Batch No.1's Magical Mash

Creativity and collaboration. Inspiration and expertise. And malted barley. Lots of malted barley.

Turns out, that was a winning combination for our first release, Batch No. 1.

Small batch whiskey is a term that gets thrown around a lot. Add in malt to the moniker, and that's fodder for quite the conversation. (More on that later.)

Beneath these words lies the complexity of what made that whiskey, and how. As lovers of the process, conversation and good whiskey, our goal is threefold:

  • Make great whiskey

  • Share the experience with good people

  • AND demystify how it's done

Join us on the journey!

As our founder, Phil Downer, loves to quote from David Byrne of Talking Heads:

"You might ask yourself. Well, how did I(we) get here?"


Phil Downer, Founder / Collaborator / Maker

Our small batch malt whiskey (It’s made in the U.S. thus, the "e"  vs. "whisky") was inspired by Phil's heritage, when Irish and Canadian Whiskeys were passed among family and friends to warm up cold Newfoundland nights.

Now, decades later, Phil is near completion of his Brewing and Distilling Diploma at the famed Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and exploring a unique twist on the long-standing small batch tradition: Forming distillery partnerships and collaborating through with them on production.

The Wanderback Approach

  • Partner with best-in-class distillers

  • Select barley malts and yeasts through focused trial and error

  • Create a mash recipe

  • Make mash and distill at partner distillery

  • Bring the barrels home to Hood River to age, finish, blend and bottle

Batch No. 1 is Born

With a bit of ingenuity, educated insight and good luck, Phil teamed up with Westland Distillery to bring his first batch of whiskey to fruition.


Here’s what he chose for the Batch #1 grain bill, and why. (More on beer vs whiskey mash process later.)

Batch No. 1’s Magical Mash

88% Pale malt Washington State Select® 2-Row Malt

This is a Washington-grown malt workhorse that provides a great base flavor

8% Crystal 60L

Creates a Red/amber hue, a pronounced malty, toffee, caramel flavor and a clean, smooth finish

2% Pale chocolate from Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Adds a dark brown color and a mild chocolate/coffee flavor

2% Munich from Great Western - Gives it a robust, rich, malt flavor

We were honored to learn that Phil’s very first whiskey earned Double Gold recognition from the American Distillers Institute (ADI). Here’s what ADI had to say about how it tastes:

"Batch No. 1 (which has notes of toffee, hazelnut, all spice, sandalwood and star fruit) has a "very nice balance" with a "long finish".

We felt that was a little bit stiff. Here’s our take on the taste:

Rich with a touch of malty sweetness, Batch No. 1 has a long finish that’s like the glowing coals of a warm campfire.  ROAD TRIP!


And so, now our story begins. We’d love to share the journey with you from here. Join us as we meet new distillery friends, make more whiskey and play everywhere in between.

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