At long last, American single malt whiskey is very close to getting a legal definition, and the category shows no signs of slowing down. Enter the new Garryana whiskey from Seattle’s Westland Distillery, the seventh edition of this always interesting and tasty single malt.
Westland, located in Seattle, is one of the leaders in the movement to make American single malt a household name, or at least a core component of any home bar. In addition to producing its flagship single malt whiskey, the distillery has been experimenting with different barley varieties and cask types since its founding in 2010. Remy-Cointeau acquired the distillery in 2017, but that seems to have not stymied its spirit of experimentation at all. To wit, the Outpost Range features three different expressions designed to showcase the terroir of the Pacific NW—Colere (focused on barley varieties), Solum (using local peat, the first release will be out soon) and Garryana (partially aged in barrels made from Quercus garryana, a type of oak that is native to the region).
Garryana Edition 7 is produced from a six-barley mashbill—Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, Brown Malt and Baird’s Heavily Peated Malt. It was then matured in three different cask types—50 percent Washington State red wine barrels, 46 percent Garryana barrels and 4 percent first-fill ex-bourbon barrels. Finally, it was finished in Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels from three different Washington State wineries. “Garryana Edition 7’s rich and savory Garry Oak interacts with sturdy Washington wine casks, resulting in a mix of spice and savory fruit,” said Westland co-founder Matt Hofmann in a statement.
According to Hoffman, the length of maturation was “a big blend.” “The minimum maturation was 43 months, the maximum was over seven years,” he told Robb Report. “Approximately 1/3 of the blend was spirit from three to five years of age, and the other 2/3 were five to seven years of age.” The makeup of the casks and the length of maturation varies from year to year. For example, last year’s Edition 6 was aged in a smaller percentage of Garryana barrels, the rest being a combination of sherry, calvados and brandy casks.
We got to sample the new Garryana Edition 7, and it is a complex whiskey bursting with flavor—dark and milk chocolate lead the palate, followed by red and black berries, vanilla pudding, toffee and a burst of baking spices. It’s bottled at 100 proof and is non-chill filtered. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, the whiskey comes out on February 1 with a price tag of $149.99 (of note, these are 700-ml bottles instead of 750 ml). Just 6,900 bottles are being released globally, so set your calendar alert now.