Saturday, January 6, 2018

House Spirits Westward American Single Malt Whiskey

- $100
- 90 Proof
- Oregon

House Spirits hooked me in early on when I first began writing this blog. I had read some positive reviews about their American Whiskey. So, wanting to try something different, I had my parents, who happened to live near Portland, swing by the distillery and grab a bottle, which they happily did as a Christmas gift to me. I tried it, and I have good memories of enjoying it.

Fast forward a couple years to when my sister and her family came to visit, also from the Portland area. On their way through the airport to their gate, my brother-in-law (who is a regular beneficiary of all the different bottles I try) picked up a bottle at House Spirits' store within the airport and personally delivered their new offering, a Single Malt as opposed to just an American Whiskey (and this time a full 750 ml bottle, as opposed to the 375 ml bottle that the American Whiskey came in).

The nose, as expected with a single malt, is soft, malty and lightly sweet. It's similar to a Scotch, and yet not. It's like sweetened cereal, like frosted Cheerios or rice crispy treats. It was, at the least, a very good start!

The flavor is also lightly sweet, but a different type of sweet than what I got on the nose. Rather, this was more of a brown sugar flavor, mixed with the dominant malt flavors that are to be expected. It nonetheless resulted in a combination that reminded me of honey nut Cheerios (I guess the take away is whether it's the nose or the palate, I'm getting some version of Cheerios on this one).

I also got a nice, light smoky flavor on this whiskey, as well as some crisp, light fruit notes that came through, kind of a pear flavor mixed with cinnamon. Also at times I couldn't help but notice a floral flavor to it (yes, I have eaten a flower before). However, those flavors were fleeting and that cinnamon flavor seemed to be more dominant.

As if that weren't enough going on, at the back end I got something different still. The finish had a distinct and lingering pine flavor to it, perhaps appropriate for a Portland whiskey. It wasn't overly strong to the point that it reminded me of air fresheners or cleaning products. Rather, it was just a light, pine note that lingered a while but didn't overpower by any stretch.

This whiskey really has a lot going on, a true cacophony of flavors. At times they didn't seem to really mesh, and at other times they seemed to complement each other in oddly tasty ways. In the end, however, it was a delicious product, though a bit higher in price than I'd like to see. Nonetheless, I'll continue to encourage my family to bring me more tasty treats from House Spirits any time they make it out my way.

Grade: B

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