Classification: American Single Malt Finished in Chardonnay Casks
Company: Westward Whiskey
Distillery: Westward Whiskey
Release Date: November 2022
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Color: Bright Copper
MSRP: $100 (2023)
Bright malted barley | Golden raisins | Hint of baking chocolate | Light oak | Morning dew | Hay | Clear chardonnay influence | Dense aromas
Rich chocolate notes | Oak | Malted barley | White peppercorn spice | Buttery mouthfeel | The chardonnay finish has a hard time coming through
Dry baking chocolate | Aged oak | Light peppercorn | Dry | Light lingering heat
Utilizing chardonnay casks as finishing barrels is no match for the strong undertones of the base whiskey that shines through with Westward American Single Malt Chardonnay Cask.
Westward American Single Malt Chardonnay Cask utilizes the company’s standard single malt whiskey finished for one year in French Oak casks from Tonnellerie Nadalié in Ludon-Médoc. These casks previously held chardonnay from an undisclosed Russian River Valley winery. The November release of Westward American Single Malt Chardonnay Cask consists of 3,333 bottles. It was exclusively released as part of the company’s whiskey club, which is free to join.
Chardonnay cask finishing isn’t uncommon, however, due to the lighter nature of the grape versus say a bold red varietal, the end result can be hit or miss. In the case of Westward American Single Malt Chardonnay Cask the finishing has exactly this effect. The sip starts off with a bright and dynamic nose that clearly highlights the chardonnay finishing and mixes wonderfully with Westward’s standard malt notes. However, the palate had me literally say “whoa” out loud as rich classic malt notes came rushing forward while none of the bright aromas the nose led you to believe would be there materialized - and the same can be said for the finish. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Westward’s standard American malt is quite good, however, when paying a premium for a finished whiskey you also expect the finishing barrel to impart more of a noticeable difference. Westward American Single Malt Chardonnay Cask will please those who are fans of the brand, but those looking for a heavy influence from their finished whiskeys may want to consider one of the brand’s other finished selections.