Westward American Single Malt Whiskey from Oregon

A single malt from the heart of the American craft beer scene


The USA is one of the big players when it comes to whisky – no, it should be whiskey, of course. It is still bourbon that is ahead of all categories of American whiskey, but alongside rye whiskey, American single malts are increasingly making a name for themselves. The Westward American Single Malt Whiskey is available in several European countries meanwhile.

In a process called “mingling”, the contents of usually no more than 10-20 barrels are married in small batches that capture the characteristic taste profile of Westward Single Malt, the German distributer Kirsch Import explains: elegant, robust and fruity, with creamy vanilla and brown sugar notes as well, aromas of baking spices, lush fruit, sweet malt and a finish marked by tobacco, dark chocolate and leather.

Pale ale goes whiskey

Westward Whiskey is based in Portland, Oregon. The company was founded in 2004 by Christian Krogstad, who made his degrees at the Siebel Institute of Technology. This is an internationally renowned academy that has been training brewers since 1872. So it is not surprising that the Westward American Single Malt Whiskey is initially born as pale ale, made from local barley and brewer's yeast. In pot stills, the beer is double-distilled and then matured for at least three years in lightly charred casks made from fresh American white oak.

What is American single malt whiskey?

Unlike in Scotland, a category single malt whiskey has not yet been defined in regulations and laws in the USA. The American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC), founded in 2016, of which Westward Whiskey is one of the founders, wants to change the situation and has drawn up guidelines for a American Single Malt Whiskey category. They are based on the Scottish regulations and require American single malt whiskey to be mashed, distilled and matured in the United States.

100% malted barley must be used. It must be distilled in a single distillery, not higher as to 80% ABV during the distillation. Maturation must be done in oak casks that hold a maximum of 700 l. American single malt whiskey must be bottled at not less than 40% ABV.

A minimum duration of maturation is not mentioned in the guidelines of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission, but Westward Whiskey adheres to a minimum of three years of maturation. The 45% ABV Westward American Single Malt Whiskey is the distillery's flagship, completely matured in American white oak. and. There are also other editions available meanwhile in the US which got finishes in other casks such as stout or pinot noir casks.

Image: Kirsch Import