Just an FYI-
A new distillery is opening its doors today in the SoDo area of Seattle:
They will have 3 Single Malts:
Any undertaking – great or small – must have a beginning. It is the intention of this beginning, the way by which you set out, that is important. During the opening of the West, the first task for axe men in a new logging camp was to fell a tree, halve it, then lay it flat side up. This became the Deacon Seat, a bench that ran the length of the eventual bunkhouse and became the center of camp life. The Deacon Seat was a place to rest, a place to band together over a dram of whiskey, a place of level ground upon which to build one's place in the West.
This whiskey is our Deacon Seat. Our first step. It is the first whiskey released that will bear the Westland name and we put it forward proud of our beginning. For us, this American Single Malt Whiskey is our own crossing into a new frontier. Long years of work have been leading to this moment. That’s worth commemorating. While we take pause to acknowledge our start, we gather to look towards the endeavor before us with reverence, steel intentions, and the blood of stubborn, persistent ancestors in our veins. We will not disappoint them.
Flavor Profile Notes
The introduction greets the nose with aromas of orange marmalade, powdered doughnut and freshly made waffle cone. With a little patience and continued nosing the whiskey reveals even more in the form of crème brulee, mocha and apple fritter dusted with cinnamon.
The palate adds French vanilla custard to the waffle cone as well as a quick dash of pepper and ginger before settling on rainier cherries and bitter chocolate through to the finish.
Westland American Single Malt Whiskey
Our flagship Westland American Single Malt Whiskey represents the truest expression of our house style. At the core of this whiskey’s flavor profile is a grain bill comprised of five different roasted and kilned barley malts giving our whiskey a character unique to Westland Distillery. The base is a pale malt, grown in the State of Washington. To that we add specialty malts, a concept inspired by the vibrant craft brewing culture of the Pacific Northwest. Deep and rich in flavors, these specialty malts contribute to the whiskey notes of chocolate, nuts, cookies, pastries, mocha, caramel and raisins. Our Belgian brewer’s yeast further enhances flavor development, creating fruity esters during fermentation. And finally, maturing predominantly in the finest new American oak casks complements our other choices with vanilla, caramel and coconut notes, leaving us with an approachable and mature whiskey.
Here's some background on the guys who started it:Westland Peated Malt
In large part, it was our love of peated whiskies that first lured us into this business. And while our Peated Malt expression accounts for just 20% of the annual production at Westland, the first whiff of smoke from the mash tun tends to be the most anticipated moment of the year here at the Distillery. Our peated whiskey is a vatting of two separate New Make spirits. The first is a mash of peated malt, among the smokiest produced in the new world (55ppm phenol content). The second comes from a mash of 100% Washington Select pale malt. When brought together we have a single malt whiskey encompassing a wide spectrum of peaty and smoky flavors without overwhelming the palate. The peat character is sturdy enough to satisfy the cravings of those looking for a solid dose of smoke while the pale malt component contributes grainy and fruity notes for those looking for something more familiar in the glass. Westland’s Peated Malt is filled into a variety of oak, including 1st-fill ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks, encouraging a controlled and even maturation. The result is a flavorful, multi-dimensional yet balanced peated single malt.
Seattle student starts distillery with high school friend
BY KIRO Radio Staff on June 3, 2011 @ 3:29 pm (Updated: 8:22 pm - 6/5/11 )
Matt Hofmann was an economics major at the University of Washington. In the beginning of his junior year, a high school friend came to him with an unusual business opportunity. It was one that prompted Hofmann to leave his college life behind.
The proposal was to start a distilling business making gin and whiskey.
Last June, Hofmann turned 21 and co-founded Westland Distillery with his high school classmate Emerson Lamb. He wouldn't disclose who the investors were, but says they've been extremely generous and patient with the process.
The founders leased two small warehouses in Seattle's South Park neighborhood in October and began experimenting with different ingredients to produce the spirits.
"This was sort of an idea that came about in chemistry class in (Bellarmine Preparatory) high school," said Hofmann. "When I got to college, I started doing a lot of experimental work in distilling."
Before they opened shop in October, Hofmann and Lamb went on a cross-country adventure to learn more about micro or 'craft' distilleries. They drove from Seattle to Atlanta, then to Virginia and finally over to Louisville, Kentucky.
According to Hofmann, the journey taught them all the little things they would've learned the hard way. They learned the proper way to incorporate ingredients into the alcohol, how long to age whiskey, and how much money to charge for a good product.
Hofmann admitted that the journey hasn't been easy. It took Westland's founders six months of paperwork and headaches to get the proper licensing.
"There's some weeks where it's every day," said Hofmann. "It's seven days a week most weeks. Very rarely does it (a work week) go below six days. Most of those days are 12-14 hour days."
The hard work and sacrifices are beginning to pay off.
Steve Hawley, marketing director at Westland, says the company's products will be served at the Experience Music Project's VIP party Friday June 3, celebrating the opening of the "Avatar" exhibit. James Cameron will be in attendance; he may even try a sip of their marquee 'Gimbal Gin'.
Hofmann's childhood friend and college dorm neighbor, Will Jafari, didn't expect Hofmann to leave UW so abruptly. Initially, Jafari thought Hofmann was taking a huge risk by leaving college. Since hearing about Westland's success with E.M.P. he now agrees Hofmann made the right decision.
"He is a really goal-oriented person," said Jafari. "He's always been an entrepreneur, always looking at the larger picture."
Westland's alcohol isn't available for retail sale yet, but Hofmann says they've made deals with various Seattle restaurants and bars. Their Gimbal Gin will be available this summer. They're also in the process of making a single-malt whiskey, similar to brands imported from Scotland.
"Making whiskey the right way is going to take time, and we're willing to make a sacrifice in the short-term to make it right," said Hofmann.
Westland distillery's tasting room will open to the public this summer.