the rich esters created by the fermentation process to remain present, contributing to the full-flavoured palate. Because the distillery is situated between a river, a highway, and a railway line, it’s not considered the ideal location for maturing whiskey. The temperature and pressure swings considered far too much. Rather, the barrels are matured in a 28,000 square foot, barometrically monitored rackhouse facility in nearby Clackamas County, Oregon, just out of town. The barrels still experience Oregon’s seasons, but it provides a far more stable environment for maturation. Well, it’s usually stable… the area is prone to earthquakes, so to keep the precious contents safe the barrels are palletised, standing upright, four to a pallet and never more than four high. Perhaps not the most efficient use of the warehouse space, but at least nothing has too far to fall if ever there is a quake. After safely resting for three to five years, the casks are selected when ready and brought together and bottled, creating a whiskey that is distinct, brazen, rich in character, and full of flavour.
Westward’s whiskies have caught the attention of judges around the world, having picked up a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a 93-point/excellent rating at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a 94-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, as well as topping the list of the Wall Street Journal’s Singular Single Malts Born in the USA. Way to go!
All this praise and attention didn’t go unnoticed by us here at The Club, and we knew we just had to work with them to bring our Members something special. Christian and Miles were put to work to create a unique expression of the American Northwest, just for us. Their signature whiskey has been carefully aged to taste in lightly toasted new American Oak barrels in the heart of the American Northwest, those hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters working the spirit through the barrels. Once ready, the whiskey then went into Oregon Pinot Noir casks, sourced from Remy Wines in Oregon Wine Country’s iconic Willamette Valley, where it rested for eight months before being bottled at a sharp 45% ABV. And thus, Westward Oregon Pinot Noir Cask Single Malt Whiskey created Exclusively for The Whisky Club was born.
This is a whiskey that brings so many things Portland is famous for – craft beer brewing, pinot noir, and spirit distillation – together in one delicious bottle, absolutely bursting with sweet sun-dried figs, ripe plums, brown sugar and fragrant pipe tobacco on the nose before rolling into creamy grain, fresh melon and raisin on the palate, and finishing decadently with English toffee, leather and a touch of white pepper. It’s hands-down the most kick-ass dram we’ve tasted all year.
Don’t miss your chance to grab a bottle of this unrepeatable Limited Edition whiskey. In fact, we’re sure once you get your lips around it, you’ll be wanting a second bottle. Avoid disappointment and hit that Double-Up button while you can, because as always once it’s gone, it’s gone.