This is us when no one else is around

March 24, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

Westward Whiskey hosted 46 guests for dinner at the incredible nel restaurant in Sydney on Wednesday evening to introduce its latest offering, Westward Cask Strength.

Thomas Mooney, Founder and CEO of Westward Whiskey zoomed in from Portland, Oregon.

“This is us when nobody is looking,” he said. Unadulterated and uncut.

As we sipped, Mr Mooney described it as: “Whiskey flavoured whiskey before we’ve done anything to make it more approachable”.

Cask strength is the whiskey pulled straight from the barrel. At an ABV of 62.5 per cent, Westward Cask Strength is “utterly smashable”, or at least that is how The Whisky List’s Oliver Maruda described it to Drinks Trade late in the evening.

It is flavourful, intense, brazen, viscose and “inherently cool,” said Mr Mooney, “a remarkable flavour and the more we can concentrate it, the better”.

Mr Mooney says he and his team are “the least efficient whiskey producers in the world. We use too much grain and the most expensive yeast.” They take their time, until it tastes ‘right’. What they are chasing is something that is inherent to Westward and something grounded in its origins: Oregon.

Mr Mooney described the geography, the volcanic activity that created the mountains, the cold winters, desert hot summers, its deep gorges.

“Westward,” he said, “is the spirit of Oregon. One of the most remarkable places in the world.”

Westward Cask Strength accentuates the region’s rich, locally malted barley, the flavourful beer created in-house with classic ale yeast, and the newly charred American Oak barrels. Even the bottle shape of the Cask Strength is asymmetrical like Oregon’s unpredictable and wild terrain.

APAC’s Regional General Manager, Margo Jamieson generously guided all in the room through four expressions from Westward as we dined on an out of this world meal designed by Nelly Robinson and his team at his underground restaurant on Wentworth Street.

We sampled the pale ale beer used to make the wash followed by the Westward American Single Malt Whiskey, the Single Malt Stout Cask, and finished with the Single Malt Pinot Cask. But the Cask Strength release was the reason everyone was here and it is a showstopper.

“We first introduced Cask Strength at the demand of our local Oregon fans, and since then there has been huge interest from whiskey lovers both locally and globally for quality high proof options, so we’re looking forward to having Australians be able to try our Cask Strength,” said Mr Mooney.

Australia is the number one export market – at the moment – for Westward, but Ms Jamieson explained that demand in Asia is growing fast.

The Cask Strength has already earned recognition as the highest-rated American Single Malt, with a double gold award at the San Francisco Spirits Competition, the industry’s most prestigious awards judging.

Events are back on the agenda for 2022 and this one from Westward is one to be remembered.

Cask Strength is available for purchase from Cambridge Cellars and Boozebud. RRP $199.

Photos by Cathy Lo.

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