Christian Krogstad’s success with Aviation Gin wasn’t intentional. “It was a means to an end. I just wanted some income while I was aging my whiskey,” he explains. Many distillers start off with gin as a way to save money when it comes to storing and aging the spirit. Admittedly, few of those distillers can replicate the success that Aviation Gin created. Even with that, however, Krogstad remained focused on whisky. It’s taken 13 years, but Westward Whiskey is finally available, and based on what happened with Aviation Gin, Westward Whiskey is destined for greatness.
Westward Whiskey is brewed in Portland, Oregon, where it takes on the climate as well as the natural ingredients to celebrate the American Northwest. Founded in 2004, Westward Whiskey draws on the brewing culture of the American Northwest to create their whiskey. Their approach is simple—they make their spirits from scratch using only the best natural ingredients. As a young distillery, Westward has had some challenges when it comes to releases. “Since we were self-funded, we didn’t have a lot of money to make a lot at once,” says Krogstad. “We would fill a barrel here and there, but never had enough to make a blend—which was our intent.” That’s all changed now that Westward has had the time to age some of its whiskey. Now they’re blending, and the result is better flavour profile. Because each cask imbues different qualities into the whiskey, blending can bring about a flavour that is fuller as well as more unique. “A single barrel can be fun and interesting,” explains Krogstad, “but to get a balanced and complex product from that is rare. The best way is to combine them.”
Krogstad also prefers younger whiskies, which is why Westward uses whiskies that have aged roughly five years. Krogstad points out that spirits peak at different times, so some are meant to age longer, while others should be enjoyed younger. While blending is finally an option and the distillery’s focus, Westward will still be releasing single barrel whiskies as well. Whatever your preferences—single barrel or blended, young or old—Westward Whiskey has it.