Westland Distillery launches a campaign of single malt blind tastings ‘for the people, not the pundits’
Westland Distillery, based in Seattle, has announced the launch of The Judgement of Westland. The three-month long campaign will kick off at the Whisky Show in London this October, featuring a series of blind tastings held worldwide and presenting four single malt whiskeys from four global regions.
The distillery has chosen this moment to bring light to the emerging voices that have appeared in recent years to challenge single malt traditions, particularly the standards set by Scotland.
Inspired by the wine world’s famed Judgement of Paris, a blind tasting hosted in 1976 by a British wine merchant that pitted New World wineries of California against the vaunted Bordeaux Chateaux, the Judgement of Westland series of blind tastings seeks to determine whether a single malt from America can stand tall with the finest single malts of the Old World.
“The Judgement of Westland isn’t about claiming that we’re better than someone else. It isn’t about crowning a champion,” says Matt Hofmann, co-founder of Westland. “It is our effort at Westland to measure ourselves against other whiskeys and other regions that we admire and that are respected the world over. We believe that all single malts should be considered and judged on their merits, on the intention and excellence of execution. We celebrate that the map of great single malts is now a global one, and we are excited for fans to assess our place within it.”
The first tasting will kick off next month, featuring four single malts from four regions that include, Scotland, Australia, India and the US.
The whiskeys themselves will not be revealed to attendees, only their country of origins. The single malts and scoring system have been curated and designed independently by whiskey industry experts Dave Broom and Sam Simmons.
The selection of single malts share the criteria that all are widely commercially available, are listed at similar price points, and none are cask strength or single cask bottlings.
Broom and Simmons have specifically designed the scoring system so that the whiskeys are rated out of five stars and not to be ranked in order but rather graded individually on their own merits. If all four whiskeys receive the same grade, that is fine.
Blind tastings will be hosted from October to December. For more information on the campaign or to follow along with results updated daily, visit www.thejudgementofwestland.com.